One of the biggest struggles (besides $$$), that I found in starting my business, was finding other like-minded founders. Here are a few places where you can network and find other entrepreneurs like yourself.
from Inc.com Zine 08 March 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4.biz
Silicon Valley can be a hard place to navigate. I moved here almost six years ago with a dream and a vision to start the next big tech company. One of the biggest struggles (besides rent) that I found was finding other like-minded individuals. In looking for places to network with startup founders in Silicon Valley, there are numerous meetup groups and opportunities to get face time with others just like yourself to pick their brains, get advice, and learn from those that have been in similar shoes. Here are 10 of the best places that I’ve found in Silicon Valley for networking with these founders:
1. Founders Den: in San Francisco is somewhat of an exclusive club to get into, but well worth the effort. It combines shared office space with a private club atmosphere with a focus on experienced Entrepreneur & Accelerator program graduates. Founders Den is invite only and comes through referrals from other entrepreneurs that are club members. It’s an excellent opportunity to get in front of some of the top business people from Silicon Valley.
2. Hackers & Founders: This group is all over the world with a significant presence in Silicon Valley. Based in Mt View, this is an accelerator & founders’ cooperative that offers an incredible list of services & assistance in exchange for a small equity stake in your company. The founders in this cooperative are very willing to meet those that are seeking this type of assistance to get their businesses launched. They have all types of Meet-ups throughout Silicon Valley – with an extensive list of upcoming networking events on their website, so you can find one that fits your schedule and/or interests.
3. Startup Grind: is another organization located in the SF Bay area that has local monthly events. Though it’s not a physical area, it’s one of the best networking events that I’ve ever had the opportunity to attend. I’ve met countless entrepreneurs & business owners with like minded goals.
4. Bootup World: in Menlo Park, is a highly charged serial entrepreneurial co-working space, where founders can meet with other mostly serial entrepreneurial founders (most of which have had several startup successes in the past) to further their businesses. Their every other Friday cheese & wine bashes are a great elevation of the regular beer bashes you would normally have.
5. Tech In Motion: This is a national event series that brings together local tech communities to meet, network, & learn from each other. It’s an excellent opportunity to get in front of other technology startup Founders to talk about your own business idea or to potentially be recruited for a new job. Events are regularly held in San Francisco & Silicon Valley – focusing on different aspects of the tech community.
6. Igniters: This active community offers access to Stanford entrepreneurs & Silicon Valley startup Founders. This group is very open and welcoming of new entrepreneurs, offering numerous events & social activities – designed to encourage networking & mentoring. Industry experts & startup Founders come to the scheduled events and make themselves accessible to conversations and Q&A sessions. Events are held regularly throughout Silicon Valley.
7. 106 Miles: is focused on entrepreneurial Engineers, so if you are starting up a technical business or are a developer, then this group is for you. The group meets once in Sunnyvale & San Francisco – once a month. Typically, the meetings are very informal and held in a bar, so the environment is relaxed and encourages those engineering types to socialize and meet other people.
8. The Cuckoo’s Nest: in Menlo Park, is private member’s social club is frequented by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. It’s a great place to hang out in a relaxed social environment and enjoy food, drinks, interesting events & entertainment. Its charter and founding members come from some of the biggest companies in Silicon Valley & the World, giving you a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to meet & interact with these startup founders, entrepreneurs, & admired leaders.
9. Silicon Valley Incubation & Acceleration: in Santa Clara, is an organization that offers a wide range of entrepreneurship programs + access to startup founders through networking mixers, a co-founder community, toastmaster’s club, and numerous educational & training programs. You will be able to access mentors, Angels, & VCs as well, as you attend local events or participate in workshops, seminars, & programs. Their website offers numerous calendars of events so you can find an opportune time to network with startup Founders throughout Silicon Valley.
10. SV In.Fusion: This organization is designed around knowledge development programs for entrepreneurs, including innovation, technology, & product design. They offer a Startup Boot Camp, which is an excellent place to meet other startup Founders and gain valuable insights & knowledge about launching or expanding a business.
Honorable Networking Mention
Startup Digest is another great place to stay connected to where you can network with startup Founders. This online newsletter provides extensive lists of upcoming events and information on who will be there and what type of topics will be covered.
Meet-ups. Beyond this list of places, it’s a good source to find very “niche-specific” Meet-ups to find those like-minded founders or business people. Our own Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs [East & West] is a good example. We have a speaker every month on how to Start or Grow a business.
Comments: What other events and startup locations have you found in Silicon Valley to network?