Originally, I was not going to be able to attend the January 23, 2014, TechPint Cleveland at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood, Ohio. I knew that TechPint (TechPint.org - @TechPintNews) would sell out, and with my busy schedule this January, I did not want to take a ticket from someone else who would benefit from the event. As I anticipated, TechPint did sell out all 300 tickets very early.
Kismet -- I think I was meant to attend. The night before the event, a friend contacted me via Facebook saying she now had a family commitment that conflicted with TechPint. Again, I said she should first offer the ticket to someone else. (I attended the first TechPint, and wanted to give others the first chance at the experience.) At first, she had someone who thought they could use the ticket, but then they had to back out just before noon the day of TechPint. Like I said -- Kismet -- so by early afternoon I had my ticket.
When I arrived, things were hopping! I briefly talked with a few of the representatives in the demo area (next time I must come earlier so I have time to see everything) before going to the main stage area for the Flashstarts Global Pitcher Night.
With some theater lighting, the side room of this bowling alley was transformed into an energetic startup pitch area. The $5,000 in cash prizes was distributed at the discretion of the judges of the startup pitches. For more details, read "Tonight’s TechPint Event Could Net One Clever Entrepreneur $5k" from the Fresh Water e-magazine (@FreshWaterCLE) article on the @FlashStarts website.
I loved how this part of the evening ended with the passing of the basket, but instead of putting money into the basket, everyone was invited to take money to either tip the waitstaff or to invest on Cleveland ventures.
Startup Weekend Cleveland Announce April Event & Discount Code
Startup Weekend Cleveland (Cleveland.StartupWeekend.org - @swCLE) announced their big event coming up April 11-13, 2014, at the Cleveland Agora (@ClevelandAgora). Here is some additional information from their Startup Weekend Cleveland registration web page:
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations. Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurials. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education. Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.
Thank you to the Startup Weekend leaders who sent me the following discount code word (if you are on Twitter, please use this link to retweet and share with your followers):
Co-Founder and CEO of FlashStarts
As a serial entrepreneur, startup advisor and angel investor, he holds several patents and has founded and invested in many successful (and failed) ventures. Charles created the framework of online retailing with his creation of the first online bookstore, Books.com. He pioneered the concept of web services with Flashline. The enterprise software vendor was eventually acquired by Oracle in 2008.
CEO and Founder of SparkBase
During the last decade, Doug has lead SparkBase to become one of the premier loyalty platforms in the industry powering loyalty programs and gift cards for 9,000+ businesses in the US and internationally. Doug's mix of vision and "get it done" attitude fuels the team at SparkBase, which has grown from 3 employees to 40 in the last 5 years and continues to double revenue annually.
Be sure to read the tweets below with some of the details from their talk.
Pitch Improv at TechPint!
Later in the evening was TechPint's first Pitch Improv competition -- Cleveland startup comedy!! You had to be there to hear pitches for...
- Rental Kittens
- Caffeinated Muffins
- Plant Bling
- Voice-controlled Toilet
- Buffet delivery service
- Crushing Your Head App
- Seeing Eye Children
- and more...
Participants had the opportunity to get out of their public speaking comfort zone by pitching comical startups in front of a live audience. I hope TechPint continues to do Pitch Improv at future events -- fun!
There were over 300 people registered for this sold-out event, which means there were 300 different stories about experiences from this event. Here are five of the people with whom I connected:
I met Eric Wise (@eswise) when he attended one of my WebSigCleveland.org meetings where he mentioned his idea for starting a new tech apprenticeship program in our community. At the TechPint event, I learned at the Software Craftsmanship Guild (@SWCGuild) booth that the apprenticeship program Eric started is going strong and currently has an over 80% career placement success rate.
Leslie Carruthers (@TheSearchGuru) from the The Search Guru confirmed that she will be speaking at my WebSigCleveland.org meeting about recent changes in search engine optimization techniques. The search engine optimization field is constantly evolving, so please join me to learn more at WebSigCleveland.org on March 15, 2014.
After all the presentations and startup comedy, I met some teachers (@TeachingHumans) from the MakerSpace (@MakerSpaceLCS) at Lakewood City Schools (@LkwdSchools). They told me about their new learning model for public education based on the maker philosophy. You can read more in the article A Maker Makeover for Public Education by Tom Vander Ark (@tvanderark).
See these two past blog posts to learn about other MakerSpace resources in our community provided by the Cleveland Public Library (@Cleveland_PL), @SYNHAK Akron's hackerspace, and Akron Public Library @AkronLibrary):
I was fortunate to talk to one of the TechPint leaders, Daniel Dudley (@Daniel_Dudley), about the purpose of TechPint. This was the first time I met Daniel in person, but both at the Cleveland Entrepreneurship Week 2013 (@ClevelandEW) event, and tonight (be sure to read his tweets below), I noted that his tweets are great at capturing the main points being presented. Daniel explained how providing mini-tech conferences (In a bar. With pints.) throughout Northeast Ohio, TechPint will connect people from different silos in Cleveland.
Finally, at the end of the evening, I met Case Western Reserve University (@CWRU) Assistant Professor of International Health Dr. Brian Grimberg and learned about his product that, if successful, will lower the cost and increase the speed of treating malaria around the world. Learn more about this product in "Who's Who in Health Care 2014" in @CrainsCleveland. Some great background information is also provided in Dr. Grimberg's April 20, 2012, @TEDxCLE talk entitled: “Buzzkill: How Malaria Has, and Is, Changing The World We Live In.”
See the full list of attendees of TechPint Cleveland III on their website.
Save The Date
Be sure not to miss the next TechPint -- tickets will most likely sell out!
TechPint Akron - And All That Jazz
200 of Akron’s most active digital entrepreneurs and investors mix on March 6th to share ideas and get inspired.
Here are dates of other events mentioned in this article. Be sure to watch my weekly tweets and blog posts for more events.
Tweets and Retweets
Please be sure to read these tweets to get a flavor of the event. Many include photos.
#TechPint is sold out! See you all on Thursday.— TechPint (@TechPintNews) January 17, 2014
Tomorrow we interview 2 successful NEO entrepreneurs at #TechPint, Charles Stack + Doug Hardman. Do you have questions you want us to ask?— TechPint (@TechPintNews) January 22, 2014
.@TechPintNews I was just emailed a ticket from friend who can't attend. Will I be able to check in w/ her name? Looking forward to tonight!— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. (@sos_jr) January 23, 2014
Hundreds jam Mahall's tonight for #TechPint. Coolest innovation yet: FlashStarts giving cash, in neat stacks, to pitch winners.— Robert L. Smith (@rlsmithpd) January 24, 2014
It is 12:37AM and a great start to my Friday. Goodnight Twitterverse. I hope U all have great Friday and weekend.— Stuart O. Smith, Jr. (@sos_jr) January 24, 2014
And all that jazz .. come to TechPint Akron on March 6th, for great speakers & smooth music http://t.co/vGBLkM8ixU— TechPint (@TechPintNews) January 26, 2014