Discovering Startup Events in the Bay: Startup Grind

I went to my first Startup Grind last night! I missed all the cool startup events I attended in Paris ( Start in Paris, Girls in Tech Paris, Apero Entrepreneurs….) and all of the amazing people I met there so I decided to see what I could find in the US capital of entrepreneurship =]

Startup Grind definitely met my expectations! Last night, organizer Derek Anderson brought famous journalist (for Fortune, one of my favorites!) and author Adam Lashinsky in to discuss his book Inside Apple: How American’s Most Admired–And Secretive–Company Really Works.

Picture of Derek Anderson and Adam Lashinsky from last night’s event. Picture taken from

Derek’s questions led Adam into some very insightful answers. They discussed Steve Jobs’  leadership style, the impact he has ad on Apple’s success and development, who will be the next CEO and how they expect Apple to evolve and develop. It was a super interesting discussion and they even gave out a few signed copies of Inside Apple!

Just like at the events in Paris, I got to meet some cool people =] I even met someone who’s hiring! To all job seekers out there: do not underestimate the power of networking. You might not run into your future employer right away, but it’s a lot easier to make an impression in person than on paper! So get out there and meet people.

The verdict? Definitely going to more =]

You can find the event details here and info about upcoming meetups here.

Start in Paris Recap

I attended my last Start in Paris last night =/ It was a great one though so it was great to end on a great note =]

The evening started with a great potpourri of tips from melty founder Alexander Marsch. Here are a few excerpts:

  1. Your team is THE most important thing. Make sure you have a sales guy (no, your engineer who is kinda OK at sales will not cut it), a CFO and someone in charge of product development/all the techy stuff. Having a competent person in charge of EACH one of these important aspects–sales, vision, development–will inspire trust and win you big bucks with investors (or at least make it possible for you to win all that $$$.)
  2. Continuing the human theme–get your self a kick ass advisory board. Network you ass off to meet people who are not only influential in your industry (to get you clients and partners) but also knowledgeable. Their expert advice will help you with development and market positionment. It will make your job considerably easier.
  3. Don’t raise funds right away. If you do, you will not have complete control over your product, you will get used to having $$ to spend (a good reason Marsch mentioned NOT to raise a lot of money when you do raise btw), you will not be able to adjust to user feedback as quickly and efficiently, and you won’t be able to raise as much money with the same number of shares as you would have with the time to prove your idea. Was that clear enough? Money is bad (in the beginning.)
  4. Surround yourself with people who motivate you. Entrepreneurship is hard, really hard. You are going to jump for joy, feel like the world is caving in and coming to an end, want to give up… so make sure you have people there to give you a good kick in the butt and tell you to keep going.
  5. Last but not least, this one isn’t new, but failure is an amazing teacher. Failure is not the end of the world. If anything, it’s the beginning of a startup that will be even better than your last one.

After that amazing advice, 5 startups took part in the pitch competition:

FioulReduc helps Frenchmen (and women) buy fuel to heat their homes more cheaply.

Sportlinkd is a social network that helps you find someone to play sports with locally.

Potati is a safe internet navigator for kids.

Whoozer you already know from my previous article.

HumanoGames created Happy Life, a Facebook game that teaches players about entrepreneurship all while funding microcredit in real-life and fascilitating players’ transition from Facebook user to real-life donator.

And the winner is.... HumanoGames!

Gotta Love Paris Entrepreneur Events =]

I’ve attended several entrepreneur events over the last few weeks, and I could not be more thrilled! The energy is great in the Parisian entrepreneur community and the atmosphere is always pleasant (probably helps that many of them are held in bars O=] )

Quick recap, I attended an Apero entrepreneurs happy hour in early January, then a Girlz in Web Twitter workshop last week, and finally a Start in Paris last night. I’ve been busy! And it’s been awesome =]

I won’t go into detail since I already wrote a post about the Apero entrepreneurs happy hour, but here are a few pictures from the Girlz in Web workshop.

Catherine Ertzscheid and Emilie Ogez

The women leading the workshop, Catherine Ertzscheid and Emilie Ogez were great! Here’s a quick recap of their best tips:

  1. Personalize your Twitter page. Use sites like Tweety Got Back, Themelon, and Twitter Mosaic to let your personality shine through.
  2. Don’t follow people so they will follow you. It doesn’t always work, and then you’ll just end up following a bunch of people…
  3. Don’t be too uptight. It’s OK to have fun and engage in conversations with your friends. Just make sure you don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want the whole world to see (unless your Twitter account privacy settings make your tweets only visible to users you approve.)

One of the things I loved about the workshop was the atmosphere. Girlz in Web is an organization created by and for women because they feel a little less visible than their male counterparts, but they don’t victimize themselves or push men away. There were a few men at the Twitter workshop and they didn’t seem uncomfortable at all. They have such a healthy, open, optimistic outlook =] I love it!

Lastly, the location was pretty cool! 

I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a really cool home deco store!

You can follow Girlz in Web at!/GirlzInWeb on Twitter and like their Facebook page.

Now on to last night’s Start in Paris. Start in Paris is a monthly meetup where entrepreneurs come to hear someone give a short 15-20 minute speech about a topic of interest, and then listen to startup pitches that culminate in a pitch competition.

Last night, 5 very interesting startups pitched! I’m now going to very cleverly give you a link to Liam Boogar’s blog, The rude Baguette, since he wrote an article describing each startup (and because I just really like his blog and would love for him to get even more readers =])

I can’t let him do ALL the work though! A few cool things from last night:

Maxime Valette, creator of FML

I saw the creator of FML present last night. Live. Did you know FML was created by a French startup? It started out as Vie de merde.

Of the 5 startups that pitched, I especially liked 2: Ben & Fakto, a web site that sells eco-friendly and/or socially responsible clothing online, puts 10% of the money you spend into micro finance, and lets you choose which entrepreneur to give that money to. Pretty cool concept, right?

One of the founders of Ben & Facto

The second one is Le Petit Ballon. For 20 or 40 euros a month, these guys will send you 2 bottles of wine each month and you can find wine-tasting resources (videos to teach you, info about the wines, etc.) on their website.

Looks like I may start drinking more wine O=3