Thursday, November 30, 2006

Web Innovators - Energy of entrepreneurs

I attended Web innovators group in Cambridge, MA last night along with 150 other entrepreneurs, couple VCs and a leverage buyout firm person.

David Beisel of Masthead Ventures heads the group and is organically growing it like an entrepreneur. It was good to see David after so many years as I last saw him during my second round funding cycle for Coola in 2001.

What I like about Web Innovators Group:

  • Well planned, name tags ready from the wiki RSVP.
  • Structure of the evening was 2 startups get 6 min each, and there wer e5 or 6 other startups (called side dish) with their tables on either side of the room.
  • Rest of the evening was open for networking, and the energy of the room was amazing.
  • No vendors peddling any ware.
  • No one asking you to signup or pick any brochures.
  • The presentations were real people, honest comments. Where else would you hear an entrepreneur say to a crowd that they have maybe 4 business models.
  • Quality of crowd was good, everyone as eager to network and moved around a lot, which offered better randomness of meeting an interesting new person within 5 minutes.

What can be improved:

  • People can write what they are looking for specifically in the wiki during RSVP or in a separate section. Some were looking for a specific type of developers, there were developers looking for cool startups.
  • Could promote more Q&A of each presentation to help the presenting company and also to help us understand the company/market evolution of players better.
Summary of presentations:

Grazr - Mike Kowalchik - real honest conversation, has cool potential. Was honest about their options for different business model. Company worth watching.

Calabash Music - Brad Powell - very canned presentation, maybe he was tense. But wonderful product and site. It surely has potential to become the next big music site.

“Side Dish” companies, who gave informal demos during the socializing portion following the structured presentations:
FineTune - Mykel Ruvola
Startup Business School - Richard Banfield - I believe that entrepreneurs are all brilliant in their areas of ideas and many need help in building out the business. Richard seems to mean well, but I heard from many in the room wondering why an entrepreneur would trust and pay for canned startup knowledge. - Paul Cosway (founder) and Darryl Pomicter (bizdev guy)- Cool URL. Web 2.0 has some trends and some anti-trends. They were clear not to call it an audio search engine. Worth checking out.
Citysquares - Ben Saren, our local search engine building all of local stores info for us. They have the usual users vs business customers, need one to get other dilemma. The team seemed upbeat and may attract some investor soon.
Offertrax - Ron Pruett and Ben Carcio

Some interesting new people/startups I met:
Dharmesh Shah of, an amazing mind, he articulates ideas as well as he writes his blog.
Coach Wei founder of Nexaweb, an amazing entrepreneur who survived the bust of 2000 and has built a beautiful enterprise web 2.0 company.
Josh Schanker of Sconex, the high school online site.
Anna Denton of "Boston Where" with a cool new startup idea.

It was flattering to meet couple readers of this blog. Thanks folks :-))

All in all, an evening well spent. It validates my belief that there are growing number of entrepreneurs looking to find each other for support and all entrepreneur networking is not to raise money.

1 comment:

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