Great ideas never take shape by themselves. As every entrepreneur knows, there’s often a long road between the aha moment and a polished product.
Networking events, however, can speed up the process by giving like-minded entrepreneurial folks the chance to bounce issues off each other and pitch their ideas to VCs.
Here you’ll find a list of conferences, meetups, and organizations to help you get started on meeting some terrific people.
NY Tech Meetup
When: First Tuesday of each month
At NY Tech Meetup, entrepreneurs, hackers, and investors get together to take a look at the latest and coolest technology businesses in New York City.
Presenters get five minutes to explain their company or product to the audience. The NY Tech Meetup is a great place for up and coming startups to introduce their latest projects and for industry insiders to get a preview of what’s coming next on the web.
140 Characters Conference
When: Once a year; dates vary by city
Organized by Jeff Pulver, the 140 Characters Conference provides a platform for entrepreneurs to listen, share, and discuss business-related topics with each other in real-time in 140 characters or less. All the events are fast-paced. You will find individual talks set to 10 minutes; “featured talks” are 15 minutes and the various panel discussions are set for 15 and 20 minutes.
Since the first 140 Characters Conference took place in New York City in 2009, people have been tweeting their ideas in 140 characters or less at conferences in Barcelona, Austin, Detroit, Tel Aviv, and San Francisco, to name a few.
What you’ll get out of these conferences, according Pulver’s website, is knowledge and insight into what the next wave of Twitter and the real-time internet will have on business.
When: Generally four times a year
If you had five minutes on stage what would you say? What if you only got 20 slides and they rotated automatically after 15 seconds? Since 2006, geeks have been putting together Ignite nights to show their answers.
Ignite was started in Seattle by Brady Forrest of O’Reilly Radar and Bre Pettis of Make. Since then hundreds of five-minute talks have been given across the world. Besides Seattle, Ignite communities have popped up in Portland, Sydney, Boulder, Baltimore, New York City and elsewhere.
CEO to CEO Breakfast Forum Series
At the CEO to CEO Breakfast Forum, CEOs and business owners meet monthly to network over breakfast and learn from their peers in a non-selling environment.
The meeting includes a keynote speaker and table discussions following the presentation.
Lean Startup Circle
At Lean Startup Circles, entrepreneurs share ideas on developing products and markets based on the Lean Startup methodology, a concept developed by Steve Blank and refined by Eric Ries, who is the author of the blog, Startup Lessons Learned.
The Lean Startup methodology emphasizes the idea of quickly rolling out prototypes, testing them on the market, and relying on customer feedback to fine-tune them.
Based in San Francisco, Entrepreneur Commons is a network of entrepreneurs and VCs that provides peer-support. Entrepreneurs meet to share issues and discuss their current projects with other self-starters.
Entrepreneur Commons chapters have sprung up in several US cities, as well as England, Spain, Germany, and India.
Under30CEO.com‘s Meetup groups bring together young entrepreneurs of all ages — usually at a bar — where they can hang out, get to know each other and exchange ideas.
The Meetup groups currently have 238 members and meet in cities all over the world.
When: Monthly in NY and bi-monthly in Istanbul and Tokyo
Entrepreneurs Roundtable is a global organization that holds free events for investors and entrepreneurs. Each event features a VC/investor as the main speaker and presentations from startups.
During the Q&A session, the VC/investor gives feedback and advice to the startups that pitch their companies and ideas.
When: Dates vary by city
Startup Weekend is described by its founders as “54-hour events where developers, coders, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and create startups.”
Most events have about 75 attendees, half of which have technical backgrounds and the other half have business backgrounds, according to the organization. Startup Weekend events take place all over the world; this year, the organization plans to organize 150 events.