During the summer of 2013, a year most of us can’t remember, or don’t want to remember, mainly because that year is not really known for anything, I decided to run my first “Tech Startup Pitch Event” in Boca Raton, Florida
The event, which would be called StartupPOP, was a chance for local tech startups to stand up and pitch to an investor panel, in front of a crowd of 50–100 other founders, investors, mentors, and interested parties. The benefits for startups, beyond raising capital, were tremendous, as they received critical feedback about their products or services. Some have told me the events changed their lives.
Obviously, the pandemic caused us to stop running these in-person pitch events, but it was just a natural course of events to stop.
The real reason we ran that event was I was tired of traveling to downtown Miami to attend some type of interesting event (like a speaker, networking, or pitch events) from Boca Raton. It’s not a big ride, maybe an hour on average, but it sucked.
Eventually, West Palm started to run events with a 40-minute ride there, but once again, who wants to drive 40 minutes? Our group of tech startup founders and their ilk in south Palm Beach county wanted their own local event, and having 120+ attendees at the first event proved it.
There are tech capital raising events that do happen in Boca that are not StartupPOP. I’ve been invited and attended them all. Hopefully, they will come back to Boca Raton after the pandemic dies down. Most require being an accredited investor. This includes Boca Raton Stock & Bond Club (just public stocks), FatCats, and other dinners and lunches with investors. Originally Boca had Gold Coast Venture Capital, but that organization I used to be a member of faded away. It was a great monthly meeting. With the pandemic, all of this ended, but it is waiting to restart.
Fast forward to Jan 2020. By this point StartupPOP had run 35 events, over 400 startups had pitched. As many as 30 investors had sat on the panels, and we recently had several tech companies who have pitched at StartupPOP get acquired, raise capital or succeed. So, all in all, a success. The biggest thing for me was getting to know 400 tech startup founders in South Florida. And the…