A new month means a new launch event! Being a presenter last month, I can definitely say that the Built in Chicago November Launch Event is "the place to be" for several groups of people. Whether you're an investor, entrepreneur, presenter, job seeker, or work in media - this is where you want to be each month in Chicago (and not just because the spread at Rockit Bar and Grill is amazing).
Simple. There is no community like this anywhere else in the midwest and if you've been paying any attention to the major media outlets lately (see "In the News / 1871") then you would know that this event involves the most talked about spot for all startup traffic. Also, this event gives investors the chance to mingle with companies and ask all the "investor questions" since it's 30 minutes listening, max, but nearly 3 hours of mingling.
If you're an entrepreneur who has an idea for a new company then get to this event and talk to the people who used to be in your shoes. If you've got a business that is half way there then start networking and share common ground with others in the same spot. If you've got a fully-developed business then chances are that you have a need for investors, job seekers, or media exposure. There could even be a partnership opportunity with another attending company?
You already know the benefits of attending so here's some advice from a past presenter...
1. Keep the presentation short and sweet. Give the crowd enough to understand your business and be curious, then invite them to speak to you afterwards. TableSAVVY's speech was only 3 minutes long and we were complimented the rest of the night on it.
2. Don't be shy. It will be packed and you won't know 99% of the people there. Politely make your way into groups of people, shake hands, and ask questions. People from the other side of the room won't seek you out and It does no service to spend your night with the crowd you already know so go get 'em.
3. Be prepared. Think about the other groups of people I have listed as being present. What would an investor, entrepreneur, job seeker, or person in media ask of you? If you're splitting off from your colleagues, would they answer questions in the same way you would or are you going to send mixed messages? Do you know your product forwards and backwards? Bring business cards... lots of business cards!
New companies need labor to grow. Whether those companies need a VP or Intern, help now or later, it's a great place to market yourself. Chicago Booth students are helping test TableSAVVY's beta platform, our Summer intern came from a B.I.C. contact, and we met a great candidate for sales at the last event. Though many new companies are looking for unpaid help, job seekers should realize the value in experience and relationships gained that will carry them to a paid position.
As I stated before, everything about Built In Chicago and 1871 is a hot topic right now. You can certainly blog/write/share about BIC November Launch for you own needs, but you also have the power to increase traffic and awareness to other companies so mingle with the presenters and entrepreneurs and offer to help if you like their product. If you love the launch event and want to see it continue on a monthly basis then show your support by boasting about how great it was.
The last group I left out is customers. Depending on your business, anyone present could be a potential customer, so make a good impression and enjoy yourself. No matter which group you fall under, it's your time to shine!
Good luck from TableSAVVY to all the November launch presenters (UrbanBuddy, Arc Mobile, BCKSTGR, Evzdrop, LaunchPad Lab). Looking forward to hearing all of your great ideas and to coming back this month as an entrepreneur!