It is rare that one gets an opportunity to be part of a movement and an event that is so kindred, so in alignment with passion and purpose.
Those who know me and have been following my content for a while are well aware of the fact that startups hold a special place in my heart. I’m a Fledge mentor.
Whenever possible, I independently contribute time and expertise to local companies struggling with their market positioning, branding and back-end.
So when Innovate! & Celebrate reached out to me to participate in their endeavour – how could I say no!
A massive gathering of driven entrepreneurs and the hub of the ideas of tomorrow this global conference took place in Silicon Valley in late September and was jointly presented by Tech.Co and the Consumer Technology Association.
Innovate! & Celebrate:
At Innovate! and Celebrate, the whole point is to help foster growth and innovation. Tech.Co has helped hundreds of companies launch over the years, and this conference is one way to uncover the best of the best. In 2016, the Startup of the Year First Place winner was ShearShare, which bested nearly 50 other startups in the competition, after surviving against an initial group of 1,000 ventures under consideration!
So, what is ShearShare? It’s a company with headquarters in McKinney, Texas that uses technology to connect salon or barber shop owners to individual beauty operators. Individuals with space can conveniently make money on their excess inventory, while barbers and cosmetologists without a space of their own can lease a spot just for the day. They can work in a professional environment without the rigid requirements of a long-term contract.
As the winner of the startup competition, ShearShare receives the title of “Tech.Co Startup of the Year 2016” and a host of valuable goodies, such as 12 months of IBM hosting credits and 15,000 American Airlines Business Extra Points. Other winners in the competition received some of the same rewards.
Tech.Co is hardly new to the experience of bringing together early stage startups and showcasing their ideas to the world. In fact, Tech.Co has been doing so since 2006, allowing it to spread initial awareness of fantastic businesses like Groupon, LivingSocial, and even ride-sharing service Uber!
TechCo Ventures Takes Birth:
Unfortunately, beyond providing a platform for these companies to share their stories and connect them to resources and contacts, there was no direct way to help them grow. One of the most interesting things to come out of the conference should change that: the launch of a brand-new investment community for top startups. In partnership with Malartu Funds, Tech.Co has created TechCo Ventures. The new syndicate is slated to support many new startups over the years, and they’re inviting any accredited investors to join the bandwagon.
If you’re a startup on the lookout for opportunities or valuable contacts, TechCo Ventures may be worth looking into. At the very least, you should keep an eye out for Innovate! and Celebrate 2017, which Tech.Co should announce plans for in the near future. I’ve seen firsthand the incredible things these guys do, and I think it’s a great cause to be involved in at any level.
My Contribution to Innovate! & Celebrate:
I won’t say I completely changed the way entrepreneurs approach their business over the course of the two short days. But I do hope I was able to leverage my insights and lay out some ever green solutions for my mentees.
The most profound take-away from Innovate! & Celebrate was the fact that the future of entrepreneurship is in capable hands.
My stint as a mentor showed me just how determined some of these ventures are and the scope of the unique thought processes that they are bringing to the table.
If an idea is a seed, Innovate! and Celebrate is the nursery offering confidence, capabilities and direction that can be a gamechanger for startups.
Brand PDB was honoured to be part of Innovate! & Celebrate. It is truly a transformative experience. Both for the mentors and the attendees.
Eagerly looking forward to 2017!