Perhaps you’d like to start your own company. Maybe you’ve been reading TechCrunch religiously, and you’re wondering how to better be involved. Thinking of leaving your job, and wanting to expand beyond your existing network? Following on from my previous article on the reasons why you should join a startup, here are my practical tips on how to start building a network in the industry. These tips are helpful whichever route you want to take – from investment to founding your own company. Get involved!
Any questions or advice feel free to reach out to me.
Participate in meetups and events
Meetups are great ways to start dialogue with people already in the industry. Attend a few, and you'll start bumping into people. Into data science? There's a meetup for it. Want to get inspiration from founders? Attend a dinner especially for them. General event happenings are also regular, often showcasing new startups. A useful way to find out about them is checking the calendar of accelerators and incubators, who house dozens of startups in their programs. Meetup is your best bet, but another great site is Table Crowd.
Going for “coffees”
One thing you’ll notice moving from a traditionally corporate atmosphere, to the tech world, is how generous people are with their time. Going for a coffee meeting is a great way to exchange ideas and connect with someone you haven't crossed paths with. Don't be shy. Use LinkedIn or Twitter to reach out. Coffee's aren't to be mistaken with "interviews". Try not to use them to pitch your idea or hitch a leg up in your career. Think about what you can offer and build relationships.
What could be better on a Friday than to wind down with a drink in the tech hub of London? Silicon Drinkabout is one of the most well known socials in London. It's organised by the 3beards (who also host great content on startups) and every week the venue changes – in EC and surrounding areas. It’s always a relaxed way to socialise with those in the industry, but also a really natural way to make contacts and brush up on the art of networking. They also host a “don’t pitch me bro” pitch feedback session, great if you are thinking of founding your own startup.
Participate in a “Startup Weekend” or Hackathon
The structure of a startup weekend is simple. Come on the Friday, pitch an idea and get into teams. Over the weekend, work on the idea with the help of mentors and resources. On Sunday – you'll pitch the polished idea to a panel of investors and judges. It’s a concentrated taste of being a founder, and will teach you teamwork 101. Highly recommended. You can find details of the next events at Up.co. Hackathons are similar, where developers and programmers collectively work to code projects together. Check out HackaGlobal and Meetup for the next scheduled events.
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