ExitEvent will bring the 16th version of its anti-networking startup event to Charlotte on Thursday, March 14th, immediately following the closing reception of this year's Southeast Venture Conference. Known as the Startup Social, the doors will open for the first time at 5:30 at Packard Place, Charlotte's startup hub and home to RevTech Labs (it's a three-block walk). To make it as inclusive as possible without blowing the by-startups-for-startups vibe we've fostered for 18 months, a badge from SEVC gets you in the door, or you can get verified as an entrepreneur or investor and RSVP via the ExitEvent website (give us facts!).
The hope here is that we get a bunch of entrepreneurs and investors from the conference. I've already spoken to a few of the presenting companies from the Triangle who tell me they'd be psyched to stick around (which, by the way, is a great idea, as you really don't want to leave Charlotte at 5:00 on a weekday). But I also hope we get a bigger bunch of the startups in and around the Charlotte area -- some of whom have made the drive to Socials in Raleigh and even Durham -- so we can meet and do what we do at the Social.
Which is a whole lot of nothing that turns into a whole lot of awesome.
For the uninitiated, the ExitEvent Startup Social is an entrepreneur and investor only get-together that promises no selling, no speeches, no name tags, no BS. It's all volunteer, thanks to beer donated by local brewery startup Mystery Brewing and space provided by Durham startup NeuConcepts and Raleigh coworking space HUB Raleigh.
The Social works the way it does because once you put the smart people in the same room without any outside infuence, they pretty much give what they can and get what they need. Entrepreneurs don't need to be told how to do that.
Here's a very nice article in WRAL Tech Wire explaining the whole thing.
Any entrepreneur or investor is welcome to attend, it's all free, but you must be verified through the website first (or in this case, you can also flash your SEVC badge). Job seekers who are solely interested in working for a startup are also encouraged to attend, just sign up first.
Keep in mind this version will be a little less formal, if that's possible, with Mystery Brewing growlers instead of kegs (it's for tasting, not chugging), and total lack of home-field advantage. Let's call it a beta. With beer.
To be honest, this has been months in planning, including three attempts between myself and Adam Hill to bring this calculated mess to the Queen City.
But the timing is right.
I lived in Charlotte for year a long, long time ago, and I wore a suit every day. Since leaving there, which, incidentally, coincided with me joining my first startup, I've kept an eye on it.
And in the last several months, things have started to come together. Witness RevTech and RevTech II for example. Then you've got initiatives like SHAPE Charlotte and the Charlotte Venture Challenge. You've got Charlotte startups applying to and succeeding in the NC IDEA grant, Triangle Startup Factory, and Groundwork Labs. The fact that SEVC is in Charlotte this year is icing on the cake.
Charlotte right now reminds me of where Raleigh was three years ago. Or where Durham was five years ago.
So go, get verified, RSVP, and show up. If you're going to SEVC from the Triangle (or from anywhere else for that matter), let us know so we can make sure that we see you at the Social.
It'll be different than what you're used to, that much I can guarantee.
FYI - We've got the blessing of TechMedia, the hosts of SEVC, and we've joined forces with them before on Socials for Internet Summit in both 2012 and 2011. So I'll be at SEVC, and will likely be recruiting people at the event as well.