New Beginnings to the StartupDigest Story
Back in June 2009 I threw all of my belongings in my car after graduating college and moved up to Silicon Valley, not knowing anyone here, with the intention of joining or starting a company. Because I was new I started going events like meetups, hackathons, and workshops to meet other people like me. I noticed that being an outsider to the startup community, it was hard for me to know which events were worthwhile to attend so I started choosing the best ones for myself and creating my own list.
Some of my new friends I met were also interested in learning about these events to so in November 2009 I emailed 22 of my friends about the good startup events going on in Silicon Valley and the SF Bay Area for the week. This was how StartupDigest began.
Almost three years later StartupDigest has grown up a lot. Now we have 100 publications, spread across 43 countries, with a community of 120 curators, 230,000 email subscribers, and support by the Kauffman Foundation. Throughout all of this growing up, the past 3 months have been some of the most emotional, intense, and interesting months of my entire startup life.
Over the past three months we started exploring two new paths for StartupDigest. The first was taking our pre-existing StartupDigest VIP recruiting product for engineers, designers, and startups and applying it more generally to other groups.
One thing that has always been interesting with our VIP product is while the product was originally intended for only recruiting, a lot of other groups who have seen it have asked if they could use the same product for their groups. Most notably was my friend Danielle Strachman, who runs the Thiel Foundation’s Fellowship program.
When Danielle saw our VIP product she didn’t think of it like a recruiting product, she thought of it like a group management product she could use for the fellowship, with fellows on one side and mentors on the other side. We too this input and threw up a landing page, gave it a name – GroupTie – and talked with 80 other groups were also interested in using the product.
At the same time we also started talking to a few companies who were interested in StartupDigest themselves. Most of the companies we had deeper discussions turned out to be not great personality fits between our teams and community. Going through with this teaches you that many potential deals turn out this way mostly because of the personality & touchy-feely aspects of combining two different organizations together.
However the first person I called up while going through these talks was Marc Nager from Startup Weekend, because our communities had always been well connected. Marc and I have know each other for a long time and became good friends while we were both asking for Kauffman Foundation support at the Global Entrepreneurship Week Congress in Dubai.
After long discussions back and forth we decided that our philosophical beliefs, communities, and teams were so close together that we had to do something together. The end result of these discussions is Startup Weekend has officially acquired StartupDigest.
Here are the results broken down:
- Startup Weekend is acquiring StartupDigest. We absolutely love the Startup Weekend team & community and together we reach a huge portion of the startup & technology world through both physical events and online publications.
- Startup Weekend organizes events in more than 300 cities in 100 countries, has thousands of volunteer organizers and has had over 75,000 alumni go through their events.
- StartupDigest has 230,000 subscribers, 130 curators, and 101 publications spread across 99 cities in 43 countries.
- If you’re interested in reaching our combined audience email joey@ startupweekend.org
- Brendan McManus and Jessica Ford, two of the four StartupDigest core team members, will be joining Startup Weekend to continue to grow the combined communities of both organizations and keep benefiting the world at large.
- Chris Burnor and I will be building GroupTie, a software solution that came out of StartupDigest centered around making the group organization process easier and more effective for organizers, full time from here on out.
- If you are interested in talking about GroupTie at all send me an email anytime firstname.lastname@example.org
I am very thankful for everyone person who helped make StartupDigest what it is today, especially Brendan McManus my co-founder, Jessica Ford and Chris Burnor on the StartupDigest team, every single one of our current and alumni curators, and every person who helped and supported StartupDigest along the way!
I am super excited about the massive future potential of these two incredible organizations combined and the continuation of our fun #startuplife journey
*If you are going through the acquisition process yourself I highly recommend this Warren Buffet quote which helped me out a lot through the twists and turns.
** I will probably get this question so I will answer it directly. Everything with StartupDigest is staying the same and only getting better. All of your account information and newsletters subscriptions will stay intact and you won’t have to any migration at all.