This evening, I decided to stray from my usual late night antics and go to a start-up event. I haven't done the launch party/networking circuit in years, but I thought it high time to see who's making the scene.
My target? The Kicklabs (http://kicklabs.com/) launch party. Kicklabs is basically an incubator space that takes a small portion of equity in start-ups (I'm told, "warrant-sized") in return for office space. They're located in SOMA in a multi-purpose space sporting a de rigueur slide.
I walked in, wrote "Money" on my name tag and started chatting with folks. The party boasted several start-ups in infancy and former Mayor, Willie Brown. I only knew one person in attendance. I've definitely been out of the loop, but the fact that I saw no one I actually knew, was refreshing. It reminded me how much and how quickly the scene changes and from where I sit right now, change is good.
Awash in a sea of new and anxious entrepreneurs, I was relieved to see Jim Benton. He's running a company called Clearslide (http://www.clearslide.com/), a sales delivery platform that is WebEx meets YouSendIt meets Google Analytics. He's been bootstrapping it and has Fortune 500 clients. We chatted while drinking Yerba Mate Beer - yep, Beer made from Mate (Pablo - I'm sending you a case!). The founder was at the event dispensing his beer for free. He looks suspiciously like the illustration on the label, see http://www.mateveza.com/.
Jim's at that crucial stage in a start-up's life where he's growing and wondering how much fuel to pour on the fire. He's looking at office space. I urged him to stay as lean as possible for as long as possible. At the end of the day, I think entrepreneurs are better served spending money on the things that count (people) than those that ultimately don't but may make the difference on an income statement (real estate leases). I'm not sure about these incubator-type spaces in the city - that's definitely a personal choice, but I think my point is clear.
I know, I know the irony was not lost on me
Jim, an incredibly grounded guy with enough previous start-up experience to know the score, pointed out that the Yerba Mate beer has 7% alcohol content. We laughed and clinked beers. The companies may change but these parties do not.
You can reach Alicia at www.aliciamorga.com