Startup2Startup, a popular invite-only Silicon Valley networking event, held its 7th get-together last night, bringing 140 entrepreneurs together. The event is the brainchild of Dave McClure, the venerable startup angel investor who recently joined Founders Fund, and the event sponsors include some of the top VCs in the valley.
The monthly event consists of a dinner, with an invited speaker or two giving a presentation followed by moderated table-by-table conversations (plus healthy lobby chatter before and afterwords). Startup2Startup brings together three types of startup people: startup rookies and students; entrepreneurs and startup veterans; and investors and experienced corporate employees. See the photo set of the night’s activities and introductory video below:
Part of the event’s success has been the ability to pull in big names to speak, including Chad Hurley, James Hong, Naval Ravikant, Matt Mullenweg, Toni Schneider, Reid Hoffman, Matt Cohler, Paul Graham, and Jessica Livingston.
The featured speaker last night was Amy Jo Kim of ShuffleBrain, who gave a great presentation on the psychology and practices behind successful games and how to apply them to web apps. Showing how gaming principals make many popular sites work (with a case study on YouTube), Kim’s talk gave practical advice applicable to any social media site. Here’s the slideshow:
The table conversation allows the startup “rookies” — defined as being a part of their first startup (or not yet part of one) and having raised less than $1 million — to ask whatever they’d like about business, make connections, learn from veterans, and meet investors. My tablemates at last night’s event included Rashmi Sinha, CEO of SlideShare, Matt Cutts from Google, and founders from various startups including Apture, Foodzie, techVenture, Life360, among others. Each table brings a good mix of first-time founders, people itching to do a startup, investors (typically both VC and Angel), seasoned entrepreneurs, and a moderator. The conversation is generally open, engaging, and off-the-record.
February’s speaker will be Jeffrey Veen of Adaptive Path and Google fame. The price of the event is $40 for the invited rookies, but we’ve procured five free tickets for TechCrunch readers. All you have to do is 1) be a startup founder, rookie, or wannabe and 2) leave a comment below explaining why you want to go. We’ll pick the best five submissions and send the winners to the event.
UPDATED:: Here’s the entire video of the event: