We all love a good story, so let’s talk quickly about the story of Built In Chicago from its Founder and Chairman, Matt Moog. If you didn't already check out this story, have a quick gander.
A quick history:
On August 2, 2010 a group of about 25 Chicago area entrepreneurs and technologists got together to talk about what we could do to help the tech ecosystem in Chicago grow. Matt went home that night and launched BuiltInChicago.org on a very simple social platform called Ning. Only one month later, on September 28th, after attending another event with entrepreneurs at New World Ventures and having a similar conversation he decided to open it up to everyone.
By May 2011 BuiltInChicago had grown to the point where he could no longer meet the needs of the community working nights and weekends. At the same time Matt McCall and several members of the community suggested that they capitalize on the momentum and raise some money to hire a part time director and fund future initiatives.
Then, J.B. Pritzker (New World Ventures), Eric Lefkofsky (Lightbank/Groupon), Joe Mansueto (Morningstar) and Bob Fealy (The Duchossois Group) all generously agreed to become the founding sponsors of Built In Chicago and gave us the necessary resources to take the community to the next level. And so, in 2011, hired Maria Katris as Executive Director (now President) and continues today!
With that little story, 14 reasons to attend BuiltInChicago events:
- Network like crazy! BuiltInChicago events themselves are ideal places to meet VCs/ angel investors, entrepreneurs, marketing and branding professionals, as well as host of other influencers and innovators.
- Meeting people is fun. Sitting in front of your computer can get boring. If you’re not working from 1871 or your other local co-working space, it's a valuable resource.
- Food & drink. Without the planning or cooking!
- Get tagged. Before the event, registrants can define themselves as, “entrepreneur”, “developer”, “investor,” “student,” or “other”, which helps immensely if you’re looking for a specific contact.
- As in the Chicago way… everyone is super friendly. Which helps if you’re having a bad day, or need inspiration.
- Pitches are short and to-the-point. Two minute pitches keeps presenters on their toes, which is good for attendees.
- You’ll get to stand up. It sounds lame, but sitting down all day has been proven bad for your body. BuiltInChicago events let you stand up. Take it as an opportunity to stretch if you’d like—why not?
- Have something awesome to tweet about. Don't just keep your startup in stealth mode, talk to others and share your startup story! Let your social media network know you’ll attend the event, and you'll seem like even more of an industry expert.
- Get your pic taken. With all the photographers around, it’d be nice to finally see yourself in another professional photo album.
- Cross-publicize with pics. Want to connect more with the local community? In addition to getting onto the Built In Chicago blog, you can take pics of the event and feature them on your Facebook or Flickr accounts. This is especially useful if you’ll be presenting; collaborate for the success of both of your marketing efforts!
- Connect with others across social media. Add contacts on LinkedIn and/or Facebook, get followed on Twitter and get connected with Chicago's startup community across social media. Because it's all about who you know.
- Learn best practices of startups. As industry events go, this one has many startups which face many of the same hurdles. Share your challenge & how you solved it and you're improving Chicago's startup community!
- Meet for coffee talk. With all the friendly startups, lawyers, VCs and beyond, why not have a quick chat on improving your business or ideas for your next business with a BuiltInChicago community member?
- Hire a BuiltInChicago-er. I needed some branding assistance, for example, and the lovely Linda Cassady helped me out and also did a great job! Need a founder, this is the place to find one.