Under New Management: A Recap of Monday's ExitEvent Startup Social

At First Glance, It Looked a Lot Like Previous Socials

BY JOE PROCOPIO@jproco2.26.14
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Filed Under: NEWS: Startups

Monday night marked the first ExitEvent Startup Social where it was public knowledge that I was no longer in charge. To be honest, I've actually not been in charge for a couple of them now, but with the news having broken earlier this month of ExitEvent's acquisition by American Underground, there was no more false pretense, so to speak.

Now, I can't say I spent a whole lot of time between the acquisition and the formal announcement worrying about whether or not things would change. This is due to two reasons:

1) The team at American Underground and I spent a lot of time making sure that what I didn't want to change would not.

2) We then spent an inordinate amount of time making sure that everything else would.

I like change. Change is good.

Those changes are starting to play out. They were noticeable Monday night in downtown Raleigh, where over 130 entrepreneurs and investors from all over the Triangle came out to the new American Underground @Raleigh facility. There they enjoyed a selection of half-a dozen local craft beers provided by Tasty Beverage and, for the first time ever at an ExitEvent Startup Social, wine.

Because there's money for that now.

But there are other, more relevant signs that the growth that this new partnership was engineered for is starting to take hold, decidedly if slowly.

You can see it on the website where the once-a-day content is becoming twice-a-day on most days, with a bunch of new voices telling startup stories from an entrepreneur's point of view.

And Laura Baverman, ExitEvent's new editor -- one with a background in journalism and national experience -- is only getting warmed up. She spent most of Monday night meeting new people and building on her knowledge of the Triangle startup scene.

Laura's presence (and her work ethic) mark the first formal connection between the ExitEvent Social and ExitEvent content, allowing her to get the pulse of several startups at once, as well as prime the megaphone to tell more and better stories to the world about what's going on in the Triangle.

Another immediate and important change is that more people know about ExitEvent now. I'd like to think I've got a pretty solid reach, but just having other people involved in promoting the cause and spreading the word creates a huge increase in that reach.

Add in the fact that those other people are also setting a beachhead in the Triangle becoming a top-five entrepreneurial region, and that increase goes exponential.

From that pool of new people, there are new entrepreneurs, and I believe I met the most new people yet at Monday night's Social -- some of whom had set up shop in the Underground @Raleigh. Three new investors showed up. Previously, I hadn't even known they'd existed.

And the quality was off the charts. I made a bunch of introductions, some of which were ricochet introductions -- that's where someone gets introduced to me and I immediately introduce them to someone else I think they should know.

Not only is that kind of thing fun and exciting, which is important, I should add, but it's also necessary.

I started ExitEvent because the Triangle isn't Silicon Valley, and in that it has to play a certain kind of catch-up in order for more startups to succeed here. I built ExitEvent to bring those elements to bear that I thought would make that happen -- more focus, more connection, more spotlight, more education.

Those things are happening, and now they're happening more and better. And if it can be done without the name tags, the speeches, the selling, and the bullshit, then I'll have nothing to worry about after all.







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