The first weeks in the Bay Area, a new chapter for Wappwolfby mlipper on 25/10/2011
“Are you serious? Who do you think you are? Security, securityyy, this man…” was the reaction after I had passed the line for a second time at the immigration in Chicago.
Just to explain my criminal acts, coming from Vienna I had missed my flight from London to San Francisco and I had only two more hours left to hit the connection flight while waiting in a line of hundreds of people. Finally I passed the border, but I missed also my 2nd flight by some minutes. A perfect start!
At 2 o´clock in the morning I arrived in the dark streets of the Mission district in SF and crashed into the co-working space I had booked via Airbnb. Built by there own hands, a little community of tech entrepreneurs is living there. Out of a big loft they have created an amazing place with small bedrooms, a living room with a bar and a separate theatre on the ground floor. Upstairs there is a shared office and a kitchen located. For the first ten nights this amazing spot was my base and gave me an insight into the crazy life of some wonderful geeks.
The first big event I attended was Pitch ’11 at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, stadium of the Giants.
Ninety startups from all over the world had lined-up the alley. While watching hundreds of attendees munching burgers, hotdogs and pizza during their conversation with the entrepreneurs and experiencing the views over the huge baseball stadium I suddenly realized that I have actually arrived in the US.
Some days later I participated as an alumni in the great show of the DEMO Conference in Santa Clara.
Wappwolf had showcased its prototype one year before and was still popular. “You are the juggling guys with the cool app connection platform” was the memory of an attendee.
Besides the interesting startups on stage the DEMO provides an amazing networking platform. To name only a few of them I had talks with Aaron Levie (CEO Box.net), Dan´l Lewin (Corporate Vice President at Microsoft) or Trevor Healy (CEO Amobee).
In general, co-working spaces are the places to be!
To have easy access to a large part of the startup community I have chosen RocketSpace, the best- known and biggest one in SF. This working area is located in an old warehouse in downtown, right between several skyscrapers. On three floors ninety-five young enterprises are part of this highly professional framework and benefit from almost daily happening networking or pitch events. The pariSoma innovation loft is comparable to RocketSpace, but is far smaller.
On many evenings they offer teaching classes or lectures to topics like The Lean Startup, PR/Marketing or tech related subjects. Industry specialists are sharing their experiences and give advice on several levels.
As the market is extremely competitive it is definitely tough to get funding. But, the number of VCs and Angels is vast. Additionally to traditional early-stage funding sources in the venture capital industry it is ever more common to raise from a diverse collection of entrepreneurial angel investors. Representing an important part of the investor scene Angels and Super Angels have built highly professional networks. The most common are Keiretsu Forum, SV Angel, Gust or the well-known AngelList. A continuing trend is to run technology accelerators and partnerships. Established companies like Microsoft or Mozilla, VC funds like Polaris Ventures with Dogpatch Labs or even co-operations between individuals offering technology, experience and network, trying to participate in the flexibility and growth of high potential startups.
The last couple of weeks have been really exciting and promising! I have built a wide range of important contacts, got valuable market insight and learned about how to approach our business objectives. The Bay Area provides a perfect framework for startups and businesses in general and is therefore highly recommended!
- Michael TheLipper