From a 54-hour frenzy to a coffeehouse chat, Seattle makes it easy to make connections in the startup world.
Building relationships is key to landing a startup job or founding your own company. The good news? Most startup communities are pretty close-knit, and Seattle’s is no different.
You don’t have to wade through dozens of generalized networking nights. These seven Seattle startup-specific events will put you on the path to making the right connections: (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Seattle Tech Meetup
If you’re going for big numbers, your best bet is the monthly Seattle Tech Meetup. The event regularly draws hundreds of people, from aspiring engineers to seasoned marketers. For your $10 ticket, you’ll get some food, some drinks and five presentations from Seattle companies doing cool things with technology.
If you really want to dip your toe in slowly, you can start by following their very lively hashtag (#STMeetup) or watch their livestream of the event before committing to the event in person. (That said, you should probably just go in person! That is the whole point of the “networking” part. …)
Cost: $10 per event
2. Startup Weekend
If you’re looking for a jam-packed experience of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur — the lows, the highs! — Startup Weekend is for you.
Startup Weekends are popping up across the globe, but the structure is always same: All participants pitch their startup ideas and get feedback. Then builders, designers and marketers form teams around the top ideas and “it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation,” the site says. “The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.”
This can be the perfect place to make strong connections, fast. Fifty-four hours of insanity has a way of really bringing people together!
Cost: $99 to participate, $25 to watch the Demo Day
3. Startup Grind
The Startup Grind has a different focus: Each month they bring in one speaker to share his or her startup story. You get to hear what worked, what didn’t and what that person will do differently next time. Hosted at the utilitarian Dice Cabana downtown, you can count on some noshes, drinks and interesting people.
Cost: From $14 to $23 per event
4. Content Strategy Seattle
If you’re interested in the content/marketing/communication side of startups, Content Strategy is a good choice to meet like-minded people. You can expect food, beverages, an interesting meetup location (like the Makerhaus in Ballard), and wide-ranging topics — “Sexy Content for Boring Industries” was a recent favorite.
While the focus is, obviously, on content strategy, the people you meet there include UX designers, product planners, marketers and beyond.
Note: There’s typically a cap at 35 people (with a wait list), so you’ll have to move fast to guarantee a spot.
Cost: Usually about $10
5. Seattle Entrepreneurs
Founded in 2002, Seattle Entrepreneurs is one of the older groups on this list and that’s not a bad thing at all — over the years, they’ve found their groove. You can count on attention-grabbing content (from how to build your startup team to how to market your next app) and 20 to 50 people at each event.
Fun fact: The revenue that’s generated from ticket prices benefits the Global Music Project.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to uniting people through music and cultural awareness. Kind of cool, right?
Cost: Typically from $12 to $25 per event
6. Seattle AI & UX Meetup
This meetup is billed as having “good company and geeky conversations.” True to their word, you can drink, chat, and network with 60 to 70 information architects, librarians, usability experts, user experience designers and interaction designers at this monthly event.
While not exclusively focused on startups, you’ll meet a large swath of people who work in the Pioneer Square startup world. The format is casual and there is always pizza — two major pluses.
Cost: Usually about $10
7. Seattle Startup Open Coffee
This Open Coffee is great if you’re looking for a more relaxed setting with a smaller crowd — think 8 to 15 people. At this weekly staple at Louisa’s Coffee in the Eastlake neighborhood, you can grab your latte and kick back to chat about new startup ideas, access to funding and startup resources. Warning: It meets at 8:30 a.m., so you’ll need to be an early-ish riser, or just rely on the delicious Louisa’s Coffee brews to keep your eyes open.
Cost: The price of a cup of coffee
Annie Rose Favreau is a Seattle-based digital marketer and startup problem solver. You can find her Twittering away at @A_Favreau.