Startup Week Seattle 2016

Completing the Cirkle — Startup week to Startup week

Oct 2014, Startup Week Seattle, I am sitting in a conference room in SURF co-working space with about 10 women around a table. Few minutes later, Caitlin from 9Mile Labs enters the room and starts the meeting. We go around the table and introduce ourselves. I start by telling my name and telling that I just quit my job a week ago. My shoulders are almost touching my cheeks and my eyes are moving from one side of the table to the other in anticipation. I expect some judgmental looks and comments but everyone starts clapping. They celebrate my courage and welcome me in the new world of entrepreneurship. I suddenly feel better and sense that I’ll fit right in. That Startup week I attended close to 40 events and drank from a firehose. Learning was paramount.

The week was followed by the Startup Weekend edu at Seattle library. Being there for 54 hours and working on an idea connected me to many other entrepreneurs who were passionate about education and using technology to make it better.

Fast Forward 2 years, Nov 2016, it’s Seattle Startup week again.

But this time, we present Cirkled in at New Tech Seattle in front of a huge crowd and celebrate our first revenue with the community.

Same people and community once again clapped for us and celebrated with us. And again, we learned so much during this week from people who have been there and done that. Following startup week, again startup weekend-edu was held in Seattle library and I found myself in the same room.

But this time, as a mentor sharing my last two years’ of ed-tech experience with a team of new entrepreneurs.

In two years, we come back to where we started our journey but as a new person and somewhat established startup. During these two years, our biggest win is the friends we have made in Seattle startup eco system. From Caitlin who was the first one to clap on my quitting and Jay at Seattle library in whom I found a tea-drinking friend at the startup weekend to all the entrepreneurs, mentors, advisers, investors whom we found along the way and became good friends and confidante. Looking back, I don’t think I had attended that many events and parties in my whole life, as I did in last two years. From various meetup groups to holiday parties, each one got us new connections and with that we got new hopes for our startup.

Entrepreneurship is no easy task. I don’t think anyone from outside can envision what it is like. I say it’s even harder than child birth because you just don’t know what you don’t know. At the same time, I don’t think anyone can even envision just how life enriching it is — from all angels. It’s not only your brain that grows in size, it’s the heart that gets bigger too. As an entrepreneur, even though every day I feel like I’m pushing a boulder uphill but I also know there are others with me. There are others who have done it successfully before and are ready to share their experiences with me. So I don’t feel alone at all.

Learning should never stop and startup week makes it easy. We are forever grateful to people who make this week possible. We don’t know what is in store for us over next 12 months but we know that we have a community to rely on. Stay tuned for our next report during Startup Week 2017.

#LifeLongLearning #StartupWeekSea #ChaseBaseCamp

To Life Long Learning!