Chapter Highlight — Silicon Valley

Gearing up for the next decade

Hackers/Founders Silicon Valley turned 10 years old in 2018, and as the year comes to a close, we thought we’d like to take a look back.

Many of you who are familiar with H/F’s Silicon Valley lore know that the first chapter meeting was held at St. John’s Pub in Santa Clara. Though only five folks showed up, it would lay the groundwork for the 100+ plus worldwide H/F chapters to come. The recipe was simple: connect fellow tech entrepreneurs over a beer or a burger.

St. John’s and… not-St. John’s

H/F co-founder and HACK Fund Managing Director Jonathan Nelson was working on his startup part-time and working as a nurse when he started the meetup group. As the story goes, his wife and business partner Laura told him he needed to find a way to connect with other entrepreneurs about the challenges he faced in building his business. This sort of a forum seemed to be lacking in the Silicon Valley startup world, so he created his own.

A pair of excellent Nelsons

Hackers/Founders was meant to be a regular forum that would carry Silicon Valley’s long-standing tradition of “collaborative capitalism” forward. In other words, a way for founders to make connections, find opportunities, and also to share “what sucks” about creating a startup. The ability to find someone who has experienced the same things can make the difference between packing it in, or continuing to push forward.

H/F Silicon Valley began to grow. Not only were there regular meetups, but special events such as hackathons, classes and even whiskey tastings.

Hackers/Founders even became a place to visit and connect in Silicon Valley for out-of-towners, and soon people started asking if they could start a chapter in their hometowns. That is how H/F first started to expand its community throughout the world.

Eventually, out of those years and their increasing amount of connections arose the H/F Co-op, the founder’s cooperative program which helped startup companies from all over the world to grow revenue and expand.

We’ve had a lot of interesting events, including North Korean dissident Park Yeon-Mi giving a talk at our offices; visits from college students from Latin America, Europe and the United States; multiple conferences around different topics, and even a scotch tasting.

These days, Cristina is the friendly face of H/F Silicon Valley meetups, though the rest of the team, including Jonathan, still attend. The latest community meetup was at San Pedro Square in San Jose. Despite the fact it was the same night as a San Jose Sharks game (San Pedro Square is a favorite place for Sharks fans to gather), we made a lot of good connections, as did our attendees. At its heart, what Hackers/Founders is all about.

We look forward to being a part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem for many years to come. Cheers!