Adding Value to Startups: Club M25 Summit 2.0
Last week we took our 3rd swing at the Club M25 Summit, and although the other two were great — 2.0 was definitely our best yet.
From a numbers perspective, the event was definitely a success. We had ~60 founders from 37 M25-backed startups, representing 9 different Midwestern states participate. We also had 50+ investors attend the Club M25 Investor Happy Hour (exclusive to them and our companies) to kick off the summit. Possibly the most important stat, which is also a new one we’re tracking for summits going forward, is that M25 facilitated 84 investor-startup one-on-one meetings around the summit. Knowing many more were scheduled outside of us coordinating them, we couldn’t be more excited at the thought that ~100 meetings happened over the course of a few days around the summit.
With happy hour and a Founder Dinner Thursday evening, we got off to an early start Friday morning…
There was coffee.
There were bagels.
There was swag.
Not only swag, but what I’m proud to call the first Club M25 SwagSwap™. Proud mostly because I’m pretty sure I (Mike) came up with it.
Since we had a great ice breaker (or possibly a few) the night before, we thought it might be cool to skip the traditional ice breaker the next morning and just have everyone bring some swag, trade/barter/haggle, and rep each other properly in each of their own cities. Our t-shirt collections have never been stronger, water bottle games are on point, and we discovered salad shakers are a thing. Actually an amazing thing. That all being said, the man bearing hippos is who really stole the show.
The rest of the day was full of learning from some out of town guests and founders helping founders.
And an equally HUGE thanks to the founders who stepped up to lead breakout sessions around product/tech, sales, and fundraising.
Founders helping founders is definitely a beautiful thing, but everyone knows that all work and no play makes founders… well… want to play.
After ‘concluding the work day’ with the Founder Round Table — we bounced out to Whirlyball (bumper cars + polo + lacrosse for the unfamiliar) for more good times and healthy competition. (Congrats team Mo’ Money)
As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts (1.0 & 1.5) about M25’s approach to adding value to startups, we genuinely get excited about creating meaningful value add for Club M25. The Club M25 Summits are just one way that M25 aims to do this. Whether you’re a founder looking to raise capital from us or another investor, it’s by far in your best interest to partner with someone who’s both excited about and has “referenceable work” of finding meaningful ways to add value to your vision.
About the Author
As a partner at M25, Mike Asem has participated in nearly 100 investments in early-stage companies across the Midwest. Outside of his responsibilities at M25, Mike is a Kauffman Fellow and a board member at BLCK VC, leading initiatives in the Midwest to connect, engage, empower, and advance Black venture investors. In his free time, Mike enjoys making wine, eating sushi, following Chicago sports, and traveling with his wife, Erikka.
M25 is one of the most active venture capital firms focused solely on early-stage tech investments in the Midwest. Since the firm’s inception in 2015, M25 has invested in over eighty early-stage tech startups in over 20 cities across 11 states in the Midwest. M25’s objective, analytical model and collaborative, forward-thinking approach creates a large portfolio spanning several industries across the entire region, allowing them to establish M25 as a key node in the Midwest startup ecosystem.
Originally published at blog.midweststartups.com on February 9, 2018.