The Startup Conference: A Stepping Stone to Silicon Valley
Out of all of the yogis and business partners we met, one of the greatest highlights on our California Roadshow was heading out to the The Startup Conference. It was the 9th edition of the event organized by the dedicated team of Alain Raynaud and Nima Adelkhani.
With the slogan “For Founders by Founders” it is one of the largest annual events in Silicon Valley focused on helping early-stage companies grow and succeed.
The conference had the perfect mix of everything yoganect was there for — great speakers and the perfect environment for a startup looking to meet like-minded folk. People like Ali Vahabzadeh, founder of Chariot, and Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of Zoom, gave inspiring speeches that got us thinking. And of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the strong & dedicated organizational team that made the event such a great experience.
Redwood City itself might seem a bit sleepy at 8:00 in the morning. But after a coffee from the Philz Coffeeshop, the heat from the morning sun and the charm of the old Fox Theater, the city was more than ready for a startup conference. As a rising tech company ourselves, we were interested to see what it would be like to attend an event like this. In our gut, we just knew that it would be a great stepping stone. How did we know? More than 1,000 people from the Silicon Valley Startup Ecosystem were attending and we were excited to meet them all!
Immediately after the opening speech from co-organizer Nima Adelkhani, we introduced our project along with eight other participants. Our unique blend of Yoga & Tech attracted immediate attention. Minutes later, we received our first LinkedIn contacts and emails. Moments like these werewhen we realized, this is how it should work! This is precisely the startup spirit that we’ve been looking for, where it’s about more than just the founders. Of course we met our fair share of founders, but we also met a variety of venture capital firms (VC’s), startup incubators, business angels and accelerators. This amazing mix of people was not only exciting, it was positively electrifying.
Shortly after our presentation, it was time to take out our laptops. We met one-on-one with VC’s and pitched our business concept. Each representative was different, and got us thinking about different ways to use yoganect and the infinite possibilities we had for its development. We had a chance to interact with representatives from Sandhills Angels, including German-born Steffen Bartschat. With his company Hill88, he engages with the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem, and helps early stage startups scale to sustainability. He had a lot of knowledge to offer us and we appreciated learning about some of the potential challenges we might face in the future.
We engaged in many insightful conversations throughout the conference. As the time fly by, we found it was more than simply about meeting new people, it was an overall fun and rewarding experience. Another person we met was Ronjini Joshua. She is the founder and principal of The Silver Telegram. In her work, Ronjini supports companies and startups in public relations. As we discussed yoganect, she already had great & innovative ideas on how Yoga & Tech could attract attention from the get-go. It’s at these kinds of conferences where personal connections are key, and with each new introduction, we found ourselves getting more and more excited about yoganect.
Another stand that caught our attention was Wolf & Wilhelmine, a brand building agency, which also helps startups build their brand. The Kemitian Lounge’s booth was a great opportunity to take a short break and relax in his comfortable chairs. The owner, Kokoro, transformed his stand into a short chillout area. Given that the conference was all about socializing and meeting new people every second, it was a perfect idea for us conference-goers. Kokoro’s business model focuses on the creation of safe, comfortable, creative and inspiring spaces for meditating, co-creating and planning. He believes that it’s the best way to relax. After all, how can you run 24/7 without taking a break from the tech-zone for retreats and then start a workshop? It’s perfect for those moments when creativity is needed or you need a break from work.
A big thank you to everyone involved for making this event happen. It was a great way to meet new business partners, pitch to VCs, expand network and share experience with other founders. We already have a list of exciting new partners, founders and ideas that we plan on building as we continue our California Roadshow! All that we at yoganect are asking now is — what’s the next stop?
Edited by Gabriella Gricius