Fremont being an entrepreneurial city (with more startups per capita than any other city in the nation!), we take supporting the growth of startups very seriously. A perfect platform that helps us accomplish that is Startup Grind, a community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Our local chapter hosts monthly meetups in Fremont featuring local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.


And then there is the Startup Grind global conference – and annual event in February which brings grinders from across the globe. This year was the 10-year anniversary of Startup Grind, and my first time attending the global conference. I was blown away by the incredible energy and ideas that converged over the two-day period with a never-ending sea of innovators, game-changers, investors, and speakers from all over the world.


With 10,000 people, 6 stages, and 100+ sessions and social events, there was something for everyone. Not to mention the incredible opportunity to build relationships with some of the most brilliant minds in tech.


Speaker after speaker, we heard thought-provoking stories of how successful startups evolved pain and devastation into strength, cultivated discipline to prioritize their own well-being, and are working on the art of balancing large amounts of extremely personal data while protecting privacy.


The event kicked off with Startup Grind’s Founder, Derek Andersen sharing his experience of giving up his job ten years ago to grow Startup Grind. His motto: make friends, not contacts.


Jay Williams, ESPN Host, shared a moving story about facing adversity and making the struggle a part of his narrative, “People would say ‘Oh, you were the guy who was in the accident?’ And I started to say ‘No, I’m the guy who’s still alive.’ I started to own that narrative.”


Wellness was a big topic this year with speakers emphasizing the importance of putting yourself first, which in turn contributes greatly to a company’s success. “Wellness doesn’t happen with one thing – it’s a combo of things. Build up a regular routine of healthy always have five minutes in the morning.” said Justin Kan of Atrium.

Joshua Reeves of Gusto tackled the topic of managing the impact of tech on society and how to humanize business. “Shifting the focus from outcome to ingredients (when building a company) is key.”

In the afternoon, Lambda School inspired audience with a new business model for education. Lambda’s ‘Higher Ed to Get You Hired’ model is disrupting the tech education industry. Interestingly, the Founder, Austen Allred shared that the very first thing he did when he ventured on his startup journey was attend a Startup Grind meetup!

The conference was an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators to take their ideas to the next level. There were multiple stages of highly educational content by a roster of world-class speakers, thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators looking to build relationships, hours of impactful networking, and partner opportunities. I am already looking forward to next year!

Until then, I invite you to join our upcoming meetup in Fremont on March 19 and hear form Harry Singh, Strategic Partnerships at a prominent social media company who will discuss fundraising and building an A-class team and partner network for your startup.