Hey, what just happened here!?
Yesterday, the newly revived Jumpstart260 filled the upstairs room at 816 Pint and Slice with entrepreneurs. Yes, you read that right. Filled. Entrepreneurs. Downtown Fort Wayne. I’m guessing there were 50 people there – I know there were at least that many tickets out. VERY cool!
Our hosts were two of Fort Wayne’s most enthusiastic young entrepreneurs, Graham Bredemeyer from Roaring Mouse Innovations and PYPline.com and Ray Angel of LaunchNow.co (yes, there is a Jumpstart260 badge on LaunchNow.co), posing here with Seth Bauserman‘s “Shave” (graphite and transfers – on display at Pint and Slice – along with more of Seth’s great work – go check it out). Although he plays humble and claims to be on the sidelines, I’m pretty sure that Graham’s business partner Scott BonAmi helped make this happen. And, since Ray was involved, I’d bet that Anita Homco of Cupcakes and Company fame had to be involved in some way.
There were presentations by Ray, by Olivia Fabian of OFabz Swimwear, and by Jordan Ross. Ray talked about his “F’ups”, the mistakes he has made over the course of a bunch of startups (starting in his high school days). Great information (and a fun talk). Olivia presented her swimwear business investor pitch. Jordan presented his vision for a future product that does to TV what the iPod did for music. Jordan, a very confident and comfortable presenter, is 14!
All night long – until Pint and Slice closed – there were conversations followed by conversations followed by conversations. At times it was difficult for Graham to get everyone’s attention to introduce a presenter.
Most everybody posted a card on the social wall – and then connected themselves to the people they knew – or had just met that night. Check out all of the connections!
By the way, there were some great artists in the room – and that obviously does not include me. It does, however, include my friend Kate Vaynberg who was visiting us from Moscow, Russia.
Nametags had room for icons that represented your skills. Marketing, graphic design, business development, programming and web development. Our resident overachiever, Kevin Mullett, seems to be our renaissance man (next time we need an SEO icon too, right Kev?).
So, why did I feel the Jumpstart260 event was so very cool? Three main reasons.
- It clearly demonstrates that Fort Wayne’s entrepreneurial community has reached a critical mass and has gained some momentum. This was a entrepreneur-led grass roots effort. Graham and Ray (with help) made it happen. It was not led by some economic development entity (although, since I work for one, I must say there is nothing wrong with that).
- It was just plain good to see Graham and Ray have a great success. They are good people who want to give back to our community and help it grow.
- A lot of the people in the room (including the organizers) are my friends from the Innovation Center – mainly from the BizWiz Meetup or the Student Venture Lab (thanks Graham and Ray for letting me pitch them). My business partner Gary Coker from SCIGuild was there.
I like this group – a lot. I bet that you will, too. Come visit us next month!