What is it?
This is an attempt to establish recognized, open and regular meeting places where entrepreneurs can meet with investors (and anyone else who fancies coming along) in a totally informal setting.
The key is a regular place and a regular time - it's not important who comes along, some days it might be no one - just that people know if they want to meet, this is the time and this is the place.
We want to create some density for people -- a few places where people know they can meet or bump into others.
Something that can be replicated anywhere else at little or no cost -- though we do want to build a list of all the places (wiki to come) where entrepreneurs can meet and know people might be around for them to talk with.
Where and when is it?
The first one will be held every Thursday morning from 10-12 starting from March 1, 2007.
I will be at the Starbucks inside Espirit which is at 178-182 Regent Street.
Anyone. This is not about meeting me (or anyone else in particular), hopefully it's about giving people focussed times and places where they can hang out and connect with others -- not locked inside an office or at a private members club.
Well, one of the things I've heard repeatedly over the last few weeks is:
- investors are inaccessible
- entrepreneurs need regular physical space to meet, not just each other but also also network with investors and corporates
What I don't agree with is the idea that the space should be permanent, owned or closed (private office or members club) -- I should be able to go to cities all over the world and know which places (and at what times) I'm most likely to meet other entrepreneurs.
There are thousands of public places with cheap wifi (check out Skype Zones or FON).
What can you do?
If you're an investor or entrepreneur, start and promote your own OpenCoffee Club location -- please let me know so we can maintain a list (again: wiki will follow soon).
If you're in London on a Thursday morning come along and hang out from 10-12 to Starbucks on Regent St.
Hope to see some of you next week, feel free to e-mail me [saul at klein dot name] or a leave comment if you fancy coming along.
Thanks are due...
To Ryan Carson and the team, who put on FOWA in London this week- they are really trying to inspire the startup developer culture and did a great job with their event bringing an excellent group of people together from across Europe. They even tempted some stars from the over the ocean to join us like Bradley Horowitz, Tara Hunt (who really opened my eyes to the ideas behind BarCamp) and Kevin Rose.
To Sam Sethi and Mike Butcher, who are doing a phenomenal job getting people in London and the UK talking about startups and at who's breakfast this morning this idea germinated. Robert Loch is also really bringing people in London together with his Internet People dinners.
To the very excellent Michael Arrington who introduced me to Reshma Sohoni at 3i who I know is going to start the second OpenCoffee Club on her side of London.
To the ever inspirational Scott Heiferman, one of the smartest brains on the web and the man behind Meetup.com - as well as game changing businesses like itraffic and fotolog.
To my very good friend Danny, who is letting me out the Starbucks is hidden upstairs inside Espirit, it pretty big, almost unused and it's been a secret meeting place for him for way too long :)
To my wife - our family's OpenCoffee Club pioneer.