Friday, February 23, 2007

OpenCoffee Club

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'll be there every week so if you want to drop by and chat - or just share the wifi - I'd love to see you.

I will be at the Starbucks inside Espirit which is at 178-182 Regent Street.

Who's invited?

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:
  1. investors are inaccessible
  2. entrepreneurs need regular physical space to meet, not just each other but also also network with investors and corporates
I totally agree with point 1-- we all get an enormous amount from informal contact.

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 - 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.

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At 2/23/2007 01:52:00 pm, Blogger azeem said...

see you there :)

At 2/23/2007 04:37:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool! It's now listed on Eventful.

At 2/23/2007 05:18:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

should put it in upcoming and meetup. great idea Saul.

Potentially - is it worth dragging out our "plazes" accounts and using that to assist?

At 2/23/2007 05:41:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This sounds great! We are currently trying to get our site ( ) off the ground and we'd love to get some feedback and advice. We'll be there.

At 2/23/2007 06:54:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Info about OpenCoffee Club in Dublin here:

At 2/23/2007 07:33:00 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent Idea saul, Expect I shall pop in every now and then. It is also tempting close to the Apple store - that could be dangerous ;)

At 2/24/2007 11:58:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nice to meet you again on Friday morning, pity I had to leave early - this is a very good idea, it gives a node for the London scene to start from. Up till now most circles have met in various private clubs or the IoD, and there is no "Open ID" for club membership in London :)

By the way, Carluccios just off Oxford St also offers free wifi and is big, so it is quite easy to get a fairly large group meeting going.

At 2/24/2007 12:32:00 pm, Blogger Fiona M said...

great idea. good luck!

At 2/24/2007 01:36:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! I'm an American living in Barcelona about to launch a vertical search engine, and would love to get your point of view, as I see you have experience with Edgeio and have written about Extate. I often make it to London. The next time I'm there I'll be sure to drop by!

At 2/24/2007 10:07:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do all these interesting stuff have to happen when I'm leaving London (early tomorrow morning)?

Saul, you may count on me starting the OpenCoffee in Zagreb, Croatia, and I'm counting on you to come over one of the Thursday's in the near future. Of course, everyone else's invited as well.

At 2/25/2007 02:29:00 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey Saul

Great idea. Looking forward to meeting you on Thursday.

I'm a budding entrepreneur and the soon to to be MD of Quirk UK (

I hope its okay that I don't drink coffee.

At 2/25/2007 10:34:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saul, glad that i managed to met you at FOWA last week and you pointed me to the "Open Coffe Club" - it's precisely the informal atmosphere and focused enviroment that is so desperately needed to bridge the gap between entrpreneurs and Venture.

As with all great ideas it's simple, effective and works ;)

See you this Thursday.

At 2/26/2007 12:33:00 am, Blogger The Lal said...

From across the pond its nice to see some local traction on the streets.

At 2/26/2007 02:27:00 pm, Blogger Lloyd said...

hehe! it seems great minds *do* think alike. At the other end of the day Thursday Night is Social Media Night. A different focus (though i expect some crossover - I'll make sure people know about OpenCoffee club) but taking the same approach :)

At 2/26/2007 07:58:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wish I could be there - but I'm a bit of a start up myself. Great idea - dad :)

At 2/26/2007 10:55:00 pm, Blogger John Wilson said...

Saul, you may want to adopt the practice of Second Chance Tuesday and provide different coloured stickers for entrepreneurs and investors so that each is easily identifiable amongst the crowd. Sadly, not all we investors can be identified from either having 2 heads or a single pointy head.

It would also be great to have a sign-up page so we can see in advance/hindsight who the attendees are/were. Appreciate that this is extra aggro but perhaps a simple wiki page may suffice.

At 2/27/2007 11:18:00 am, Blogger oneafrikan said...

See you there ;-)

I'd prefer it if it was more informal, so we can get to know each other the good old fashioned way...

At 2/27/2007 01:31:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very briefly: just got this running. Looking for suggestions how to utilize it (have some ideas, but would like other's input).

At 2/28/2007 10:11:00 am, Blogger weaverluke said...

Hope to be there tomorrow.

At 3/06/2007 02:37:00 pm, Blogger oliWood said...

This is a brilliant idea. Can I suggest twinning it with an evening meet at a regular time and place (I would suggest a very good pub such as the Bricklayers Arms), so that people who are office bound during the day can attend?

At 3/07/2007 05:20:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saul

Fab idea. Looking forward to meeting you on Thursday 8th.

I come from a broadcast background - but I have a few web ideas I'd love to discuss!


At 3/07/2007 05:25:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Saul

Fab idea. Looking forward to meeting you on Thursday 8th.

I'm from a broadcast background but I have some web projects I'd love to discuss!


At 3/12/2007 06:09:00 pm, Blogger Hasan Luongo said...

hello Saul,

Thanks for the good idea, i'm going to work on setting up an OpenCoffee club here in the Northern Bay Area of California, catering to entrepreneurs and investors in Marin and Sonoma County.

Please let me know if you have any additional details for getting this set up for success.

My plan is to message out to a few local angel investors, find a coffee spot with Wifi and post the ad on Meetup / Eventful and Craigslist.

Any additional ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks -

Hasan Luongo
hasan (at) promoterforce . com

At 4/19/2007 08:53:00 am, Blogger Surfin' Chefs said...

Where does a littl'ol startup like us in California & Australia get into a group to get noticed and network for interested parties? Have 2 concept sites ... Homes and . Thx Tina M

At 4/19/2007 09:49:00 am, Blogger Saul said...

Best place to get feedback and meet other folks is via

See you there!

At 4/27/2007 09:30:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were to come along and place a few visuals on and around the table i was sat at kind of leaning towards an exhibition stand almost then I,m coming directly to the point of what i,m about......had any thoughts about this..would this be ok ?

At 5/26/2007 06:24:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fascinating idea - have just come across this for the first time - anyone know if there is one in Cape Town? If not I would love to start one - someone is welcome to contact me in this regard.

At 5/28/2007 06:04:00 pm, Blogger Saul said...

Viv - thanks for the comment. There's a thriving OCC in Cape Town now - check out details at

At 4/27/2008 09:53:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Carluccios just off Oxford St also offers free wifi and is big, so it is quite easy to get a fairly large group meeting going.

At 5/19/2008 07:42:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have started a revolution man!

The Greek Open Coffee

At 7/28/2009 02:47:00 pm, Anonymous said...

Great idea! We're looking at going to the Open Coffee Club in Atlanta this afternoon/evening. Thanks for getting the ball rolling!

At 8/01/2009 02:48:00 pm, Anonymous Family Tree said...

I have some web projects I'd like to discuss!

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At 10/01/2009 09:30:00 pm, Anonymous furniture said...

Great job, I shall pop in every now and then, also tempting close to the Apple store too.


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