By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
There was a large Techstars contingent including Brandon Marker, Techstars analyst who will be working with the newest Techstars Austin class on financial issues such as pitching for VCs. The class begins Monday.
Keith Casey Jr., software developer with Twilio, will also be an advisor for Techstars, he started going to Open Coffee events in Washington D.C. before he moved to Austin.
“The way it worked there is every other Friday we’d get together and the question was ‘What have you built since last we met?’ So it was really good, it was peer pressure but it was a lot of support as well.”
Clinkscales, who started Austin on Rails and Friday Hack Night along with other meetup groups, started Open Coffee in fall of 2010.
“I basically want to provide a place where entrepreneurs can help each other along,” he said.
Jonathan Placa, co-founder of a cloud-based 3D printing service called Proto Exchange was fresh in, having moved from New Jersey 48 hours before.
“Everybody’s so friendly here,” he said. “New York City is just, you’re very much in your own world and you just pass people without making eye contact. You bump into someone and you may never see them again. Whereas here you may run into someone again and it’s a little more relaxed.”
Emily Brouillet, a writer and brand strategist recently moved from Boston and is looking to connect more with the entrepreneurial community. Stephanie Kreml, who got her engineering degree before entering med school is a staff physician at Concentra and also is a principal of Popper and Co. which consults on bioscience issues for companies including venture capitalists investigating investment opportunities.
But there was also a group of regulars like Casey and Mark Phillip, founder of Are You Watching This? which contacts sports fans who can’t watch a game and lets them know when the game starts getting exciting. Many were just “hanging with friends” without any specific business objective.
For the last few years, Clinkscales has doing a North group as well as the one downtown but is thinking of centralizing all the Open Coffees downtown because of the growing startup presence there.