As you read this, I’m probably attending an LA Tech Week event. Tech weeks have become increasingly popular over the past few years. They’re like an industry conference on steroids. Tech weeks are designed to bring a community’s tech industry together to learn from each other and to connect venture capitalists, angel investors and tech startup founders with each other.
This year’s LA Tech Week is turning into a major event. Several thousand people are planning on participating. Almost every event has a waiting list. There are entire Twitter threads devoted to people who couldn’t get into a single LA Tech Week event. Fortunately, I made it into about a dozen events.
I believe it is critical for investors to attend events like LA Tech Week. It’s a chance for us to get out from behind our computer screens and see firsthand what’s going on with startups, learn what’s happening in the investor community and pick up investment intelligence that we can’t get anywhere else.
I spend several weeks a year (when there isn’t a pandemic going on) visiting founders, other investors and people within the startup ecosystem. And on every trip, I learn something new.
Sometimes, that new bit of information makes me want to invest in a company I’d previously passed on. Sometimes, that new information confirms what I already thought (positive or negative) about a startup. But more often than not, I pick up information that will help me evaluate future investments.
On my last trip to Los Angeles, I attended a master class on how the brain communicates with joints and muscles, received advanced training on the best practices for building out robotics prototypes and got a mini MBA on scaling a consumer goods company (and that was just in one day!).
On a recent trip to New Jersey, I picked up intelligence on the latest trends in term sheets and valuations.
And on almost every trip I go on, I find new startups worth investing in. I also get a chance to see how products and trends are playing in the real world.
Computers and the internet have made startup investing more accessible. Zoom has made it easier than ever to meet people who would have been unreachable before. But if your community or region ever hosts or holds a tech week, you should consider going.
Startups operate in the real world. So do their customers. And the investor community is far more likely to share information on how they operate in real life than they are online or via Zoom. Plus, you just might connect with a founder who’s worth investing in.
Many of the events, like LA Tech Week, are free. So you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by attending.
I’ll let you know what I discovered in Los Angeles in a future update.