As we looked around the show floor, we remarked that while relatively young companies were represented, we wondered what we could do to better expose and support the very early stage: those companies disrupting in the trenches, those still bootstrapping, those without the benefit of PR budgets to generate the visibility and partner opportunities they needed to get to market faster. Those in voice, mobile, video, network and other forms of emerging telephony.
An hour later I called the TMC guys back with an idea. Lets take a first shot, I suggested, at what we would call StartupCamp Telephony - a short evening event where select early stage startups would have the unique opportunity to present to a crowd of influencers and industry leaders. Being entrepreneurs themselves, the TMC team bit right away. We'll do it, they said. Just tell us how we can help.
At my end, I could afford to be this spontaneous for one reason: my partner at Embrase Business Consulting, Phil Telio, had successfully built and managed StartupCamp Montreal - an event dedicated to creating community among the tech entrepreneurs of that great city. He knows how to do this. (He didn't tell me how much work to expect, but that's another matter.)
So now, a little more than three months since that first conversation, we find ourselves 7 days removed from the inaugural StartupCamp Telephony, co-hosted with TMC at ITExpo in Miami, the evening of January 21st. We hit many key milestones along the way, all of which will contribute to the success of the evening:
- Twilio jumped on board early to help out as a Platinum Sponsor, eager to support the community in any way it could. Twilio's platform has quickly become the one to turn to to launch a new feature, product or company that implicates telephony elements.
- Almost 25 early stage telephony startups applied to participate for the opportunity to present their story.
- 4 startups, each from very different walks of the industry, have been selected.
- One of the industry's most charismatic and thoughtful entrepreneurs - Jamie Siminoff - will kick us off as the keynote. Jamie, having recently sold PhoneTag, brings a real world track record to the evening.
In the end, this night will about the startups, and about what's next in telephony. And hopefully the beginning of a process that will help our early stage telephony disruptors find the investors, partners and customers they need to keep moving forward.
See you there.