Tech Ranch® has hosted its first ever international Campfire. It was also a unique collaboration between the Austin, Texas-based accelerator and San Francisco-based StartOut, the national organization enabling LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.
Lindsay Powell, chief marketing officer (CMO) of Tech Ranch® said: “As a programming board member of the StartOut Austin Chapter I was asked to champion an event. Without hesitation I proposed a Campfire. I am also the CMO of Tech Ranch® and I have seen first-hand how well the approach enables networking between founders, entrepreneurs and mentors. It seemed like a great fit for StartOut.”
StartOut is a non-profit set up to promote LGBTQ+ equality and combat discrimination in the business world. Its mission is to increase the number, diversity, and impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs and amplify their stories to drive the economic empowerment of the community.
Tony Uceda, director of development at StartOut in New York City said: “When Lindsay proposed the Campfire we were excited to realize the idea. Adapting to the Covid-19 pandemic we took the decision at StartOut headquarters to host all of our events virtually and to make them national. We were delighted to work with Tech Ranch on a novel approach to networking.”
Based in the heart of Texas, Tech Ranch® equips entrepreneurs and ecosystems with insights, proven techniques, tools and processes that develop both the community and the entrepreneur. Crucially the program builds global bridges between entrepreneurs and the ecosystems which support them.
Kevin Koym, founder and CEO of Tech Ranch® said: “Campfire networking is all about connecting you to the larger tech startup community. The ‘secret sauce’ is how we manage the networking component. It’s speed dating with a defined purpose. Entrepreneurs meet in groups of five for ten minutes. Every participant introduces themselves, then makes an ask and an offer. We’ve done hundreds of these events. As an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, it was awesome to host our first virtual campfire with StartOut.”
Over 40 people participated in the live event on May 28. They came from all over the USA, as well as Mexico, Russia, and Singapore. Hundreds more watched the open session on a live webstream on Facebook.
Kristin Ginter, product manager of Tech Ranch®’s Venture Outfitter program said: “On the production side there were a few challenges. With help from a member of the StartOut team who works with Zoom videoconferencing and with volunteers from Venture Outfitter, I was able to master the functionality of the application. Zoom enabled us to set up breakout chat rooms and rotate participants randomly so that they met as many different people as could be achieved in the time.”
The webcast can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv96df7L6_0