How to Build Your Network in Silicon Valley

March 1, 2017

10:30 am

It’s no secret that Silicon Valley is saturated with formidable tech startups. The tech hub has attracted investors, built a thriving community, and spawned innovative concepts and ideas popular around the world. As competitive an environment as it is, startup disruption also fosters support structures for founders and improves the local economy.

In 2015, Silicon Valley experienced a job growth bump of 4.3 percent, its highest since 2000, just one year before the bursting of the dot-com bubble. The Bay Area isn’t just a haven for tech’s most experienced and creative minds, it also provides fertile ground for startup founders to build a support system.

Experience Silicon’s Peaks and Valleys

Despite its success, Silicon Valley can be rough on new entrepreneurs choosing to dive in headfirst. Market entrants daring enough to enter need to be incredibly sharp and show a willingness to learn and pivot at a moment’s notice.

For some, the beauty of Silicon Valley is its ecosystem of thriving networks offering unique resources for those willing to exploit them. Here’s how to ingrain yourself into that network:

Work the Rooms

A study conducted by National Networking Statistics shows that 87 percent of executives network two to three times a week, which sparks a 90 percent increase in business opportunities. Ask your connections for introductions, and ask colleagues about any new ideas they might have to help spark growth.

Like-minded people meet regularly in hopes of collecting advice to advance tech knowledge and build businesses. For example, the March Silicon Valley Organization calendar features the San Jose Power Lunch, a networking mixer for the Silicon Valley Young Professionals and literally dozens of tech meetups occur in the Bay Area on any given evening.

Investors often populate networking events and are willing to chat with founders. The appropriately named Access to Silicon Valley brings together entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, founders, and industry experts armed with the contacts and cash to make waves.

Share So People Care

Afraid to open your idea to the masses because it might be stolen? You’re not alone, but don’t let that scare you away from sharing your ideas. Offer up new concepts for discussion to increase your appeal.

Take the risk, because the ultimate reward could be well worth it. Access to other founders means access to knowledge, which includes learning from the mistakes of others. Groups like Founders Network allow you to become part of a collective knowledge base.

Be in the Right Places

This last one is a given. In order to facilitate a lucrative network, you need to hang out in co-working spaces, grab a coffee, mingle with co-workers, and learn what’s new in the tech world from your peers rather than online articles.

Workers thrive in co-working spaces at a high level of success because of the open environment and feelings of job control, according to the Harvard Business Review. These areas are designed to be conducive to mutual conceptualization and creativity. Sure, strong startup ecosystems are growing in nontraditional cities like Seattle and Austin, but the resources and support systems of Silicon Valley are hard to beat.

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Brieanne Traube is the director of business development at Early Growth Financial Services, which provides outsourced finance, accounting, tax, and valuation services for early-stage companies. EGFS helps companies reduce their cost structures and better target their internal resources in order to build, establish, and manage the assets needed to sustain growth.

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