Celebrating 11 Years of Entrepreneurial Advice

July 6, 2017

3:50 pm

On this day eleven years ago, we gathered a couple hundred startup founders, developers, creators, investors, tech enthusiasts and executives into a bar in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago to host the first TECH cocktail event ever.

We pulled it together with a shoestring budget, donated wine, volunteers, and lots of passion for making a difference in the local technology and startup landscape – fostering innovation and job creation. Little did I know, eleven years later the side hustle event series that started as TECH cocktail would have grown to an online reach and readership of millions of global readers and hundreds of events as TechCo Media. If you’re interested in reminiscing you might be interested in watching this gem of a video from the first event.

Looking Back

Over the past eleven years we’ve seen lots of changes in the technology and startup space. We have always prided ourselves on finding, connecting and showcasing startups, interesting entrepreneurs and thought-leaders before you hear about them in the mainstream. On our 11th anniversary, I thought it would be fun to look back at just a few examples of some of the people who have shared their insights, knowledge, and entrepreneurial advice over the years to our audience. There are countless of other great inspirational talks we’ve captured in the TechCo video library. Let’s take a look back.


Gary Vaynerchuk’s first tech event he ever attended was a TechCo event in D.C. and shared inspiration with us many times since then.

Steve Case

Steve Case shared his insights about starting AOL, fostering entrepreneurship around America, and investing in the rise of the rest around the country as we ride the third wave.

Robin Chase

As a transportation trailblazer, Robin Chase from Zipcar gave her perspective on the future of transportation.

Jason Fried

Jason Fried of Basecamp has always been a thought-leader on design, simplicity, and work. I sat down with him to discuss these various topics.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss shared his thoughts on the 4 hour work week and more with us while circling around South by Southwest on a bus.

Travis Kalanick

We knew Travis before he started Uber. Prior to the Uber juggernaut, Kalanick had started other interesting and disruptive companies and was a very active angel investor. He started to share his thoughts for the first time at our conferences in Chicago and D.C. in 2010 and 2011 with “lessons from the jam pad”. He’s also contributed articles to TechCo as well.

Gina Bianchini

Gina Bianchini has been building social networking platforms to foster communities for over a decade. From leading Ning to creating her latest social networking platform, Mighty Networks, she shared her vast expertise with us.

Harper Reed

Harper Reed has a been a longtime supporter of TechCo since his days as the CTO of Threadless. Reed eventually went on to be the CTO for President Barack Obama’s campaign.

Gretchen Rubin

Best-selling author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin shares her insights on happiness and life.

Jermaine Dupri

Jermaine Dupri (JD) is an American Hip Hop recording artist, record producer, songwriter and rapper who has seen technology change the music industry and shared his thoughts with us.

Kara Goldin

Hint Water founder Kara Goldin shared her thoughts with Mixergy’s Andrew Warner on the Tech.Co conference stage.

David Copperfield

You probably know David Copperfield as an illusionist but what you may not realize is that he has been an entrepreneur for years. He spoke here with author, startup founder, investor, and journalist Ben Parr at our annual Celebrate event.

Shradha Agrawal

Shradha Agrawal from Outcome Health shared her journey of bootstrapping to building a billion dollar business.

Tony Hsieh

From Zappos and Delivering Happiness, to building downtown Las Vegas with his Downtown Project, he shared his thoughts. He was an early investor in TechCo.

Melody McCloskey

Melody McCloskey shared how she scaled her business with style from zero to a powerhouse at our 2016 conference.

Dr. Fei Fei Li

We cover the latest technology and innovation trends, and artificial intelligence (AI) is one of them. Here is expert Dr. Fei Fei Li sharing her AI insights.


Justine Ezarik is an American YouTube personality, host, actress and model and she discusses content creation and its evolution with us.

Brian Solis

Brian Solis, a digital analyst, speaker, and author shared his thoughts on the future and the current state of Silicon Valley.

Nolan Bushnell

One of my favorite interviews to date has been with Nolan Bushnell the founder of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese. He hired Steve Jobs at Atari and shared his story.

Alexis Ohanian

What keeps us motivated? Well, we’ve asked the question to many of our entrepreneurs, founders, and thought-leaders in the past, including Reddit founder and D.C. area native Alexis Ohanian who shared his thoughts.

These are just a few thought-leaders that have shared their insights and knowledge. There are countless others, such as Naveen Jain, Mary Lou Jepsen, Garrett CampBrad Feld, David Cohen, Jean Case, Tony Conrad, Robert ScobleRyan Graves, Micah BaldwinJim Bankoff, Kara Swisher, Amy Webb, Jeff Clavier, and more, we’ve captured and shared in TechCo’s extensive video library.

“Time flies like an arrow – but fruit flies like a banana.”

I just want to thank all the supporters, fans, and followers, contributors, sponsors, partners and investors that have helped the TechCo Media team get this far. While we’re happy with what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last decade, we’re excited as we look to continue the TechCo legacy for years to come. My partner in TechCo had this to say today:

“On this special day, it’s incredible to look back at the amazing people we’ve brought together through the years, from the successful entrepreneurs who have shared their knowledge via talks and mentor sessions, to the startups who have come together to learn, grow, and connect. TechCo has shown the world that building a welcoming, inclusive community matters and makes the entire entrepreneurial community stronger.”  –Jen Consalvo

Please share this article with anyone you think might be interested in jumping on board via our social channels or email newsletter or upcoming events like our global Innovate! and Celebrate 2017 conference. We’d love to continue to foster new relationships to help our community get to where they are going. Thank you.

Learn more about how TechCo Media can help get your startup noticed here!

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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