How to Get Funding, Drive Traffic, and Find Your Next Big Hire

February 28, 2014

2:07 pm

I am saddened to say that today is my last as a full-time employee at Tech Cocktail.  I am a firm believer in the “follow your gut” philosophy, and my gut is pulling me in a new direction.

For some time I’ve considered what I’d want my parting words to be.  If I could grab the startup world by the shoulders, shake it, and say only one thing, what would that be?

After much thought, it’s this:


Over the past two years, I’ve felt like a broken record encouraging entrepreneurs to showcase at their local Tech Cocktail Mixer.  Regardless of all the incentives I could provide them…”A feature on, a table at the event, the chance to be known as your city’s Hottest Showcasing Startup…”, I was often  met with the unmistakable look of, “yeah, but what’s the catch?”  Of course I would protest- there is no catch.  The event is free to you and your team.  Just show up and let the magic happen.

But life is all about context.  Tech Cocktail’s director of marketing pitching anything to do with Tech Cocktail is a bit like listening to a BMW salesmen talk to you about cars.  I get it.

But tomorrow, the checks will be coming from elsewhere (more specifically, nowhere).  My best advice to entrepreneurs will continue to be:


But what do I know?  

To better convince you that showcasing a Tech Cocktail event is a game changer, I asked a few of the entrepreneurs who have done just this to share a couple sentences on their experience.  The below is merely a sample.  Other startups who’ve received funding either directly or indirectly from a Tech Cocktail event include: GrubHubEdmodo, GameSalad, Foodspotting, Mindsnacks, and many, many more.

Startups, feel free to throw your success stories in the comments of this post as well. 

How to Get Funding, Drive Traffic, and Find Your Next Big Hire

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Homesnap won “Most Innovative” at Tech Cocktail’s big SXSW event. Not 30 minutes later, we saw Steve Case heading our way from across the room, saying in a big voice “Homesnap…got to find out what all the buzz is about.”  Fast forward to today — Steve Case and his Revolution Ventures are now our largest investors.

Guy Wolcott, CEO at Homesnap

Showcasing (and winning!) at TechCocktail San Francisco was hugely beneficial to our company’s success. It helped us gain visibility and credibility with investors and helped us secure $150K in additional funding. Winning the startup competition at TechCocktail helped us turn warm leads into funding – investors saw the energy we had on stage and the excitement from attendees about what we were building and knew they needed to jump on board the SweatGuru train!

Jamie Walker, founder at SweatGuru

As a result of winning Tech Cocktail’s “Boise’s Hottest Tech Start Up” and the story being featured on their website, my website went from an average of 15 hits per day to over 20,000 overnight!

Juan Murdoch, founder at SmartPJs

We have had great success thanks to an TC event that we participated in last year. We were part of the hottest tech start up showcase in LA. Being a San Diego based company, with little press or recognition, we never considered ourselves contenders, but just were honored to be a part of the event and share our company with the LA tech scene. The event was awesome and connected us to an entirely new network of investors, media and cool folks not to mention a handful of customers (brides to be).

– Rob Farrow, cofounder at Aisle Planner

Speek attended the Tech Cocktail event in DC last year.  I was desperately trying to hire a nice “swiss army knife” web developer to our team.  I had had no luck via the traditional job boards, my network other other channels for talent.  Sure enough I happened to meet a fantastic developer, ended up hiring him, and he still works for Speek today!

– Danny Boice, CTO and co-founder at Speek

Showcasing at Tech Cocktail Celebrate was fantastic for TenderCaring. We were named one of the 5 Hottest Startups in America and immediately received investor inquiries.

– Nicole Sanchez, founder at TenderCaring

Winning Tech Cocktail’s Celebrate event meant we can call ourselves ‘The Hottest Startup in the Nation’. That’s especially cool since we work in an industry that’s traditionally considered anything but ‘hot’. For our customers in the broker world, we think it’s valuable to be able to be seen as a hot up-and-coming startup. We have Tech Cocktail to thank for that. Plus, several attendees of the Celebrate and local Boston event became trusted partners and even customers of ours, including Influence & Co, who are a key partner for our content marketing strategy.

– Sara Hopson, marketing manager at Maxwell Health

Techcocktail put us on the map within 2 weeks of launch by inviting us to be showcase at their Chicago event. It got us connected to customers, investors and advocates for our work; which was amazing at the time.

Aksh Gupta, founder at

My team showcased our startup at the Las Vegas event just a few weeks ago. It was a great event- we made many connections. We are relatively new to Las Vegas, only 3 months. We made many new friends that will become an important part of our business.

Elyse Petersen, founder and CEO at Tealet

 Seriously, apply to showcase at your local event today

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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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