Derek Anderson
Blog

Startup Grind Journey

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Derek Andersen is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Grind, a community of over 600 Chapters in 120 countries designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Derek has vast experience in entrepreneurship and was present at Etohum San Francisco conference, where he shared his views and journey on entrepreneurship.

Derek is the co-founder and CEO of Bevy, a SaaS (Software as a Service) product that helps companies build community in real life. Bevy powers event communities for Salesforce, Atlassian, Asana, Duolingo, and others. Derek co-founded Startup Grind, a community of over 600 Chapters in 120 countries designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Currently, since 2012 Startup Grind has hosted 7,000 events for more than 250,000 people.

While working on Startup Grind, After 6 months Derek got just 4 people to attend one of the Startup Grind events, after which he said to himself “what a huge waste of time, this is going to fail just like the other things failing”, but then he sat in his car and decided that he needed to be focused on his startup, he decided to keep going, all indicators pointed to him quitting, but he decided to give it one more shot.

6 weeks later he had a huge turnout to the event in his office, he had to illegally get access to an unused office space and rented seats, he contacted a guest speaker who planned to just walk in and walk out of the event because he “did not have time”, there was good feedback after the event, after which they did the event again and again, the team realized they could not keep on using a space illegally.

During one of the events, a guy walked into the venue and picked about 9 slices of pizza and walked out, Derek then thought of the event as more of a “startup homeless shelter”, rather than a “startup community”, from that moment, Derek decided to start charging people to attend Startup Grind, and if nobody comes back, that’s just fine.

This changed their trajectory but 60% of people came back for the next event and they paid, this eliminated the “startup losers” and made sure the highest quality of people came back as the 60%, they got people that were actually contributing to the ecosystem. On an occasion, a guy approached Derek and asked that he be allowed to take Startup Grind to Los Angeles, irrespective of the guy not appearing to be the best fit for the brand, Derek gave him a chance and it was surprisingly successful in Los Angeles.

Startup Grind aims at reaching out to the 400 million entrepreneurs in the world, currently helping a few of them. In may, Startup Grind had 100 female entrepreneurs speaking at 100 different cities in 30 days, no one else in the world is able to do this. In one occasion, Derek saw Instagram posts of a Startup Grind event in Babel, Iran, but they had not approved any chapter or event in Babel, so they had to contact the convener before he used the brand again.

─ April 21, 2019