A Savage Journey to the Heart of the Start Up Dream


461 words

A man walks into a meet-up.

All here for the same thing. All everyone is thinking about. All want to do it with the right person for the right amount of time at the right time.

Networking. God help me. I’m going in.

Room full of start-up founders, innovators and thought leaders.  Constantly, forever, scanning the room to find that special one to network too. Network hard. 

Seed funding. Not money left over from your Aunty’s will but actual stranger cash.

Your very own Angel Investor. An Angel Investor who is ready to open their wallet for the best idea here. Your idea. At a very low rate of equity. Maybe 5%? 2.5%?

Focus. Still standing in the doorway. So many rolled up trousers. Just get a name tag and move on.

The food and drinks station is your home base life buoy. Never look alone when working your way through a plate of spring rolls. Also tells a lot about the room. Pizza Hut and VB’s? Let’s downgrade expectations. Waiters? Bank details ready.

Step two. Get to that investor group. Avoid people like yourself. Harsh,  but come on. You already know a bunch of you. TIme to know them.

The food and drinks station is your worst enemy. Three drinks in double time. What madman decided things on sticks were a good idea for sweaty hands and unfocused eyes. Where is a bin? Do you put the sticks next to the food? Thank god for pot plants. Pants become wearable napkins.

Twenty minutes and have talked to one person about what’s inside the curry puffs. Zero hustle.

Pretty sure people are talking about me now. Keep catching eyes as beer four appears in hand. 

Their ideas aren’t better than mine. 

Their ideas are better than mine. 

Seconds become years.

Relief. A speaker has started. Time to nod, refocus. Must be a Richmond supporter somewhere here. Warm up with family/ weekend/ sports/ weather talk.

No. He’s thrown it open to the floor. Thought this was a fireside chat? No. It’s an interactive pitch? Open floor? Shark tank gladiatorial forum? Discuss and critique?

The door is 30 steps away. Five steps into my escape the room turns as one.

So pitch happened. It’s a blur. Pulled out a NDA with a super weird laugh, asked if everyone had a pen to complete silence, muttered something about Uber and then casually jogged out of the room with a football reference. 

Excellent.

One dirty burger hate meal on the way home later I review. Not the worst meet-up performance which makes it even worse. 

Never again.

But then………. a phone is checked, a reminder sent, and a tentative is sent. Maybe this time it will be different?

Damn you LinkedIn. Damn you to hell.