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  • New Year, New Logo, New Ideas

    New Year, New Logo, New Ideas

    Welcome to 2014! 

    As you know, Holden Bonwit and I came up with the idea for TechSparks in early 2013. It was an idea, which turned into more ideas. Since launching in May, we've tried a lot of different things and tried to figure out who we are as an organization and what role we play in the community. While we're still a fledging startup group, here are some things we discovered about TechSparks in 2013:

    1. TechSparks is about ideas. 

    The core component of our events has become the TechSparks Fast Pitch, a casual 30-second elevator pitch contest where entrepreneurs can present their ideas, products or companies. All participants must be under 10K users and $10K in annual revenue. We've attracted some really interesting seed stage ideas in a diverse range of industries and different stages of development. At our events, we allow the attendees to vote on their favorite pitch. Winning is great, but it's not everything. There is one little perk though, since the winner gets a meeting with a local Pasadena influencer to get feedback on their ideas. The awesome thing about Pasadena is that we have so many accomplished tech veterans. In 2013, our winners scored meetings with Tom McGovern, Managing Director of New Ventures at Idealab, Andy Wilson, CEO of Rexter and Co-Chair of Innovate Pasadena, and Beau Laskey, Partner at SVB Capital. The meetings are to get advice, find resources and connect with the Pasadena community. We want to create more opportunities for entrepreneurs to share their ideas and get feedback in a safe forum and hope to expand on what we've started in 2014. 

    2. TechSparks is about entrepreneurship. 

    In our year-end survey, we found that about 50% of our attendees are entrepreneurs starting or running their own businesses and another 50% were people thinking about starting their own businesses. TechSparks is a place to learn about entrepreneurship and get the ball rolling. This year, we hope to connect you to resources that can help you, which is why we've decided to expand our partnership with CoFoundersLab in 2014. 

    3. TechSparks is about experimentation. 

    Since our first event in May 2013, we've changed at least one major thing at each of our monthly events. We tried different formats of pitches, changed up the room format, and run special promotions to attract specific crowds (interns, college students, etc.). It may have been confusing, but we also found it really fun. As entrepreneurs, we're always looking to test ideas and see if they work. TechSparks, because it was started by a bunch of entrepreneurs, has turned into an amplified version of that. We'll continue to change things as we go. To see what works, how we can make it better, where we should head next. The first thing we've changed in 2014 is our logo color! We thought we'd mix it up and make it a blue year. 

    I think 2014 is going to be another year of big ideas! Stay tuned...

    Jennifer Chang

    TechSparks Steering Commitee