Mountain View Voice

News - April 27, 2012

'Startup Village' sets up downtown

Event aims to attract entrepreneurs, job seekers, interested techies

by Nick Veronin

Anyone with a startup, an idea for one, or the desire to one day think up the next great app or social media platform, should stop by downtown Mountain View on Wednesday, May 2.

Alain Raynaud, founder of The Startup Conference — a touring high-tech trade forum — is encouraging anyone with even the slightest interest in the world of startups to come to the Center for the Performing Arts from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on May 2.

The main event — a daylong series of talks and open-panel discussions with entrepreneurs from around the world — is sold out. It will be held the same day inside the Center for the Performing Arts. However, just outside the conference, Raynaud is optimistic about the "Startup Village."

"It's kind of like an art and wine festival, but for tech," he said. The village, which is free and open to all, will feature 40 tech startups from all over the country and overseas showing off their products in the "demo pit."

Raynaud, who moved from Paris to Palo Alto in the 1990s to get a piece of the first technology bubble, said the companies have come to the event from Texas, New York, Europe and Asia to gain publicity, attract capital and search for talent.

"Mountain View is one of the best cities for high tech in the whole world," he said, noting the two other cities where he has held the event — Los Angeles and Seattle — are also hubs of technological innovation. Mountain View is home to Google, LinkedIn, Evernote, EyeFi and Y Combinator.

"If you live here in Silicon Valley you are going to catch the bug at some point," he said.

He figures that companies exhibiting at the Startup Village, as well as the 1,000 or so who have registered for the event, are maximizing the chance of running into someone that can help them start a company. Journalists from Wired and TechCrunch have said they plan on checking out the Village.

"Everybody believes they have the next big company," he said. "My mission is to push people to get started."

Events such as this have been known to get big companies off the ground. Twitter really caught fire at the tech conference South By Southwest in Austin, Texas, Raynaud said. He acknowledged that the Startup Conference is nowhere near the size of that festival. All the same, three years ago, at the first Startup Conference in Mountain View, he met Ben Silberman, founder of the then-unknown Pinterest — a social network site that has recently exploded in popularity.

Startup Village is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2, at Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Free. Information at thestartupconference.com.

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