Saturday, May 5, 2007

The Hatchery

I am always on the look out for new events in New York City targeted at enabling entrepreneurs, and had the good fortune of meeting Andrea Madho at a recent Red Herring event. If you ever see her at an event, be sure to flag her down. Not only is she great and had me laughing the entire event, but she is one well connected lady in the nyc entrepreneur scene. If you're a new entrepreneur in nyc, I'll guarantee that she is worth your time.

When she informed me of an upcoming event by a division of her company (Gigapixel Creative), The Hatchery, it sounded too fun to resist. The event, appropriately named "The Gauntlet" is all about having entrepreneurs pitch their early stage companies to a panel of judges.

Hosted at a Columbia Business School class room, the Gauntel had its inaugural meeting last Thursday, and featured 5 entrepreneurs with companies in different stages of development (one was the proverbial slide deck, another had already landed a Fortune 2000 client). I would tell you more, but the audience had to sign NDAs, so I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say or not. ;) The 7 panelists, however, I think are fair game. And much like the entrepreneurs, they varied in range:

There was Amy Goldsmith, an Intellectual property attorney, who was sure to pepper the entrepreneurs with patent questions.

There was "dot com guru" Sanford Dickert, who faithfully brought the audience (and entrepreneurs) up to speed on Web 2.0 happenings.

There was Andrea Madho, who graciously lobbed softballs in between incisive questions.

And of course, a handful of VC / Angel types, who could be counted on for asking the hard questions, one after another after another after another.

If any of this sounds like a good time to you (and the NDA made you curious...), come to the next Gauntlet on June 6th. It is going to be an All Women Panel (how great is that idea?) and I'll be throwing my hat in the ring as a panelist.


Charlie said...

Monthly meetings.

You must bring the signed NDA for entry.

Yeah, that pretty much makes me not want to go. We never signed NDAs at USV and if you're an entrepreneur that thinks you're the only one that has a smart idea and that your idea is what your advantage is, then we pretty much didn't want to talk to you. I'd much rather talk to people who can't wait to tell everyone what their idea is and has the confidence that they can execute better than anyone else. Too bad, sounds like an interesting group, but I don't like being muzzled at the door.

Andrea Madho said...

Charlie -
It was on the advice of counsel (and for one entrepreneur in particular) that a blanket NDA policy was instituted for Hatchery’s first Gauntlet event. We felt that for germinating ideas a minimum level of proprietary protection was needed. While every person/company who approaches the Hatchery should file basic copyright and patent applications, some don’t. In light of several media inquiries we are in the process of reevaluating this procedure for future events.

The Gauntlet is a semi-public vetting venue for both nascent and developing companies to get unbiased feedback and support from a diverse group of business experts including Angels/VCs. Entrepreneurs frequently approach us wondering how to obtain strategic services and/or financing for their company and after a few questions I realize that they have no idea what is involved. Their ‘revolutionary’ business to make millions on the web is often a half-baked idea. We’ve already heard from several audience members who felt that the Gauntlet provided a reality check about their efforts and has refocused them in the process.

The better we are at guiding entrepreneurs toward sustained success, the more we all benefit.
-Andrea Madho
Chief Rainmaker
Gigapixel Creative and the Hatchery