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Eastside Incubator Message Board › Eastside Incubator 2013

Eastside Incubator 2013

Matt D.
Bellevue, WA

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Ei Members,


Since we started the Eastside Incubator in October 2011, I have learned a ton and met some incredible startup talent. I think, and hope, that many of the members of the community have similarly benefited from this adventure.


Although there has been some incredible progress over the last 15 months, I think we are leaving some opportunity on the table. For the last three months, I have served as the Managing Director for the Microsoft Accelerator powered by TechStars, and I have been absolutely stunned by the rate of progress of the 10 startups in the accelerator.


These teams are focused and hungry. They are pushed by the mentors and they push each other to become stronger every day. I want to bring more of that intensity to the Eastside Incubator, and I intend to experiment with different ways to make that happen.

Although this is a baby step, I am proposing a new monthly membership fee of $5 to $10 per month. Over the last couple of weeks, a couple of folks have suggested that charging $5/meetup is wrong, and that meetups should be free. I fundamentally disagree with this perspective. Things that have value should be paid for, and people who do not believe that there is value in a community should not participate. I always encourage startups to charge for their offering early, because they figure out who the ideal customer is and learn what they need and whether there is opportunity to provide value. I think it is time for me to follow this advice.

A couple of (really smart) members have questioned whether charging $5/meetup is fair to the community. First, if I was making a profit, that is not wrong - all startups must make a profit or they will eventually fail. Second, to be clear, I am failing in the profit department - I have invested about $10,000 of my own money in this community. I do not regret this investment...I think it has been the best investment I have ever made. I am not in this for the short-term profit, but to connect with and help the most talented entrepreneurs on the Eastside (and beyond). Eventually, I hope to profit alongside some incredible entrepreneurs, but today my focus is on helping startups get started and get profitable, and I hope you will join me in this quest.

Please help me understand your perspective. If you think that it is worth $10/month to be part of this community and get five killer meetups each month (CEO series, CTO series, Design series, Marketing series, Legal series), place your vote (and credit card) here:

If we get 100 of the 500 current Ei members to opt-in to a $10/month fee, then we will set $10/month as the monthly fee. I think this will have a very positive effect of removing the marginally invested members from the community. The meetups would be smaller, but they would have a greater concentration of serious entrepreneurs committed to making this community awesome.

If you think that this approach is wrong, I want to hear that as well. If you think that the price should be $5/month, $5/meetup, or free, please send me an email. Some of these models do not seem to work in the long term (e.g., free does not seem viable by itself, and sponsors do not want to sponsor marginally committed communities). But, as with any good startup, I am looking for feedback from you all as to how this makes the most sense.

I look forward to working with you to make Eastside Incubator something that you and I will be proud of in the coming years.


Ps-Interested in the Microsoft Accelerator? Apply at­.
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