Business model · Marketing Strategy

Creative ideas to drive traffic and monetization

Roger Rappoport Partner, Procopio

July 3rd, 2016

I have a nights and weekends passion project, Access Silicon Valley, the mission of which is to provide startup entrepreneurs access to Silicon Valley’s (i) hottest VC’s, (ii) “been there, done that” entrepreneurs, and (iii) experts, on topics relevant to startup entrepreneurs. For example, we have most recently hosted Ann Miura-Ko, cofounder of Floodgate Ventures (one of the most sought after early stage funds), Steve Goldberg, VC at Venrock, and have upcoming Scott Kupor (managing partner and COO of Andreessen Horowitz, probably the Valley’s hottest fund currently), and Saeed Amidi (founder and CEO of Plug and Play, CEO of Amidizi Ventures and named Silicon Valley’s hottest matchmaker by Inc. magazine).

The first question for the community relates to traffic: We host the events in Silicon Valley, where we typically have 200-300+ entrepreneurs in the audience, and live stream the events to about 35 or so cities nationally and internationally (outside of Silicon Valley).  My goal is to have 100 plus cities within the next year or so. There is so much incredibly useful information that is shared with entrepreneurs by these masterminds, and I really want to spread the word and create a global community of startup entrepreneurs that can have access to, and benefit from, the Silicon Valley ecosystem and become a part of the mindshare!  

We have done Facebook ads and engaged the usual social media suspects (we currently have about 10K members in the community), but I wondered if anyone had any creative ideas to drive traffic to the website and the live and streaming events? Should the strategies be the same to drive traffic to the live events and the cities where we are streaming the events, or are they different strategies? Are there any companies or organizations that I should be thinking about partnering with on this?

The second question relates to monetization: Currently we charge for tickets to the live event and, for the next couple of events, I am testing a $3 charge for the livestreamed events to certain cities (primarily to offset the cost of the videographer and streaming costs, among a host of others). Folks have given different advice as to whether or not to charge for the livestream to cities outside of the Valley, and I would be very interested and grateful for any advice, tips or thoughts in this regard (and any tips in general related to monetizing the concept).


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Sherman Sall Founder at Startency

July 3rd, 2016

Hey Roger. Sounds like a good venture. My best advice would be to enlist the Entrepreneurial MeetUp communities and get locals to advance the agenda by "hosting" local events that would be based on taking part in the hopefully two way videostream. I'm a bit active in Israel, I've been around London, Berlin and Zurich meetups, which have alot of active members and organizers. This is I think the best strategy with almost 0 cost of acquisition.

Kashif Pirzada Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, Adjunct at McMaster University

July 3rd, 2016

Echoing Sherman above, I would try to enlist someone associated with the local meetups.  Each of the big startup hubs have a few, like TechToronto ( is the main one here, Communitech in Waterloo.  I'm sure London and Berlin have those too.  

Have you considered making a collection of the webinars and wrapping them into a course on a platform like Udemy?   That way someone can a) pay you b) get access to all that wisdom all at once.  

Iftekhar Inan Customer Success Manager at Pagewiz

July 4th, 2016

I have no experience of working with such event, never been to silicon Valley, know very little about the startup culture there. Yet I would like to offer you some ideas since you mentioned 'creative' :).

1. Localization of contents- it's a great tool for rapid expansion, which people often ignore. You mentioned 100 cities, right? I assume English is not the only language people speak in these 100 cities. Localization of live streaming would be difficult, but you can easily translate recorded sessions into other languages such as Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi etc. One of the major factors behind the rapid growth of Uber, Tinder and Khan Academy is localization.

2. May be you can start a public Slack channel or use existing Slack channels where entrepreneurs and wantapreneurs gather, such as Launch Chat.

3. Identify and track startups. In fact, you can hire someone who will find out new startups from all corners of the world everyday and find out the founders (it's pretty easy to find out the email of the founder/s of a new startup- usually they mention it on their website). These people- the founders are more likely to pay for your events than Facebook audience. Now where will you find them? Betalist is a great place to find out startups at beta stage. Here's a long list of startup directories here you can find early startups. Also, check FoundedX to find local startups.

4. Always keep the contact information (Name, Email, Phone etc.) of the people attending (on premise or remotely) your events. It is always more profitable to have returning customers than hunting down new customers every time. I believe you already do this and have a list. If so, send them valuable contents through email newsletters regularly. Make sure they are not going to forget you after attending one event. Don't be pushy though. Send them 'valuable' content.

I don't have any specific idea about your monetization policy yet. I think your current policy is quite okay. Let me know what you think about the growth ideas I suggested. Thanks.

Nancy Koors Growth Catalyst & Business Builder

July 4th, 2016

Roger - Have you tried to partner with the various Accelerators around the world? Accelerators are constantly bringing in the type of talent and experience that you have access to as they are trying to educate and provide exposure to their companies. I would think they would be motivated to participate to give their residents access to this talent. According to various sources, there are over 300 accelerators in the US alone and each

Nick Buzzell Entrepreneur + Multi Platform Media Creator, Producer & Distributor + Global Business Leader + Agent Of Change

July 3rd, 2016

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Sidney Sclar SID the SECURITY PRO at

July 3rd, 2016

Life experiences. There mabe more than one right answer to your question.  But there may be one best plan to make money. What works at a live event may have different feedback and results from a webinar.  What is your opinion on beta testing?

Roger Rappoport Partner, Procopio

July 3rd, 2016

Thanks for the answers. Sydney, definitely open to beta testing, and AB testing, and have done some of both.

Sherman, I do ,market through local meetup groups in Silicon Valley, across the US and internationally. See "communities" (its a partial listing, as I haven't included Sao Paulo, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Hyderabad that just launched) under about us on the Access Silicon Valley website. Difficult to find folks that want to put in the effort, and the time change in the various cities makes it a challenge to have folks host an event that we are streaming live to. We find that folks are generally good with staying up late or getting up early to participate, but probably wouldn't want to do that and go to a specified location to view the event locally. We also make the streaming link available after the event to accommodate those that don't want to stay up/get up to participate live.

Roger Rappoport Partner, Procopio

July 4th, 2016

Iftekhar, great point about localization; something we've definitely thought about but haven't quite figured out the logistics. Any online solutions that you would recommend? Great suggestion about a Slack channel, and will give that some thought. Am actually testing out a client's app that will allow Access Silicon Valley members to communicate with other members in their city and with others on a global basis. 

Nancy, great idea about accelerators. We do provide some accelerators access, but that is typically from inbound requests. An outbound marketing campaign could  be a great idea. As to the number of incubators/accelerators, it seems as though there are 300 just in Silicon Valley!!

Kelly Kuhn-Wallace Tech startup consultant, founder coach.

July 5th, 2016

The folks behind Startup Weekend might be a good connection for you. They have amazed me re: building the event in cities where startup culture is in its infancy. 

Elise Krentzel

July 5th, 2016

I'd take a more segmented approach to build traffic funnels. If you can find out the demographics of these entrepreneurs rather than lumping them into one group, you can create online communities that feed into the live events or webinars. Let's say female entrepreneurs aged 25 - 35 (millennials) or market specific, : Enterprise software, CPG, IoT...etc. may be more work for your marketing team (unless you outsource to someone like me) and could provide more exact results over the longer haul.