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).