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Why I Love Startup Grind

We are just days away from the first Startup Grind event in Montreal. It is another startup event in a city that already has many, including a startup festival. (If you are new to Montreal’s startup community, take a look at LP and Fred’s articles.) But Startup Grind isn’t just another startup event; it’s an opportunity to take our community to the next level.

Ahead of Thursday’s get together, I wanted to take a moment to explain why I’m so excited about Startup Grind and why you should be as well. (Good on you if you’re already excited. If you aren’t, then read on, get pumped, and go get yourself a ticket.)

I first attended Startup Grind while working in Silicon Valley. Of the many events taking place every night, Startup Grind caught my attention. There was no shortage of opportunities to talk about startups in San Francisco but the approach taken by Startup Grind stood out in the crowd.

The use of the word ‘grind’ in the name gave me the sense that this wasn’t going to be another event where we just celebrate the success story of a startup. While we absolutely should celebrate the success of our peers, there are so many more stories that need to be told about the startup world. Running a startup is about hard work, dealing with setbacks, long days, and longer nights. Contrary to the rosy picture of startups that you see on TV, there is no such thing as overnight success. It truly is a grind.

Jessica Livingston was the speaker at my first Startup Grind event. She wasn’t there to tell me and everyone else how to get into YC. Instead, she spoke about the struggles entrepreneurs face, the struggles she faced and her story. This may be a less sexy topic than getting into YC but it is incredibly important. Startup Grind has an unwavering commitment to educating entrepreneurs about the challenges they will face on their journey and the ways they can be overcome.

By talking about these bumps in the road, Startup Grind created a true sense of community among the people in attendance. I wasn’t approached with yet-another-founder-pitching at the event, which invariably happens at startup networking sessions. People cared more about what I was struggling and how I felt then where I worked. They offered mutual support as opposed to their products. Sharing was important to them, giving had more values. I quickly learned that you didn’t come to Startup Grind events to make contacts, but to make friends. Everyone took these values to heart. The community was truly passionate about the journey and not the result.

Having been impressed by my Californian Startup Grind experience, I then attended one of their events in Toronto and was pleased to find the same communal vibe. Startup Grind has codified its values, gone to great lengths to promote them with posters at events, and truly transcended the Silicon Bubble.

Now these values are coming to Montreal.

I’ve been thinking about bringing an event like Startup Grind to Montreal ever since that first night in San Francisco with Jessica Livingston. I didn’t want another demo day or pitch event. The more I thought about it, I didn’t just want to create an event like Startup Grind in Montreal; I wanted to bring Startup Grind to Montreal. So, for the uninitiated, here’s what you should expect: no scripted presentations, just an intimate and authentic interview with a founder and plenty of people who are with you on the complicated journey to success.