I am one of the co-founders and the main organiser of Pitch and Mix in Cambridge, a networking meet-up that attracts a varied and interesting crowd of high tech professionals, employees and entrepreneurs from Cambridge and surrounding areas.
Started in February 2010 Pitch and Mix gained immediately a good reputation for being a very interesting meeting where people are actively asked to introduce themselves, pitch for their own projects or ideas and mix with likeminded people.
As we appreciate everybody is busy we organised a simple and straightforward agenda that we try to follow literally and, most of the time, we manage to follow it.
Here is the agenda for the event:
- 8:45-9:15 free networking (Clowns Cafe opens at 8 o’clock so people can arrive earlier if they want)
- 9:15-9:20 welcome – introduction for attendees and updates
- 9:20-9:40 pitching – You can introduce yourself, your project, a burning topic, whatever you like. Everyone in the room can make a 30 second pitch and state who they are and what they do
- We allow 6 x 3 minutes pitches: just ask the chair on the day, first come, first served
- 9:40-10:00 Moderated Discussion about business
- 10:00 – wrap up and conclusions – followed by free networking, discussion groups and follow up on conversations…
If you are interested in joining us please join the meetup group, register for one of the forthcoming events and come along!
A bit of history (updated on 4 Sep 2013)
Back in 2009 I joined Open Coffee Cambridge and used to visit it quite regularly; as the name suggests Open Coffee is an open meeting where everybody can join in, buy their coffee and chat to various attendees. Open Coffee’s basic concept is to connect start-ups with potential investors for the mutual benefits. It probably works well in London where there are many of both but in our little city, within very few weeks investors stopped coming for lack of interesting opportunities while people involved in start-ups tended to turn up once or twice and disappear because of lack of investors. In this ecosystem we started to meet an interesting group of more regular attendees that were looking for an interesting networking opportunity and kept coming back. Among these Mauro Ciaccio, Jeremy Parsons and myself felt that something ought to change and we were prepared to take responsibility for it.
In our opinion three main problems were typical of Open Coffee:
- wrong time of the day, 10am to 12 noon that doesn’t allow to get anything done
- lack of agenda with precise beginning and end so that people would turn up at any time between 10 and noon and join a chat, often without a precise purpose
- no formal introductions so people that are at ease with working the room were fine but the more introvert ones found it a bit daunting
As we did not want to change Open Coffee, Mauro Jeremy and I decided to stop running it and formulated a new format and name to create Pitch and Mix and becoming the organisers:
- earlier start to allow even employees to join us and still go to work at a decent time
- a simple but strict-ish agenda that starts and finish on time
- a simple, formal and systematic introduction of all members so everybody knows who is in the room
After about one full year of activity Mauro got busy with his business, slowed down his attendance and by the beginning of the second year and a year later stepped down as organiser and stopped attending altogether. More recently Jeremy Parsons moved away from Cambridge to pursue another career challenge and I found myself as sole organiser of Pitch and Mix but I immediately found some great help. As I am writing this Pitch and Mix is experiencing one of the best period of its existence: since very early this year most meetings have average attendance in the high teens to mid twenties and we often fill up completely our venue.