Connecting startups

By Nicole Klimek

I was on a phone call with Food Co-op Initiative’s Quick Start group of startups last night and I left the call feeling mostly excited and renewed. . . but also a little frustrated. There seems to be a huge disconnect between the startups and the support organizations they work with. When they can find them. And when they’re able to help. Isn’t there a way to connect all these startups - over 100! - across the nation and give them information in an organized, easy to maneuver way?

So naturally, my hand went into hyperdrive and my desk filled with yellow post it notes, trying to brainstorm some ways to connect startups quicker and more efficiently. Social media? Facebook page? Slack? What could be used that’s free? How could they converse while sharing documents, ideas, etc? After a few hours of odd looks from my kids and hand cramps from Google searches, I think I have a good list of tools startups can use to engage with each other and quickly get the support they need.

  1. Loomio - I love this platform! It’s cooperatively run and can be used to make actual decisions! We started to use it at seven roots and so far it’s a hit!

Loomio dashboard

Loomio dashboard

2. Slack - since slack was created as a tool to be used internally, it’s really good for teams that are within the same org. I like it because it’s user friendly and very visual - a must for this designer! The one thing that I’m not crazy about is the lack of linkability to websites and other platforms. I’m sure that will change over time!

3. Basecamp - I am so biased here! I love Basecamp! It’s a unique, very fun and stimulating platform that you can use as a team or with clients. It IS more team focused so it has some limitations as a multi-org collaboration tool. I’d still give it a try though, it’s amazing!

4. Others! There are so many great platforms out there; Asana, Redbooth, Trello, Monday, etc. I suggest getting together with your own group and trying a few so you can first see how it works internally. You may want multiple platforms even!

How to use them

It can be super daunting to try a bunch of platforms but I swear, once you figure out how to best use the chosen one, you’ll be so happy you did it!

  1. Invite all the startups in your region

  2. Invite all the support orgs you can

  3. Task people to make connections

  4. Gather lists of what content startups need

  5. Start gathering what’s on the lists

  6. Post it! Share it! Chat about it!

I’m sure we can collaborate more and make it part of our daily routine if we just found a common platform that can be used by all startups and someone to organize the launch. If you can think of anyone who would be good at organizing something like this - ask them! seven roots will provide all the content we can!