The Silicon Valley Startup Guide

The Meetups, VCs, Accelerators, Events, and Key Places You Need to Know About

As one of the major epicenters of innovation, technology, and high growth startups, Silicon Valley is an ideal location for founders and entrepreneurs to launch new ventures.

Whether your startup is in the earliest ideation phase or cruising towards a minimum viable product (MVP), getting involved in the many resources that the San Francisco and Silicon Valley area have to offer tech-focused startups is extremely valuable. Since San Francisco and Silicon Valley are at the center of the tech world, there is an overload of opportunities and information surrounding key resources for founders and entrepreneurs to take advantage of.

To make it easier to navigate the landscape of helpful events, networking opportunities, meetups, coworking spaces, accelerators, VCs, and more, we've put together a list of everything founders and entrepreneurs looking to grow their tech startups in the Bay Area need to know about.

Dive in for an overview of each resource, and how it helps tech startups hit their stride.

The Meetups

The Meetups

In a world where your startup's success can be boosted by an introduction from the right person, it’s crucial for founders to meet people. There’s no shortage of meetups in San Francisco, including networking forums exclusively for bootstrappers, UX experts, young professionals, and everything in between. The connections that founders forge at these meetup events lead to new startup partnerships, hiring the right talent, and meeting investors. To help you find the right kind of events, we’ve curated a list of the leading San Francisco meetups for tech startups.
  • 106 Miles

    This Palo Alto meetup is for founders, startup employees, and professionals in the startup industry. Two meetups per month, on Wednesdays, rotate between locations in Sunnyvale and San Francisco. These meetups are socially focused, and generally held in a restaurant setting. The group centers around startup entrepreneurs and engineers (and friends) coming together to meet each other, exchange ideas, and generally network.

  • Hackers/Founders

    This global network of 200,000 entrepreneurs offers meetups in 128 cities worldwide, along with classes, talks, and an accelerator program. In the greater San Francisco and Silicon Valley area, H/F meetups are held at least twice monthly. Event attendees include founders, along with developers, UX stars, and business growth experts. Meetups are generally held at restaurants, coffee shops, and bars; and occasionally offer a focus on a certain industry or topic.

  • Igniters

    Igniters is a Stanford-sponsored event series focused on topics relevant to startups. The events are presented by legendary entrepreneurs and subject matter experts, and are typically held once per month. Past events have included: a session on design with successful founder Luke Wroblewski, a focus on leadership with executive Cynthia Johnson, and a team-building session with Stanford professor Lindred Greer.

  • BootStrapper's Breakfast

    Since 2006, this monthly breakfast meetup has been a dedicated space for early-stage founders who “eat problems for breakfast.” Local meetups are held in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. With a stated goal of helping serious tech bootstrappers, “compare notes on operational, development, and business issues with peers.” The meetups are usually networking-focused and often include a featured attendee sharing their success story.

  • Silicon Valley NewTech

    This popular meetup offers a space for entrepreneurs, investors, and journalists to view the latest in “hot new technologies” with a demo session. The event takes place once a month, with the first hour dedicated to viewing a selected tech startup's product/service, and the second hour, networking. To demo your startup's product/service/solution, contact the meetup coordinators to find out if your company might be a fit.

  • Silicon Valley Young Professionals

    Sponsored by the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, this meetup is dedicated to professionals of all industries between the ages of 21-45. Their mission is to provide programming for education, non-profit outreach, and networking. With meetings held approximately once per month, the schedule of events rotates between mixers dedicated to networking and fundraising events for local non-profits.

  • SF and Silicon Valley Web Performance Group

    Founders, CTOs, and developers are the primary target for this meetup focused on user experience, website metrics, and other performance topics. Meetings are held several times per year, generally in the Palo Alto area. Most sessions include a featured guest sharing expertise on mobile UX or performance topics, though the group also sponsors at least one social meetup per year.

  • Girls In Tech (San Francisco)

    This “social network enterprise” is dedicated to empowering and engaging young women in tech through education and empowerment. By providing a platform for successful, influential women in technology, the group has a mission of facilitating collaboration and growth opportunities that boost women in technology. Meetups are held several times per week, at various locations, and can include everything from a panel discussion on career goals with well-known tech pros to a casual coworking and networking sessions.

The VCs

The VCs

Despite significant changes in the venture capital field in recent years, there are an estimated 798 VC firms in the U.S. alone. In one year, these firms raise more than $28 billion to fund fledgling startups from seed to later stage. Within Silicon Valley, VC firms vary in associates — from a team of one to teams of more than 100 employees. While some VC firms invest broadly, others are exclusively focused on technology. This list of VC firms is by no means a comprehensive overview of all investors in the San Francisco area. However, we’ve included a few of the top venture capital funds with a track record of significant tech investment.

  • Accel

    This early and growth-stage VC firm focuses on some of the most promising technology companies in a variety of industries, including social media, software, big data, and security. Investments are made globally, and include seed, early stage, and later stage. Since 1983, their record includes 30 IPOs and 197 acquisitions. With a team of 78 VCs, some notable Accel-backed organizations include Facebook, Dropbox, Slack, MyFitnessPal, and Atlassian.

  • Sequoia Capital

    Since 1972, Sequoia Capital has focused on global investment in energy, financial, enterprise, healthcare, internet, and mobile startup organizations, including seed, early-stage, and later-stage. Their website states that their investments carry a “public market value of over $1.4 trillion,” and their record includes 67 IPOs and 197 acquisitions. Their team is currently over 100 strong. Sequoia-backed firms include Google, GitHub, HubSpot, PayPal, and Stripe.

  • Greylock Partners

    Since 1965, Greylock has backed U.S.-based tech entrepreneurs at all startup stages, from seed to later stage investment. Their focus is on “disruptive, market-transforming” software for enterprises and consumers. With 43 team members, their team is relatively small, but their track record is impressive with 28 IPOs and 132 acquisitions. Greylock-backed organizations include Medium, Airbnb, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pandora.

  • First Round Capital

    First Round is a seed-stage venture firm, with a typical investment range of $1-3 million. Primary areas of focus include advertising, eCommerce, and mobile and the San Francisco and New York markets, though there are exceptions. First Round Capital has a record of 4 IPOs and 85 acquisitions, and has backed Blue Apron, ModCloth, TaskRabbit, Warby Parker, and others.

  • Founder's Fund

    Founded in 2005, Founder’s Fund manages some $2 billion in aggregate capital. Their investments are varied, and include 5 IPOs and 39 acquisitions in software, biotechnology, and high-tech industries. In addition to all stages investment in the United States, Founder’s Fund also offers private equity, debt financing, and grant investment services. Backed organizations include Spotify, AirBnB, Facebook, Lyft, and Asana.

  • a16z (Andreessen Horowitz)

    Since 2009, this VC firm has invested in U.S.-based software and mobile startups. a16z is a “stage-agnostic” venture capital firm that manages $2.7 billion, and has a stated preference for “social business” and cutting-edge technology organizations. With 94 affiliates, a16z has 6 IPOs and 60 Acquisitions. Backed organizations include Buzzfeed, Facebook, Foursquare, Groupon, and Imgur.

  • Innovation Endeavors

    This early-stage venture capital firm has a presence in Silicon Valley and Tel-Aviv, and is solely backed by the chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt's, parent company Alphabet. Their focus is on technology startups with the potential to transform large industries. Founded in 2010, the firm has nine acquisitions to date. Companies backed by Innovation Endeavors include Uber, datorama, and Lumo.

  • Khosla Ventures

    Since 2004, Khosla has acted as an all-stages VC firm for U.S.-based startups, with a particular focus on environmentally-friendly technology. Other areas of investment to date include mobile, silicon tech, Internet, and computing. Khosla’s track record to date includes nine IPOs and 49 acquisitions. Their portfolio includes Cellscape, Datera, EcoMotors, Square, and Kaggle.

  • LightSpeed Ventures

    LightSpeed Ventures invests on a global scale, with primary areas of focus in Asia, China, India, Israel, and the United States. Since 2000, their team of over 30 associates has managed $3.72 billion in funds and invested in startups in consumer, enterprise, technology, and clean tech industries. With 14 IPOs to date, LightSpeed has backed Snap (Snapchat), Nutanix, Natera, Grubhub, and Blue Nile.

  • Redpoint

    With $3.96 billion in funds, Redpoint Ventures has been in all stages of investment since 1999. With 34 affiliates, their focus is on China and the United States. They operate in a wide variety of tech industries; including big data, consumer, enterprise software, the cloud, mobile, and other emerging tech. Their investments include 17 IPOs and 88 acquisitions. Redpoint has backed Twilio, iDreamsky, Zendesk, and MySpace.

  • Besssemer

    Founded in 1911, Bessemer has over $3.2 billion invested in 130 companies around the globe, with a current portfolio that includes the Americas, Asia-Pacific, India, Europe, and Africa. Their primary areas of focus include all-stage investment in consumer, enterprise, and startup technology. With 33 IPOs and 121 Acquisitions, Bessemer has backed Pinterest, Periscope, Wix, BlueApron, and Box.

  • Benchmark

    Founded in 1995, Benchmark Capital has over $1.5 billion invested in 253 U.S.-based companies. Focusing exclusively on early-stage investments, Benchmark’s industries of interest are mobile, marketplaces, social, infrastructure, and enterprise software. With 26 IPOs to date, Benchmark’s team of 13 affiliates are based in San Francisco and Woodside, California. Benchmark is responsible for backing Snap, Marin, Zipcar, Instagram, Proofpoint, and many others.

  • Lowercase Capital

    With $33.5 million in capital, Lowercase is an all-stages firm that was founded in 2007. This small firm, with a team of three, takes an exclusive focus on curated web, advertising, and eCommerce startups. Their backing record includes two IPOs and 24 acquisitions, including Twilio, Twitter, Instagram, and Formspring.

  • Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

    Commonly referred to as “KCPB,” "KP," or "Kleiner," this all-stages firm was founded in 1972 in the Silicon Valley area. With assets of $2.68 billion, KCPB invests in clean technology, biotechnology, and mobility in the US. Their record includes 46 IPOs and 131 acquisitions, including Amazon, AOL, Compaq, Sun Microsystems, and more recently, Snap.

  • Baseline Ventures

    Founded in 2006, Baseline Ventures (BV) primarily does seed and growth-stage investment in software, mobile, and curated web startups. Their stated goal is to “address the gap” between individual investors and “institutional” VC firms. With undisclosed funds and a history of 35 acquisitions, their investments have included Instagram, Parakey, Instructables, and OMGPop.

While we've curated many of the best-known VC firms with a particular focus on the San Francisco area, we recommend Forbes' annual Midas list for a comprehensive overview. This round-up includes the top 100 VC firms measured by a number of parameters, including first-day market capitalization of IPOs and expert opinion.

The Events

The Events

There’s no shortage of ways to consume information and learn skills today. However, the value of a live event hasn’t diminished. Events offer founders a unique opportunity to make in-person connections, network, and learn. Workshops, demo competitions, classes, and conferences offer the unique ability to make game-changing connections while boosting the skills you need to scale your startup. There are often several dozen tech and entrepreneur-focused events in the greater San Francisco area each day, we’ve curated a few that offer particular value to tech founders.

  • Startup Grind

    Described as a “global community for entrepreneurs,” Startup Grind has a presence in 85 countries worldwide. The San Francisco chapter meets once per month, with twice-yearly parties and expert speakers. With stated objectives of helping to “educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs,” Startup Grind’s events are focused primarily on providing a platform for successful tech entrepreneurs to share growth stories. Prior speakers at local events have included Brian Johnson of digital payments platform Braintree, Phil Libin of Evernote, and Venture Capitalist Jason Lemkin.

  • Tech in Motion

    Tech in Motion is a “free national tech event series” with local chapters in both San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Their goal is to bring together local “technologists,” which include everyone from founders to developers to CTOs. Their monthly San Francisco events are a mixture of detailed technology discussions, expert panels, and networking. Recent sessions have varied, but have included a presentation on a programming language from three subject matter experts, and one pure networking session (complete with color-coded name tags to help founders find tech experts looking to be hired).

  • SVSIAN

    The Silicon Valley Startup Incubation and Acceleration Network (SVSIAN) is a non-profit for founders dedicated to networking, workshops, coaching, and mentoring. Entrepreneurs are invited to join the group to develop skills, network, and find partners for their growing startups. With several events per week, recent calendar activities have included a lunch with investor Gary Jinks and a presentation on viral growth with Branch founder Mada Seghete.

  • Zurb Soapbox

    Held at Zurb’s company headquarters in Campbell, Soapbox is a monthly events series for founders and UX professionals to learn from some of the most influential minds in design. Events are free, include lunch, and provide an opportunity to ask questions and network with locals. Previous presentations have featured Rand FIshkin of Moz, Design Head Amanda Linden of Asana, and Tina Chen of Slack design.

  • General Assembly Events

    A global organization committed to helping fight the tech talent shortage, GA provides “education and career transformation” for technology professionals and founders. Their San Francisco events include intensive coursework and shorter workshops. With multiple events per day, founders can attend anything from a potluck for design professionals to an introductory session on product management. There is even an entrepreneur-lead session on AI.

  • RocketSpace Events

    RocketSpace’s events are held at its San Francisco tech campus. With at least one event per week, recent topics have included low-budget social advertising, startup taxes, founder productivity, and more. Many of RocketSpace's events are limited to their closed community of high-growth tech startup campus members, though there are events open to the public. Some of the events and presentations hosted at RocketSpace have included well-known startup figures Ron Conway, Slack CMO Bill Macaitis, and Trulia co-founder Pete Flint. For tech campus members, there are ongoing networking opportunities like Bagel Mondays and Power Hour, in addition to weekly workshops and events.

  • Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs

    Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs (SVE) describes themselves as the “largest grassroots movement” for founders and developers. Since 2007, the organization has focused on providing opportunities for pitch events, co-founder match events, panel discussions, and networking mixers. In addition to monthly “tea talks” featuring founders like Duncan Logan of RocketSpace, tech entrepreneurs can apply to demo, pitch, or judge at their pitch events.

  • SF New Tech

    As one of the longest-running and largest communities of tech professionals in San Francisco, SF New Tech includes a mixture of entrepreneurs, corporate employees, students, and enthusiasts. Events are held less than once per month, and include a range of topical discussions, demo nights, and classes. Events include everything from panels on FinTech to a self-defense workshops.

  • LAUNCH Festival

    As the “world’s largest startup event,” this once-yearly conference is held in April in San Francisco. With over 10,000 attendees, the four-part conference includes a main festival for founders, a two-day event on startup scaling, and a day of insights from VCs and investors on getting funded. The agenda also includes “speed dating” for entrepreneurs and investors, and a highly-selective bootcamp “university” for 25 entrepreneurs. Speakers in 2017 have included James Heller of Wrapify, Josh Elman of Greylock Partners, and Patrick Collison of Stripe

  • TechCrunch Disrupt

    Held four times per year around the world, the San Francisco iteration of TechCrunch Disrupt occurs in September. With thousands of attendees, the conference is dedicated to “introducing game-changing technologies” and a platform for innovators to share insight into trends. In addition to on-stage interviews, attendees can expect a 24-hour hackathon, a startup competition on-stage, and plenty of parties. 2017 speakers include Marc Benioff of Salesforce, Russian investor Yuri Milner, and Alphabet board member Diane Greene.

  • VLab

    This Silicon Valley non-profit organization is the local branch of the MIT Enterprise forum. Its mission is to connect entrepreneurs with experts, VCs, investors, and top engineering talent. With a community of over 25,000 contacts, their panel and networking events are the largest of their kind in the area.

    Tickets to each monthly event are made available online. In general, the events are usually highly specific to a certain area of tech; such as a recent presentation on immunotherapy startups. Past VLab events have included executives from Tesla Motors, Google, Cloudera, and LinkedIn, as well as VCs from firms like Sequoia, Mayfield, USVP, and New Enterprise Associates.

  • Silicon Valley Forum

    Founded in 1984, Silicon Valley Forum (SVF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping founders "learn how to build a business the Silicon Valley Way." Per their definition, this means technology innovation that can disrupt the future.

    With approximately 100 events each year and 15,000 active members, event attendees can network with other entrepreneurs and gain access to SVF's Fortune 500 partners and leading VC firms

    Annual events and conferences sponsored by SVF include tech conferences, pitch nights, quarterly topical series on verticals like FinTech or Agtech, and events exclusively for women in technology. Recent speakers have included VC Rashmi Gopinath of Microsoft Ventures and AgTech expert Mark Young, the CTO of Climate Corporation. While attendance at some of the conferences can cost thousands and tickets notoriously sell out quickly, founders on a budget may be able to unlock reduced or free attendance fees in exchange for volunteering.

Early-stage Startup Accelerators

Early-stage Startup Accelerators

Accelerator programs are a tool for rapid-growth companies, often offering holistic advisory services. While the distinction between accelerators and incubators can be blurred, accelerators are generally understood as a tool for helping startups grow beyond a well-defined idea into a rapid growth phase.

Early-stage startup accelerators are generally a home for companies working to build a minimum viable product and refine their product-market fit.

The number of early-stage accelerators and incubators in San Francisco and Silicon Valley has drastically expanded over the last twenty years. The following list is curated with particular attention to the most selective early-stage accelerators.

  • 500 Startups

    This global seed fund and accelerator was founded in 2010 by “super angel investor” Dave McClure and Christine Tsai, formerly of Google. With approximately $200 million in managed assets, their accelerator has invested in 1,400 companies. In San Francisco, their four programs per year have a stated emphasis on teaching startups marketing, customer acquisition, design, UX, and metrics. Alumni of the program include Circle of Moms, DataHero, Wrapp, and Boostable.

  • Techstars

    With over 1,000 alumni to date, Techstars is a global network of 17 “mentor-driven” accelerator programs. Tech startups are judged based upon the viability of their early-stage startup, and in exchange for acceptance into the program, startups must give up 6 percent in equity. The mentoring network of Techstars includes Dharmesh Shah and David Karp, and is considered one of its greatest benefits. Additional program benefits include lifetime network access, $120,000 in funding, “over $1 million in perks,” and the three-month accelerator program. Alumni include Uber, Spothero, and Localytics.

  • BootUp

    Described as “not your typical three-month accelerator,” BootUp includes several options, including vertical accelerators by industries, a customized two-year accelerator, and a general three-month accelerator program. Their website states that accepted applicants have “already gained some traction,” but will receive help with funding, growth hacking, design, sales, and launch. Alumni include Hopon, Sesame-Enable, and Radiator Labs.

  • Y Combinator

    Founded in 2005, this seed accelerator has been named one of the world’s top options for early stage companies by FastCompany, Fortune, and other industry publications and experts. Twice each year, $120,000 is invested into a small number of startups. During their three-month program, companies are guided through rigorous coaching or “office hours,” and participate in a demo day in exchange for 7 percent equity. Alumni include Dropbox, Airbnb, and Stripe.

  • Alchemist Accelerator

    Alchemist candidates are startups whose revenue comes from “enterprises,” as opposed to B2C tech products. Accepted applicants attend a six-month program, gain $36,00 in funding, are partnered with mentors, and provided with a “structured path” to fundraising. Startups in this accelerator spend the first half of the program in “1:1 meetings” with potential enterprise customers and VCs. Alumni include Telligent Data, SalesIntel, and Crysp.

  • UpWest Labs

    UpWest is a seed fund and early stage accelerator with the sole mission of connecting Israel’s startup talent with US-based funding opportunities. The four-month, on-site program brings Israeli entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley for seed funding opportunities and “intensive” immersion in resources for rapid deployment. Alumni include Senexx, Groovideo, and preen.me.

  • AngelPad

    With two 10-week courses each year, AngelPad is a seed-stage investment fund and self-described “incubator.” With an acceptance rate of less than 2 percent and acceptance funding of $100,000, the program consists of intensive immersion into brainstorming, mentoring relationships, and preparation for fundraising. With 17 acquisitions to date, alumni include Hopscotch, Rollcall, and SourceNinja.

  • Hackers/Founders

    This co-op accelerator has a stated mission of making “founders lives suck 34 percent less.” In actuality, this global network of 200,000 entrepreneurs has $400 million in funds, and a personalized approach to their Silicon Valley program. With an 80 percent success rate among alumni, members are provided with access to mentors and experts as well. Alumni include Hiku, eTips, and Access.

  • Founder Institute

    The Founder Institute is the world’s premier idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program. Through a challenging and rigorous curriculum, it provides early-stage and aspiring entrepreneurs with the structure, training, mentor support, and global network needed to start an enduring company. Many leaders of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used our program to transition from employee to entrepreneur, test their startup ideas, build a team, get their first customers, raise funding, and more.

Startup Accelerators for Scaleups

Startup Accelerators for Scaleups

Once a startup completes a demo day and graduates from their early stage accelerator, what next? They’re now a “scaleup,” or a growth-stage startup. With funding, their challenge is to expand market access, grow revenue, and wisely increase their staffing. They may also use their funds to add value, with an end goal of acquisition or IPO.

Despite the prevalence of early-stage accelerators, founders need help during the scaling stage. Scaling too quickly is among the leading causes of failure in the startup world. For organizations who have completed a demo day, there are a few options for later-stage accelerators in the San Francisco area.

  • RocketSpace's Global Industry-focused Accelerators

    Since 2011, RocketSpace has operated as a first-of-its-kind accelerator to help tech entrepreneurs, startups, and corporate innovation professionals collaborate on bringing the future to market. With zero equity requirements, successful applicants gain access to programming, consulting, events, and offices. Access is also provided to RocketSpace’s corporate clients including Royal Bank of Scotland, Schneider Electric, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, and many others. Active industry accelerators include verticals for food & ag, logistics, and mobility tech. Alumni include Uber, Spotify, and Practice Fusion.

  • Terra Accelerator

    Launched in early 2016, Terra is RocketSpace's accelerator for “food & ag” technology, founded by Rabobank. Developed in partnership with RocketSpace's global tech ecosystem and startup network, Terra was created in part to increase collaboration between startups and corporations. This 16 week, zero equity requirement program is held at RocketSpace’s San Francisco campus. After completing an eight-week curriculum with industry experts, members participate in an eight-week product validation phase.

The Key Places

The Key Places

If you're a veteran of the startup scene in Silicon Valley/San Francisco, you’ve probably heard of some of the key places. Some are exclusive clubs for a very select handful of entrepreneurs. Others are coworking spaces. Additionally, there are a few that fit somewhere in-between private club and coworking space. However, the truly need-to-know spaces and places are set apart by their notable alumni list and commitment to keeping their communities exclusive.

For example, RocketSpace was an early home for HootSuite, Uber, and Spotify. Founder’s Den alum include SocialCam and Docker. In many cases, the right environment and community can provide critical networking, education, and mentoring to startups with enormous promise.

  • BootUP

    BootUP is a startup community based around a coworking space, which is owned and sponsored by a venture capital firm of the same name. Though their target members are founders and employees of startups, membership requirements are not made available online and include “early stage to well-established” organizations.

    Alumni and members of this organization include Rundeck, Findo, PNC, and Magisto. Pricing begins at $349 monthly for a flex desk to $1,999 or more for dedicated office space. In addition to flexible coworking space options, members receive access to amenities, conference room space, discounted services, and events.

  • Founder's Den

    This club and coworking space is reserved for “experienced entrepreneurs and their friends.” With a selective approach to “curating” their community, the opportunity to join is made available only by invitation and with a recommendation from a Founder’s Den member. Their membership includes entrepreneurs from startups and companies of all sizes, including entrepreneurs between projects. Limitations for full teams joining include a maximum of eight people and a membership term of just six months.

    Notable alumni of Founder’s Den include Kaggle, Coin, BetterDoctor, and Andy OS. Pricing for Founder’s Den desks and offices is not made publicly available, though the company states it is “competitive.” Amenities include conference space, beverages, and events held approximately once per month.

  • RocketSpace

    RocketSpace is a tech campus for scaleups and high-growth startups, offering a specialized kind of coworking environment. Our community members are seed to Series C funded, building new or proprietary technologies, and have an MVP with users or paying customers. Membership is open to application, and community members are carefully selected to meet criteria.

    Notable RocketSpace alumni include 18 "unicorns," such as Spotify, Uber, and HootSuite. While there's diversity in our membership, rapid growth is a common goal. With a unique business model, RocketSpace provides a coworking environment of like-minded entrepreneurs, access to specialized experts, high-value networking, and seminars.

    RocketSpace's community members aren't just sharing space — they're joining a community dedicated to providing key opportunities and enabling growth. Additional membership benefits include administrative support, extensive amenities, a prime location in downtown San Francisco, and financial flexibility for growing firms. Pricing starts around $300 per month, with workspace options from flexible desks you can drop into any weekday, to multi-tenant office suites.

  • Cuckoo's Nest Club

    One of the most exclusive clubs in Silicon Valley, Cuckoo’s Nest offers 1,200 members "the ultimate indoor/outdoor dining, drinking, and special events venue.” With a target membership of “disruptive” tech entrepreneurs, their membership includes notable individuals such as investor Mark Cuban and venture capitalist Tim Draper.

    Membership to this exclusive club is by invitation only, and membership is carefully controlled for a diversity of demographic factors. Costs are in the several thousands of dollars per year, though members under 30 receive a significant annual discount.

  • Startup Embassy

    Startup Embassy provides a “soft landing” for international entrepreneurs who are new to the area. It’s a community where members live and work during a period of transition - which can range from a vacation from their home country to reestablishing their startup in the Silicon Valley area. Membership requirements include being international, as well as having a startup that is currently being worked on.

    While little information is available on former residents known as “ambassadors,” the organization notes that some have been accepted into prestigious accelerator programs, received funding, or experienced other successes. Rates for residence at Startup Embassy are affordable, and according to their presence on Airbnb, may start at $50 per night for shared rooms. While Startup Embassy does provide some support to community members, their website emphasizes that they are not a program, incubator, or accelerator. Weekly events include barbecues, roundtables, and workshops.

Legal Counsel

Hiring a specialist attorney should be near the top of every tech startup founder’s to-do list. The right lawyer can help you avoid risks and early mistakes when it comes to three crucial areas:

  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Customers and the General Public
  • Employees and Founder Relationships

Even more valuable, Harvard Business Review notes, "A lawyer on the early team can contribute by asking the right questions at the right times [and] providing perspective on crucial transactions.”

While few startups can afford to add a full-time attorney to the team, many San Francisco area attorneys have relatively affordable hourly rates. They may allow founders to purchase services on an hourly basis, and provide critical support in incorporating, hiring, contract negotiation, raising capital, and obtaining patents.

  • Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

    Founded in 1961, WSGR is among the best-known names in tech startup law. This firm takes an “interdisciplinary” approach to helping founders, which includes “deep expertise” in patents, benefits, fund formation, mergers, and many other important topics. WSGR has extensive experience working with startups and venture capital, and serves technical clients in biotech, fintech, software, medical technology, and other fields.

    Founders may be drawn to this firm based on their stellar tech record of success stories. Notable former and current clients of WSGR include Amazon, Google, Autodesk, Square, Box, and Flipboard. Recently, the firm provided representation to LinkedIn during their acquisition by Microsoft. Their website notes that they are currently serving 300 public and 3,000 private organizations. WSGR may accept equity in their clients’ organizations in exchange for deferred payment.

  • DLA Piper

    With over 80 offices in more than 40 countries worldwide, DLA Piper is among the biggest global names in law. Their practices are varied, but include “The Nest,” an area of services dedicated to helping founders of high-growth startups “access the best in emerging growth legal services and advice.” Their structured approach to startup law includes four stages, ranging from incorporation and intellectual property protection to funding and IPO.

    Founders may appreciate DLA’s specific expertise in tech startups and commitment to making legal matters as easy as possible for entrepreneurs. Recently, DLA announced a partnership with Shoobx to provide a SaaS-based platform for real-time collaboration with their startup partners. Former clients have included StackIQ and Rocket Fuel. The cost of "The Nest" may include a 35-50 percent discount on DLA’s regular services rate.

  • Jamae Immigration Law Group

    Jamae is a relatively narrow practice, with the sole purpose of providing expertise in “immigration law for startups and investors.” Their goal is to help founders succeed by filling critical talent vacancies with foreign workers. Through a global network of partnerships, Jamae is a resource for clients in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe.

    Jamae’s client list includes Andreessen Horowitz, import.io, memebox, Chute, crowdmix, and other notable names in the tech startup space. They may provide invaluable assistance to founders who need to secure sponsorship for foreign talent. While specifics on firm pricing is not made public by Jamae, they may offer flexible options tailored to the needs of startups.

Good Reads

Good Reads

The world’s most effective founders are committed to continual education. In fact, many notable entrepreneur legends are committed to reading on a daily basis. Richard Branson of Virgin plows through an impressive list of both fiction and nonfiction each year.

While few founders can make the time to read Steinbeck for pleasure (like Branson) keeping on top of startup-relevant insights and news is crucial. There are a number of web publications that can keep you informed on launches, VC insights, and entrepreneur strategies. We’ve listed a few of our favorites below.

  • LAUNCH Ticker

    Offering a promise of “curated tech in less than 10 minutes a day,” LAUNCH Ticker sends twice-daily emails with “need to know” tech news summarized into 300 character blurbs. While receipt of the email is free, additional access to weekend news begins at $10 per month and can easily be scaled to meet the needs of a growing team.

    While the target audience is largely San Francisco-area entrepreneurs and founders, members of this email list can expect insight into the world of tech. Recent topics have included cyber security risks, Adidas’ new app, and Samsung’s acquisition of Harman Industries.

  • Pitchbook News

    Pitchbook is a technology company who creates a database for research across “the entire private investment lifecycle” by investors and VCs. The brand also offers a news website and email subscription to breaking news on VC, private investment, and merger and acquisition topics.

    While the target audience is largely investors and VCs, founders focused on finance may also find value in their content. News includes regular updates on completed fundings, original research, and profiles of successful entrepreneurs.

  • StartupDigest.com

    This media organization publishes location-specific, curated email newsletters on startups and events in 300 cities worldwide. With a target audience of founders, curated content includes updates on local educational events and other resources. You’re likely to find this an invaluable resource if you’re looking for the right networking opportunities. Your preferences can also be tailored to include news stories on industries and topics, such as NextGen, Retail, or FinTech.

  • StrictlyVC

    StrictlyVC is a personal project of Connie Loizos, who you may know as the Silicon Valley editor-in-chief of TechCrunch. The website includes once-daily roundups of top news, including daily fundings, jobs, and major IPOs. The roundups rarely exceed 2,000 words, and can serve as a comprehensive overview of the startup world for founders, VCs, and other startup enthusiasts. The content is also available as an email subscription.

  • TechCrunch

    One of the world’s premier resources for tech news, TechCrunch’s focus is on hot startups, new tech products, and other tech news. You can expect updates on Bitcoin, virtual reality, SXSW, and other relevant topics. On TechCrunch you can also find Crunchbase, a database of entrepreneurs, startups, investors, and organizations that serve the startup space; the site offers a job board, events, and real-time "unicorn leader board" of the hottest emerging startups. Despite their focus on Silicon Valley innovation, TechCrunch has a dedicated, massive audience of global technology enthusiasts.

  • Venture Beat

    This San Francisco-based media organization provides comprehensive coverage of American tech news. Readers can expect breaking coverage of funding and other startup news, as well as long-form insight into global tech trends and original interviews with experts. Their audience includes innovation and startup enthusiasts around the world, but may be most tailored to the interests of Silicon Valley and San Francisco founders.

  • A VC

    A VC is the personal blog of Fred Wilson, a New York-based venture capitalist. Self-described as “my sandbox, my therapist, and more,” the content is infused with Wilson’s startup knowledge from his career as a VC, which spans more than three decades. It’s certainly worth subscription for founders and investors. While Wilson doesn’t blog often, recent topics have included in-depth insights into funding, startup success stories, and thoughts on diversity topics.

  • Ben Horowitz

    This is the personal blog of NY Times bestselling author and legendary VC, Ben Horowitz. Horowitz blogs occasionally, but creates a podcast on a near-weekly basis featuring topical discussions of everything from pivoting your startup to digital culture, with a rotating cast of well-known entrepreneur and tech expert guests. The content is original and mind-opening for founders and other tech professionals, who can also find high-value advice and topical tech news written by other AH associates on the same website.

So Many Tech Resources, So Little Time

So Many Tech Resources, So Little Time

Learning how to navigate the busy event schedule in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco area can help founders make the connections they need to turn their unicorn idea into a seed-funded startup. Networking events, and coworking space on the right tech campus, can help you meet co-founders, mentors, and skilled developers with some serious passion. Educational events can give you the knowledge you need to seriously improve the quality of your MVP, while practice demos can help you perfect your ability to win the hearts of VCs and investors when you're ready to get funded.

By understanding the full range of options available to founders in San Francisco, you can filter through the noise and excessive information to use every minute of your time to its full advantage. Whether you're in need of some insight on startup digital marketing or craving connection with other entrepreneurs, there's definitely the right opportunity for you to gain the roots you need to grow your business.

RocketSpace offers a unique global network of tech campuses in San Francisco, and soon in London, China, and Australia. RocketSpace's unique tech campus coworking spaces provide velocity for the world's top tech startups who are bringing the future to market. With a collaborative community, trend talks, and industry partnerships, RocketSpace's list of alumni include Kit (acquired by Shopify in 2016), HootSuite, and Universe (acquired by Ticketmaster in 2016).

Find out if your startup is a strong candidate for this closed community. Request a campus tour.