One of the challenges entrepreneurs can face in the midst of starting up a venture is finding potential collaborators with whom they can network. Meetup.com helps address this problem by providing a convenient and free way for people to find and join affinity groups, including broad and highly focused technology groups. Started in New York City shortly after 9/11, Meetup.com offers an online platform that allows users to search for, browse, join, and participate in affinity groups.
One of the largest such groups in the Chicago area is the Chicago Interactive Design and Development (CIDD) group, with over 1900 members. A recent meetup at 1871 featured the President of Restaurant.com, Chris Krohn, who discussed the interplay between Marketing and IT/Development teams. Organized by Judy Wunderlich, founder of staffing firm Wunderland, this Meetup group offers not only the opportunity to meet other technology professionals but to also explore employment opportunities in the Chicago tech space.
But Meetup groups are not only for technology. There are Meetup groups for location-based networking, industry groups, singles, hobbyists, and a myriad of cultural and common interest groups. Some of the Meetups groups are easy to join, many require a simple application process. Some of the meetings are free to attend, some have a small fee ($10 with light snacks provided is common), and most are what you make of them in your efforts to arrive early determined to make and develop contacts.
For more information, visit www.meetup.com.