This “Guide to Silicon Valley Startups Events” gives an overview of networking and startup events in Silicon Valley.
Please note the fact that we list an event here does not mean that we endorse it.
These events were selected based on their descriptions, we have not attended every group and cannot vouch for every organizer.
If we have overlooked an event or group you have found valuable please let us know.
Silicon Valley is considered Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Campbell, and Redwood City (Santa Clara County). The Greater San Francisco Bay Area, with lots of startup activity, is San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland (usually about an hour or two away by car). There is little public transportation. Caltrain runs between San Francisco and Mountain View and Uber.
The Golden Triangle is a slice of Silicon Valley flanked by Highways 101, 237, and 880. It incorporates parts of Santa Clara, North San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas. Apple, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Linkedin, and many more are in this triangle. Even companies headquartered in other states have research groups, including Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon, BMW, Capital One, John Deer, and Walmart.
Calendars of Upcoming Events
Good search terms startup, founder, hackers, bootstrap, tech, and any technology terms interest you (for example, js3, LLM, React, etc. – you can be as techie and narrow as you want and still find a group).
Many technical organizations put on events. Most organizations list their events on Meetup, Eventbrite, or both. These below are well-attended technology meetings that don’t necessarily cater to startups but have a heavy technology focus.
A recent search of startup events in Silicon Valley resulted in hundreds of results. Here are some broad categories that I found.
Below, I have grouped them by type of event. I have listed what I know about the group or person organizing the event. It is a work in progress that I will keep updating.
When looking at the events from the above calendars. I look at the organizers and put the events into the following board categories:
- Free or low cost pitch event and pitch competitions
- Networking and mixers
- Programs and courses
In the following sections, I have listed common organizers for the common type of events.
Free or Low Cost Pitch Events and Pitch Competition
These can be insightful if you have never been to one. VCs do attend and they are there to talk to founders. Usually, they have good networking between founders and VCs. Even if you are not pitching you can attend and network with folks.
- Silicon Valley Capital Network organized by Brian Sparkes
- Startup House Pitch Events – Small cost to attend ($5-25), demo tables and pitch (cost)
- Startup World Cup organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures
There are increasingly more high dollar pitch events. Real VCs do not ask you to pay beyond paying for a meal. These events normally attract many oversea attendees and rarely lead to any funding. Before you signup, always do your homework and dig into how many teams they have funded.
Our warning to you is to never pay to pitch. Read SKMurphy’s blog post
Where you can find a list of investors.
- AngelList – well respected
- PitchBook – sells subscriptions, well respected in the industry for 15+ years
- Inc’s Founder Friendly Investors
- Every year Forbes puts out a list of top VCs
- CBInsight’s Top Investors – sells subscriptions, pretty comprehensive
- Scale Upstream
- Investor List – a crowdsource list
Delegation and Professional Expat Groups – Innovation Hubs in Silicon Valley
Almost every region globally has formal or informal delegation groups in Silicon Valley. Some are informal groups of expats that are interested in connecting innovative founders to Silicon Valley. These professional networks know how to bring technology from one region to Silicon Valley and are great expertise to leverage. In general, these innovation hubs aim to build a “two-way bridge” supporting innovation in both ways (going to Silicon Valley and coming back to the region). Typically, there is no fee for the startups. If there is a fee, here are 8 questions you should consider asking before you sign up.
- Innovation Centre Denmark
- Nordic Innovation
- TiE Institute
- Enterprise Ireland
- Australian Technology Center
- Open Austria
- Silicon Valley Italian Hub
- Silicon Valley Turkiye Hub
- The Organization of Pakistani Entrepreneurs
- Czech Invest
- PoliHub Lecco – Innovation Park & Startup Accelerator
- SVLinks – South America emerging countries
- MIT Alumni Club of Northern California
- Harvard Alumni Club of Silicon Valley
- Social and Language Based Groups
Networking and Mixers
Here are a couple of our favorites:
- Bootstrappers Breakfast Roundtable Discussions – while small and organized by us (SKMurphy) these are definitely worth checking out, you get to meet and connect with folks in a more impactful way than most networking events. The Mountain View location is near Caltrain. Over 900 events (5-star rating)
- Lightning Talks on Friday Nights organized by Hacker DoJo, a popular Silicon Valley co-working space
- SJ Kurzgesagt – a fun networking group of Silicon Valley animation and design professionals organized by Dave Nair and Logan Dyer.
- Idea to IPO Networking events – organized by Rob Lau and are well attended and worth going to. They are large events in a bar environment.
- Hana Haus’ Coffee & Connect in Palo Alto
- Friday Night Socials at Draper University
- Startup Oasis, run by Robert Maddox offers programs for finding co-founders and pitching business ideas
One-Off Traveling Roadshows of Pitch Events
- Angel Launch
- Founders Live
- New York Entrepreneurs, Startup & Business Coalition
- Startup Network – Unicorn Battle
- Scaleup Summit organized by Mind the Bridge
Programs and Courses
Usually these are online and have limited networking opportunities. Topics and quality of speaker vary. Some events are volunteer organized and some are for profit. Programs tend to be one off introductions into a given subject area. Courses are on-going for some duration and allow you to dig deeper into the subject material.
Short Programs and Webinars – our favorites
- Lean Culture and Lean Startup Circle Silicon Valley are organized by SKMurphy. They are a 1 hour program structure to allow entrepreneurs to get an introduction to many startup topics. Events are a mix of founder stories, lessons learned and Lean Startup thought leaders like Steve Blank, Eric Ries, Ash Maurya, Rob Fitzpatrick, Etienne Garbugli, and Sean Murphy. (live, online, free to attendees and speakers). Recorded Lean Culture events . Interested in being a Lean Culture speaker
- Startup Founder 101, organized by Founder Institute offers technical and startup topics. See full list
- Startup Grind organized by Rich Foreman. Topics tend to be around funding raising.
- 5by5Startups.com AeraStar Accelerator Academy Webinar Series
- FreeCodeCamp Silicon Valley organized by Carlos Green, offers Santa Clara and SF weekly peer learning for coding
- Startup School organized by Daniel Howard offers mini-courses on startup and marketing topics.
- Scrappy Startup, SF Startup: Idea to IPO, organized by Rob Lau. He runs 160+ meetups under many different names – all with the same content. Generally speakers pay the group to allow them to present. Some events are better than others. Topics tend to be around funding raising. Past events are not available.
- SKMurphy Bootcamps offer interactive guidance and training for market exploration and getting more customers. (fee)
Because we live here, we have not attended any of these. So it is just informed by what I hear.
Silicon Valley is considered Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Campbell, and Redwood City. The Greater Bay Area with lots of startup activity is San Francisco, Berkeley, and Oakland (usually about an hour or two away by car).
- Startup House
- Draper StartupHouse in San Mateo
- Coliving Silicon Valley is considered Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, San Jose, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, Redwood City. Greater Bay Area with lots of startup activity is San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland (usually about an hour or two away by car)
- The HackerHome Network
- Rainbow Mansion
Once, coworking spaces were a source of excellent startup networking – not so much anymore. Mostly, they are desk and office rental spaces with many startups but can offer drop-in networking opportunities.
Some of our favorite Silicon Valley coworking spaces:
- Hacker DoJo (Mountain View)
- Mindrome (Santa Clara)
- Founders Floor (San Jose)
- Hero City at Draper University (San Mateo)
- Spaces San Jose, Santa Clara, Santana Row, Menlo Park
- BootUp Ventures
Bay Area (surrounding area)
- Dynamico Space – Coworking & Office Rental (San Francisco)
- ConnectionsSF (San Francisco)
- Edge and Node (San Francisco)
- NoiseBridge (San Francisco)
- Port Labs (Oakland)
- Circuit Launch (Oakland) – robots and electronic hardware. Talk to Dan O’Mara
- SWAY (Berkeley)
Favorite Coffee Spots
In Silicon Valley, coffee shops are full of people with startup ideas and experiences. Here are some of our favorites:
- Red Rock Coffee
- Voyager Coffee – many locations. San Pedros Marketplace in downtown San Jose is my favorite
- Orchard Valley Coffee
Finding a Conference Room
Silicon Valley Tours
Check out Ympact’s video for a nice overview.
If we have overlooked an event or group you have found valuable please let us know. This list is a work in progress that I will continue to work on.