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Startup Row Tour – Recap and Acknowledgements

This urgent campaign to produce first ever live events leading up to PyCon for Startup Row was assembled with only three weeks of lead time starting in February. We held five events in five different North American cities during a span of three weeks in March. Our efforts resulted in the strongest class of Startup Row honorees in this fourth year of Startup Row at PyCon. We know that in twelve months the world will recognize the special spark our judges saw in our 2014 PyCon Montreal Startup Row honorees.

Companies presented their concepts and teams live before panels comprised of judges well versed in evaluating startups and founders. Five companies were selected during these pitch events held in locations throughout North America and Startup Row judges selected the balance of our Startup Row honorees by reviewing web applications submitted at the PyCon Montréal website. This first ever Startup Row Tour allowed us to create bonds stronger than ever within the community and to create early excitement with potential investors and partners about our participating companies ahead of PyCon.

Let us walk one more time in the steps of this ambitious project.

  • Seattle: First event of the tour was held on Feb. 11th in collaboration with Seattle Tech Meetup at the Cornish Playhouse located in Seattle Center. Over 300 attendees attended to hear about 5 Python companies. Seattle Tech Meetup PyCon Night brought together the Seattle Python coding community with the greater startup community for a first ever event in this US startup capital. The median venture capital raised by the presenting companies was $13m. Big Door, EnergySavvy, Rover.com, Logos, and Offerup presented.
    Big thank you for the founders and organizers of Seattle Tech Meetup Brett Greene and Red Russak for allowing PyCon Startup Row to take over and make it a Python night in February. Also special thanks to Carter Rabasa, the founder of DevLocal, for connecting PyCon Startup Row with Brett and Red.
  • San Francisco: hosted by Twitter on Feb. 19th, approximately a hundred attendees joined us and five companies presented. Alex Wilhelm of Tech Crunch and Robert Scoble of Rackspace joined us on the judging panel. Informion, founded by Avilay Parekh and Ritwik Tewari, veterans of Azure at Microsoft, drove all the way from Seattle to present. Robert Scoble opened the event with an interview of Lively cofounder David Glickman. Lively is a connected device company using Python to connect seniors not plugged into online social media with dispersed extended family all over the world.
    Kind recognition for Robert Scoble and Alex Wilhelm for supporting a community event like PyCon Startup Row's Night Twitter HQ. Special thank you to Sylvain Carle and Jeff Sandquist of Twitter for their support.
  • Chicago: hosted by Braintree at their downtown Chicago headquarters. In addition to traditional startups like Project Fixup and Procured presenting, PyCon Startup Row invited women and minority entrepreneurs to come and pitch to the local Python user group ChiPy for development resources to build a MVP and participate in Startup Row. Included in the panel was Mike Vasquez, Ph.D., a leading sports and technology expert and advisor on London's new Tech City initiative, Chris Molnar a former publisher of an alternative newspaper and currently the CTO of Pear, Brian Ray the founder and organizer of ChiPy, and Braintree's own Stephanie Bell.
    Warm thank you to Adam Forsyth, a principal engineer at Braintree, for his support in arranging this event and his sturdy support for the Python community in Chicago over the years.
  • Vancouver: Hosted by Facebook in their new Canadian office, the Feb. 26th event attracted 85 attendees who watched 5 companies compete for a spot on Startup Row. David Asher from Mozilla and Charlyne Fothergill from GrowLab.ca formed the judging panel.
    Kind appreciation to Andy McKey and Bryan Chow of the VanPyz meetup and Tavis Rudd from the Vancouver Polyglot meeting for allowing us to change the scope of their monthly meeting on a very short notice.
  • Montréal: hosted in collaboration with Mtl New Tech, March 4th had the busiest schedule of all: 12 companies presented, half competing for Startup Row and half competing for the Montréal International Startup Festival. The judging panel was composed of Phil Telio from the International Startup Festival, Gabriel Sundaram from Real Ventures, Guillaume de Tilly-Dion from SDEVM, Sean Brownlee from RHO Ventures, and Daniel Drouet from FounderFuel. A total of 145 persons attendent this event.
    We warmly acknowledge the effort of Heri Rakotomalala from the Mtl New Tech meetup to push this final event much beyond our expectations.

Overall, almost half of the companies were selected during the Startup Row tour. For PyCon Montreal 2015, we'd love to have more events distributed around North America and beyond. Here's an open call to contact Don Sheu at don.sheu@threemice.net with offers of partnership and help for and even more impressive PyCon Startup Row next year.

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