Ron Schmelzer runs a software company in Baltimore called Bizelo, but he’s known better there for his monthly demo event TechBreakfast, which he’s growing into a tidy local tech empire.
From a startup pitch meeting in Baltimore to versions in nearby Columbia and then D.C., now Schmelzer, 38, who says standard fare tech meetups in the mid-Atlantic need better cross-city connections, is launching Philly TechBreakfast during Philly Tech Week.
If you’re interested in pitching at TechBreakfast, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP for the inaugural Philly TechBreakfast here.
“While there are unique tech communities throughout the ‘lower Acela corridor,’ there’s actually quite a bit of fluidity in movement of people, money and technology throughout this region,” said Schmelzer, who adds he was seeing Philly startups express interest in demoing in Baltimore, like CoupedOut and Mind Me Mobile.
"Strong tech ecosystems provide many opportunities for random collisions that result in continued momentum and growth,”"
To be sure, Philly is silly with events for tech startups to pitch their products — the annual Entrepreneur Expo from Philly Startup Leaders, Philly Tech Meetup, regular sessions at incubators like Venturef0rth and Seed Philly, tech niche sessions like the EdTech Meetup — but Schmelzer says he takes a different look at the conversation.
“Events are simply opportunities for individuals to meet and learn from each other, and one thing I’ve learned is that strong tech ecosystems provide many such opportunities and options for the random collisions that result in continued momentum and growth,” said Schmelzer, noting he wants to include demos from academics and large companies. “TechBreakfast offers a few things to add to the existing mix of events in Philly: a morning demo-style event that showcases not just software startup activity, but tech innovation from a broad range of sectors such as IT, biotech, energy, robotics, and aerospace.”
Schmelzer is partnering with Drexel, the team behind CoupedOut, including Ross Staszak, Enterprise Law Associates partner Gary Smith and lead sponsor DLA Piper.
If you had a software startup and a profitable event series, where would your focus be? Schmelzer notes the balance can be tricky.
“TechBreakfast is definitely becoming a business of its own, but it’s still something I’m doing on the side while Bizelo takes up most of my time. If it continues to grow as it’s going, however, I might have to rethink things!-30-