Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Andi Gillentine Talks about Launching Startup Grind Austin

Andi Gillentine Talks about Launching Startup Grind Austin

Where are you from originally?

 This is never easy for me to answer. I was born outside of Chicago, but I barely remember it. My family moved frequently thanks to the Air Force. I went to 13 schools before I graduated from high school. I spent time in Texas, Colorado, Illinois (twice), Michigan, Ohio (twice) and Alabama. I have been living in Texas for the last 17 years.

What university did you go to?

I attended Bryn Mawr College, outside of Philadelphia for undergrad and went to the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston for graduate school.

What brought you to Austin?

My first job out of graduate school was in Austin and my husband and I loved it.

So we found him a job here as well.

What is your group’s mission?

Startup Grind in a community of founders, entrepreneurs, and wantrapreneurs looking to be inspired, educated, and network with the smartest startup minds. You can learn more and see past interviews at startupgrind.com

 What need does it fulfill?

 Startup Grind provides support and help startup founders and early employees through the ups and downs of Startup life through blogs, interviews and networking with others people who have been there.

 What exactly does it bring to startups?

 For tech entrepreneurs, Startup Grind provides the opportunity to learn from others who may have already faced the challenges that your startup is going through.

 What type of startup would benefit from your group?

 The focus is primarily on technology startups at any stage.

 What was the most challenging aspect of starting up the initiative?

 Finding the right speakers and the right space. I really wanted the first event to bring a founder or early employee from a company started in Austin, but that is a household name. I was lucky enough to connect with Ross Buhrdorf, the CTO of Homeaway, through running buddies and he agreed to be our first speaker. It was a fantastic event. As for the space, I really wanted the space to be part of the Austin Startup Community and CoSpace is exactly that. It’s a co-working space supporting startups in North Austin.

 What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

 You are going to make mistakes. One of the ways to identify and fix those mistakes is through talking with people, reading the blogs and books they recommend and listening to people who have been there. Most entrepreneurs will talk candidly about things they wish they had done differently or things they wished they had known a year ago. (My list is long.) And, find a co-founder who has different strengths and a different perspective than you do. This will not always be easy, but it will make your company and product stronger. 

What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?

Capital Factory is doing great things in Austin, really supporting and growing local startups through their incubator. Best regards, Hall T.