Editor’s note: Ann Johnson is founder and CEO of Local-Ventures, which is based in Chapel Hill. She is a contributor to WRALTechWire and the ExitEvent websites. The ExitEvent is put on by Joe Procopio, an entrepreneur and also a WRALTechWire columnist. 

RALEIGH, N.C. – Last week, the Triangle region hosted The Startup Factory Showcase, Startup Summit, Internet Summit, Triangle Startup Weekend, and a hackathon. There were other startup and tech events, too – these were just the most hyped.

It was kind of ridiculous.

I made it to The Startup Factory Showcase, Startup Summit, and part of Triangle Startup Weekend. I also went to Greensboro last Friday night to speak at a Triad startup event.

After this event marathon took me through Sunday night, I got up early on Monday morning to catch up on work. At 9 a.m., I let a blink linger a little too long and woke up when my phone rang 40 minutes later.

I don’t regret attending any of the events I went to last week — they were all good events and Amazon has me covered with Keurig cups sold in bulk. But by Monday, there’s no way I would have attended another startup panel, pitch, speaker, or networking event.

I did, however, go to the ExitEvent Startup Social on Monday night.

The Social, held monthly from 6 to 8 p.m. at venues throughout the Triangle, was at Crank Arm Brewing Company in Raleigh for the first time this Monday.

Ironically, I was motivated to attend because of my saturation with startup events the week before. Last week’s rapid succession of events reminded me why the Social is not another startup panel, pitch, speaker, or networking event.

The most important differentiator is who attends.

While each of the events I went to last week was a relatively big name startup event, probably less than half of the people I saw at these events actually works at a startup – and that’s with me typically seeking out the startups in the crowd.

Now I like all kinds of people, and some of my best friends don’t know what a startup is. And I certainly get value, including value for my company, from interacting with those who aren’t also working at a startup.

But I also appreciate knowing that at the ExitEvent Startup Social, at least 90% of the the attendees are actively working at a startup. And the other 10% or so are either between startups (you don’t get kicked out if you live up to the event’s name) or are investors.

So how does the ExitEvent Social, which began as a grassroots event, has a very little budget, and has no headlining keynote, wind up with a higher percentage of active entrepreneur attendees than all of these other events?

Because it’s a rule.

Really, it’s that simple. ExitEvent made it a rule. You have to be a verified entrepreneur or investor to attend the Social.

As a result, entrepreneurs show up.

Okay, there’s also free beer. But on Monday at Crank Arm, the free beer was more limited than usual and the venue was still packed. There were about 125 entrepreneurs and investors in attendance and there was no sorting through the crowd to find them.

I talked with an angel investor and a few entrepreneurs who I hadn’t met before and caught up with several others who I’ve know for a while. I discussed crowdfunding, pitch effectiveness, and the challenges startups face when their market isn’t ready for a new product. I also talked with several folks about my company, Local-Ventures, and got filled in on what’s happening at other local startups.

The event brought together veteran entrepreneurs who have had multi-million dollar exits and new founders who are just starting their first company. There were people from all over the Triangle and beyond – one founder came in from Columbia, SC.

This was a typical Social, but the crowd was noticeably different than recent startup events. And while I’ve been talking about how great the Social is for some time, the strong showing on Monday, immediately after a bombardment of other startup events, showed that others seem to agree.