From its launch in October of last year, Startup Grind Triangle has been putting on events for entrepreneurs featuring some of the best-known names in the Triangle’s startup community.

Among them: Cindy Whitehead, who sold Sprout Pharmaceuticals for $1 billion. F.Scott Moody. David Gardner. Justin Miller. James Miller.

Attendees and supporters are known as “Grinders” – and they are growing in number here as well as internationally.

To learn more about the Grinder community, WTW talks with its Triangle director Mark Bavisotto, who is also a serial entrepreneur.

First, Startup Grind, which is backed by Google for Entrepreneurs, touts itself as “a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs.”

Second, we’ve included a video from a recent Grind event in Silicon Valley featuring AOL founder Steve Case. (Watch at: to show as an example of a Grinder event.

On to the Triangle and our Q&A:

  • Why did Startup Grind choose to begin programs in RTP?

Startup Grind Launched in the Triangle based on the massive tech growth happening in this region..

We saw an opportunity to use our brand and partners to help grow the startup community here locally. Startup Grind has 200 chapters around the world and is powered by some big tech companies like Google and Intuit. That will only help bring more growth and attention to the area.

We launched on 10/22/15

  • What is the No. 1 objective of this program?

Our objective is to help educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs in the Triangle.

We will do that through a combination of monthly events and educational work shops.

We believe in making friends and not contacts because you would do anything to help your friend succeed.

  • How did you come to be involved with the Grinders? And why?

I moved from Buffalo, NY 11 months ago and my No. 1 goal was to get involved in the Startup Community as quickly as possible.

I know the person who runs the Buffalo chapter and he said I should take a look into running one in the Triangle. I met with Derek [Anderson, Startup Grind CEO] and his team and the rest is history.

I’m grateful they gave me this opportunity.

  • How do you select your speakers? What are your criteria?

Through warm connections. I leverage my network to find the best speakers and I won’t settle for anything less.

My criteria is simple. The best of the best.

  • How does Startup Grind make money in order to keep operating?

This is a two part question.

a. We charge for our tickets to gain access to our events. We do this because it helps keep our events personal and only brings serious people through the door. How many events have you been to that were free and 150 people signed up, but 50 showed up. Not good for business. With that being said, we set aside free tickets for students and broke entrepreneurs.

b. Our biggest initiative is centered around sponsorships. Signing up long term partners is critical to sustaining the longevity of this program. (If you’re reading this and interested in becoming a sponsor shoot me an email at

  • Why do you believe your program is different than other series/events where entrepreneurs and investors come to discuss their careers and investment criteria?

Anything you do in life there’s going to be some kind of competition. We’re different because of our ability to leverage our global network to help the entrepreneurs locally.

You tell me what other program has access to 400,000 entrepreneurs from 200 chapters in 85 cities around the globe. Plus has the backing from tech giants like Google and Intuit. My guess is 0.

With that being said, we’re trying to help build the startup community here in the Triangle and I have regular conversations with other programs on how we can work together for the benefit of the area.

  • What are the top 5 reasons why someone should become a grinder?

1. Access to a large global network of entrepreneurs.

2. Access to amazing perks through our partnerships with Google, Intuit, and local partners.

3. We believe in making friends not contacts.

4. We believe in giving and not taking.

5. We believe in helping other before we help ourselves

Who is Startup Grind?

Startup Grind is the largest independent startup community, actively educating, inspiring, and connecting 400,000 founders in over 200 cities. We nurture startup ecosystems in 85 countries through events, media, and partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs. The cornerstone of our global community are monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies. Founded in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind has now hosted 2,000 fireside chats since its founding in 2010. To date, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding, and reach new users.

Source: Startup Grind