Frank Gruber is an entrepreneur, new media journalist, and investor. He is the author of Startup Mixology: Tech Cocktail’s Guide To Building, Growing and Celebrating Startup Success.
He cofounded Tech Cocktail (now Tech.Co) in 2006, which has grown into a hub for the creative class, offering tech startup focused news, events, and resources. As a journalist his works have been featured in a number of top media publications. He was named by Forbes as one of the most connected people in tech. Frank is also a Venture Partner with Crystal Tech Fund.
Frank currently lives in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. but travels a lot as he circles the globe speaking, hosting events and helping entrepreneurs, startups and technology communities amplify their local technology signal.
How did Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail) come to be?
Tech.Co, originally known as Tech Cocktail, began as a passion project to bring together the local Chicago tech and startup community. Once we got going, word spread and we quickly got pulled into other markets based on demand. Though we started with an event focus, and gathering people together will always be a part of our DNA and origin, we’ve grown our online audience significantly and now have a global readership in the millions at Tech.Co.
What can someone who subscribes to Tech.Co expect to be privy to?
Readers of Tech.Co get a variety of news, reports and other helpful content. In any given week, they may get tips on how to pick an accelerator program or find the best legal advice on a budget, info about the most recent trends and funding events, videos of recent talks from successful entrepreneurs and investors, or read a series of profiles about the latest startups in communities around the world. Our mission is to provide community, content, and resources that support entrepreneurs throughout their journey.
How does Tech.Co set itself apart from other resources geared toward entrepreneurs?
I think we’ve always been more community-centric. From day one, we focused on community and sharing the stories that come from them – that includes smaller communities across the country rather than just the larger tech communities like the valley or NYC. We have this really powerful combination of live events, where we’re uniting communities while also getting to know them to understand what makes them unique, and our online platform, which not only offers content written by our writers, but by hundreds of contributors from around the globe. While we describe our brand as a news and events organization, we’re really storytellers at heart – helping to find the best stories and lessons out there and amplify them for the world to learn from and celebrate.
Celebrate 2015 is a 3-day global conference with workshops, mentor sessions, panels, etc. How has this conference evolved since its founding three years ago?
Our Celebrate conference has continued to evolve since we first started hosting the event. In the beginning we programmed it for lots of sitting and listening – so we’d have dozens of speakers on stage and tons of startup pitches to sit through. But we’ve really changed direction over time, enabling more experiences and interactions. For example, this year we’re offering fun excursions like local tours and ziplining, office hours and mentorship sessions, workshops, and an interactive competition, all sprinkled among some really insightful fireside chats and keynote addresses. And a few parties of course.
FoundersCard Members can receive 25% off Celebrate 2015 passes. Click Here to inquire and buy tickets and be sure to reference PROMO CODE: FCVIP25
For you, what is the most exciting aspect of this event?
Aside from bringing together startups and thought-leaders from around the globe, which is always an incredible thing to experience, we get to name the Tech.Co Startup of the Year after a 10 month search. It’s so rewarding to stand on stage and see how far these young companies have come and where they are going – and know that we are a part of their journey.
Aside from your company, what is your greatest success?
Personally, my family and my newborn daughter. Professionally, I’d say it was writing a book, Startup Mixology. I didn’t have much time to write it between running the company, hosting our conference and getting married. But with the support of my team, I was able to complete a book that I’m incredibly proud of, knowing that it truly offers information that entrepreneurs can use. And beyond writing it, reading it for the Audible recording was more work than I ever realized it would be. Now that it’s out there, I’m so happy I took those challenges on.
What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
Aside from the book Startup Mixology (I’m slightly biased…), I always recommend people read, How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The lessons are timeless and can be useful in any situation, regardless of what you do for a living.
Who is someone we should be following on Twitter right now?
I don’t believe there’s a ‘one size fits all’ answer for this one. But I do recommend that you make a list of the top 10 people you look up to or would like to meet and follow them. You’ll find that you’ll learn from them through that social connection and could even make a personal connection. It really is a doorway that could lead anywhere.
What is one app that all FoundersCard Members should be using?
Waze – GPS, Maps & Social Traffic app. If I’m driving, it’s always on (just ask my wife). After using every mapping app out there, I find it almost always finds the best route based on traffic and keeps me entertained with celebrity voices for navigating.
Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you’re working on now/next.
I’m really excited about our online content series and native advertising opportunities. We’re working with some huge brands, creating compelling content and helping them meet their goals. I know that sounds kind of dry, but truly, it’s taken our business to the next level and has allowed us to continue to offer valuable resources to our audience. We’re currently looking forward to working with even more brands that want to connect with our growing millennial audience of tech savvy readers in the coming months.
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