A great free way of expanding your professional network, meeting new people or just making new friends are sites like www.LetsLunch.com. One could be randomly paired for a one on one lunch, one could join interest group lunches, be introduced to someone or be invited to lunch. The members has a wide variety of people from all walks of life but here in the Bay Area there is an abundance of techies and startup founders. There’s a directory so explore and add to your wishlist based upon your networking goals. All you need to do is schedule the lunch, show up and pay for your own lunch.
It was extremely important for a company like Let’s Lunch to have a community manager because even though it is a website that matches individuals. Let’s Lunch had a limited budget and needed to increase their presence in the community and increase member excitement about getting out of their routine and discovering new people. Word of mouth & press coverage was how Let’s Lunch has expanded to over 10,000 members in multiple cities and countries.
Here’s a video of group lunch I helped lead regarding online marketing with special guest Murray Newlands, Influencepeople.com, Thanks for the video.
780 Cafe – I/O Ventures
780 Valencia St
(between 19th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Great little spot in the mission where I have visited a few of my startup founder friends from time to time. Upstairs is the incubator portion where the selected tech founders in the I/O Ventures incubator group works. Downstairs/Street level is the cafe where anyone could come, sit, enjoy the cafe while hashing out their plan on becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. The decor is hip, lofty, modern, urban. The noise level makes it hard-to-focus but other than that it has great ambiance for a meeting over coffee or lunch. This spot is highly recommended for the visiting entrepreneur for sure.
Tip #1 – The cucumber basil lemonade is so refreshing I ordered 3.
Tip #2 – Monthly on certain Sundays there is a local street fair on Valencia right outside of the cafe.
Tip #3 – Not too far from the BART.
Here’s what they have to say for themselves:
“Located in the heart of the Mission District, 780 Café is quickly becoming the brightest new cyber incubator café on Valencia Street. The spacious, modern architecture is ideal for a Blue Bottle Coffee in the morning, business meeting in the afternoon, or charismatic event for the evening. In our lounge, you will be amongst i/o Venture start-up companies and be able to mingle with some of the tech industries finest. Formerly “The Summit”, 780 Café opened in late February of 2012 by owner Jose Ramos and his family. Moving into a new direction with optimism and New York City bred taste, Ramos plans to make this site flourish with social activities and memories for all of San Francisco. Click and discover more about this multifaceted cyber incubator locale.” http://www.780cafe.com/