Written by Clark Buckner, cofounder of Relationary Marketing
As summer draws to a close, thousands of the Southeast’s premier disruptors, founders, and creative thinkers will descend upon Nashville to learn exactly what it takes to build a business.
36|86 is the Southeast’s premier gathering of founders, investors and ecosystem builders. With 40+ growth-oriented panels and a new twist on founder:VC networking, attendees have diverse opportunities to build, scale and execute their businesses.
“The thing that struck me the most is the incredible insight that I am able to gain from listening to VCs talk about why they invest, who they invest in, what their thought process is,” said 15-year software engineer Jeremy Kendall, about the festival. I really thought I was engaging in industrial espionage when I was listening to what they had to say.”
It’s not only the scheduled events that attendees find valuable, but also the chance to mix and mingle with other entrepreneurs, investors and supporters from different industries, each bringing valuable experience to a network of brand new faces.
“The thing I’ve seen the most is people is having those conversations outside of the actual lecture, that’s when the magic happens,” said Startup Southerner social media maestro Nicholas Norfolk who attended the event in 2017. “You see people hitting you back on Twitter and just showing you love and sending it out to everyone. That’s what I enjoy the most.”
It’s that rich sense of community that makes Nashville an ideal location for the event – because, as the city grows, so does its entrepreneurial ecosystem. And as more companies relocate to Nashville, the Southeast as a whole benefits, with national attention gaining more resources, more support and more investors than ever before.
“This is a region that has entrepreneurs and technical talent that can compete with the other areas, the silicon valleys of the world,” said Bill DiPietro, VP of Product Management at Digital Reasoning Systems a Nashville-based company that offers cognitive computing services to intelligence agencies, financial institutions and healthcare organizations in the United States. “We’ve got the entrepreneurs and the talent here to be able to compete.”
With that recognition come more ways to support entrepreneurs through events like 36|86. For the first time ever, 36|86 will introduce VIRAL Pathfinder, an assessment tool that will help to create more meaningful networking opportunities for attendees to make the most of their experience.
“It’s an entrepreneur-investor matching platform; both our entrepreneur and investor attendees will take this quiz, and it assesses what level your company is at and where your pain points and growth opportunities are,” said Lindsey Cox, director of 36|86 at LaunchTN. “We will use that information to do facilitated networking throughout both days of the festival, so it’s going to be even more hands-on for all of our attendees, which is going to be great.”
As the Southeast’s innovation ecosystem grows, entrepreneurs come together at events like 36|86 to not only grow the impact on their city, but on the world as they build stronger networks, better companies and more incredible solutions.
“I have been to a lot of conferences and a lot of events and a lot of places, and this is one of the most exciting; that says a lot,” Kendall said. “There is a lot of passion out there, and a lot of good things that prove that the Southeast is coming of age.”
Clark Buckner is a Nashville based podcaster and content marketer. He’s cofounder of turn-key B2B podcast production agency Relationary Marketing and serves on staff at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.