One piece of feedback I continue to hear in the startup community is that the networking events are redundant. With so many of the same types of events happening in Phoenix, we end up splitting attendance and reducing quality across the board. That’s why when I heard about the unique experience House of Genius offers, I knew I wanted to be part of the team.
House of Genius is a monthly event where three startups have five minutes to present their business and an “ask” to an anonymous panel of professionals. The ask is any question or problem they want feedback or advice on from the panelists. After each presentation, the panelists pose follow-up questions and then go through a round of general feedback. As with any successful event, we supply food and drinks throughout the evening.
When I joined the team, the Phoenix House of Genius chapter had just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Nima Jacob Nojoumi, the Co-Founder and CEO at Sourcely, founded the Phoenix House of Genius chapter in April of 2014 and it’s currently one of only 25 chapters around the world.
“Arizona is fortunate to have an emerging startup ecosystem,” Nojoumi said. “It’s exceptionally promising, but needs resources to develop and mature efficiently. House of Genius provides these resources, offering an opportunity for our community to meet and, more importantly, collaborate in ways that deliver real results to entrepreneurs.”
So what really makes House of Genius awesome?
- We value quality over quantity. The purpose of the event isn’t to get as many attendees as possible; it’s to create an environment where people can engage in deeper conversations. This allows people to build real connections and go beyond the superficial, ‘what do you dos’ and ‘who do you knows’ normally exchanged.
- It’s anonymous, and no work talk allowed! Attendees only share first names and can’t talk about anything work-related until the reveal at the end of the evening. This allows us to keep bias at the door and work on an equal playing field.
- We promote candid, actionable feedback. The goal of House of Genius is to help entrepreneurs and startups make real improvements to their businesses. In order to do that, they need quality feedback. That’s why we encourage people to be honest while being respectful of each other’s ideas and opinions.
- Genius begets genius. That’s why House of Genius builds its community through referrals. After attending an event, we ask the Geniuses to refer at least one person who would be a good addition to a future event as either a presenter or a panelist.
- Attendees can’t rely on the ‘Buddy System’. While attendees are referred to our events by a friend or colleague, the monthly panels are hand-selected. Between this and the anonymity enforced, we ensure people can’t pair off or buddy up with people they know.
“I’ve had the opportunity to hang out at House of Genius twice now and it’s been great,” Zach Ferres, the CEO at Coplex, said. “The event provides a great platform for local startups to pitch, make a simple ask and gather feedback from over a dozen experts from all different backgrounds. Not to mention, there’s also free Chipotle!”
Other national chapters include Seattle, Austin and San Francisco alongside international chapters in Madrid, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. For Phoenix to be one of the first cities in the U.S. to open a House of Genius chapter speaks volumes about the community and the entrepreneurial spirit we have here.
“House of Genius serves as an excellent, unique, and confidential forum for you to gain valuable feedback at any point in the process of building your company. The quality of people in attendance and feedback gained highlights yet again why Phoenix is quickly becoming the most generous community for entrepreneurs,” said Jonathan Cottrell, a serial entrepreneur.
Think this sort of event is up your alley? Learn more about our monthly event here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.