A tip for those of you trying to mingle with successful entrepreneurs and VCs: Attend more than just the standard tech meet-and-greets. The people who are really in a position to help you with your startup never go to them anyway. So where to go instead? Check out events like last night's Lotus Vodka release party at SoMa's Euro-inspired restaurant Supperclub. You'll find founders and the moneymen behind them willing to chat and unable to prejudge you based on your nametag. Refreshing. Bonus: The nontech people who attend these things make for a far better-looking crowd. Far better-looking. The full report, and a gallery of photos, follows.
So, what does vodka have to do with tech? Rob Bailey, founder of Delicious Brands, maker of Lotus Vodka, is an ex-Yahoo business-development exec who came up with the idea of creating a vitamin-infused vodka after mixing the spirit with Glacéau Vitamin Water. It's sort of like disintermediation, except with alcohol! After quitting his position at Yahoo, he cashed in a bunch of stock options and started up Delicious Brands. He also convinced a few techie friends, like Jonathan Abrams of Friendster and Socialzr fame and Saar Gur of Charles River Ventures, to invest or advise.
Who would you have seen if you squeezed onto the packed invite list and made it out to Supperclub on Harrison Street? The uberconnected Auren Hoffman, pictured above, arrived in crutches, the result of a nasty soccer injury. He got plenty of sympathy. Yelp's pretty-boy founder Jeremy Stoppelman and his model brother Michael showed up. The newly 30 and effortlessly charming Jared Kopf came out with his team at yet-to-launch Adroll, his stealth advertising startup. Other people spotted in the crowd: venture capitalist Eve Phillips from Greylock Partners, OpenDNS founder David Ulevitch, Foundation Capital VC Mike Brown, Robert Pazornik from LicketyShip, and Jeff Hammerbacher, Facebook's guy in charge of data.
Supperclub is rarely, if ever, the scene of a dotcom party. There's a large circular bar by the entrance, making the room crowded, stuffy, and difficult to maneuver around. And it's loud, too. Lotus hired DJ Solomon to spin tunes and keep the crowd moving all night, making it all but impossible to hear in sections of the bar. Not exactly the best setting to give an elevator pitch, but perfect for learning if your VC is someone who knows how to get down.