Winston-Salem has been named a Startup Grind city, joining a global network of cities working to fuel innovation, economic growth and prosperity at the local level. Flywheel, a coworking innovation space in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, applied on behalf of Winston‐Salem and will be hosting Startup Grind events for the city and region beginning mid‐May.
Founded in 2010, Startup Grind is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. In more than 150 cities and 65 countries around the world, chapters host monthly Startup Grind events where local founders, innovators, educators and investors share their own success stories.
“The selection process is very rigorous,” said Peter Marsh, cofounder of Flywheel. “We had to prove the vibrancy of our startup ecosystem and that we could execute compelling events with successful entrepreneurs on a regular basis.” The ratio of cities accepted versus total applications is around one in ten. Marsh will be a co-director of Startup Grind Winston‐Salem, along with Flywheel Community Manager Jennifer Berg.
Startup Grind is also a major initiative of Google for Entrepreneurs, extending the network of relationships even deeper into the global tech community.
“Just as important as the events is the fact that Startup Grind has an unbelievable communication network through their project management platform,” Marsh said. “Now we can connect Flywheel members with the highest level of angel and venture firms, successful founders and domain experts.”
Startup Grind founder and CEO Derek Andersen said Google For Entrepreneurs will help Startup Grind expand internationally by providing access to distribution, Google technology and financial support.
“In the future, you will not need to be in Silicon Valley to be taken seriously as a tech startup,” Andersen said. “I just see so many places with such a high caliber of entrepreneurs.” Andersen said the monthly “fireside chat” interviews with local entrepreneurs are Startup Grind’s specialty. “We’re world‐class at that one thing.”
Startup Grind is a perfect fit for Flywheel’s mission and vision for entrepreneurship in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. “Very few for‐profit coworking operators have a direct link to a multimillion-dollar commercialization enterprise right outside their door in the form of Wake Forest Innovations,” said Brad Bennett, another Flywheel cofounder. “This just expands the opportunities to connect.”
The Wake Forest Innovation Quarter is one of the fastest growing urban-based research parks in the United States, with a master plan for as much as 6 million square feet of world‐class office, laboratory and mixed‐used space over its 145 developable acres.
The first Startup Grind event is scheduled for mid‐May. Events will be posted each month on the Flywheel website.