Angelina Capalbo wanted to meet other owners of area startup companies, but had a tough time finding them at local networking events.
Rather than give up, she created Startup Hartford, an organization intended to bring solopreneurs together to meet and learn from each other.
The group, which held its first event in March, will host monthly networking events in and around Hartford. Capalbo also plans to soon offer professional development workshops for members as well.
“It’s just an opportunity to co-exist with other solopreneurs,” she said of the group, noting many startup founders spend most of their time alone, working on their businesses from home offices. “A lot of solopreneurs in the startup community are quite isolated. In the digital age that we’re in, people can totally have a startup brewing or already in operations but not be so in front of your face about it.”
Capalbo, a Hartford native who now lives in Farmington, is founder of In the Mom Know, a company that gives parents the opportunity to publish online event guides for other parents.
“I really wanted to meet other founders,” she said. “I wasn’t necessarily finding this niche of an entrepreneur (at other events) because not everybody’s the startup founder.”
Startup leaders have been “very receptive to the idea” at Startup Hartford’s first two events, which took place in March and April at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, she said. The first event drew about 70 founders while the second drew a crowd of about 25, she added.
The group is intended for company founders in Hartford and surrounding towns but people have traveled from as far as Stamford to attend the mixers, she said.
The next Startup Hartford event will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. May 25 at the Mark Twain House. Dubbed an “Appy Hour,” it will be geared toward local app developers. Companies can submit an app to be showcased during the mixer.
Startup Hartford’s monthly mixer will immediately follow the Appy Hour, from 6 to 8 p.m. Admission to the Appy Hour is $5; those who wish to also attend the mixer afterwards must pay an additional $15. More information is at Startup Hartford’s website.
Capalbo, who runs Startup Hartford as a volunteer, said the admission fees cover food and drink expenses.
In the near future, she plans to hold some of the monthly events in nearby suburbs, she said.
Capalbo launched her company, In the Mom Know, almost two years ago. Her first prototype under the company is momfordcounty.com, and Capalbo hopes to hire on publishers for additional, similar sites in counties throughout the state.
“I’m not the typical mommy blogger,” she said, adding she not only lists family friendly events throughout Connecticut but also events and ideas for parents and caregivers looking to enjoy some time without their kids.
Like many startup founders, she runs her business while also working full-time as a marketing associate. She launched In the Mom Know nearly two years ago and hopes to eventually launch sites across the country.
She is drawing from her own experiences with her company, as well as her conversations with other solopreneurs, to determine future Startup Hartford events.
“We’re very collaborative and very cooperative,” she said, adding she aims to have 120 founders attending Startup Harford mixers and professional development events by this fall. “I want to offer real and raw things that these startups need.”