StartupDay_2013_200x225 copyEveryone will tell you that “startups are hard.” And guess what? Having navigated the twists and turns at GeekWire for more than two years, we can now safely say: They’re absolutely right.

But one of the cool things about doing a startup is that there’s a strong kinship that brings entrepreneurs together, learning from one another as you show your battle scars and share war stories.

That’s why were so excited to present GeekWire Startup Day, taking place Oct. 25 at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle. This is our biggest entrepreneurial get together of the year, a must-attend event for anyone thinking about taking the startup plunge; those in the midst of the journey, or anyone trying to figure out how to inject entrepreneurial energy into their existing businesses, both big and small.

It’s also a place to recharge, reenergize and get inspired. I know that’s the impact this event has had on me over the past few years as I’ve listened to talks from entrepreneurs such as Darrell Cavens of Zulily and Aaron Levie of Box.

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Zulily CEO Darrell Cavens at last year’s Startup Day

Originally started by entrepreneur Marcelo Calbucci and now in its fifth year, Startup Day is an annual tradition in the Pacific Northwest tech community. And, this year we are excited to add a number of new features to the mix, including a new Startup Demo Zone where individual startups will be able to showcase their offerings; get a one-on-one meeting with an investor; and potentially earn a chance to present on stage during our post-lunch Elevator Pitch segment.  (We only have 25 slots available in the Startup Demo Zone, so make sure to sign up today before we sell out. Go here and look for the ticket type Startup Demo Zone, or register below).

Our all-star panel of investor judges — including Ignition’s Frank Artale; Madrona’s Greg Gottesman; and super angel Rudy Gadre — will critique the pitches and then stick around to share their insights on what they look for in entrepreneurs. (Last year’s winner, Builders Cloud, actually walked away with a check from Artale and has gone on to raise a nice chunk of cash).

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Glenn Kelman

But the heart of the day is a series of inspirational talks from entrepreneurs who’ve been on the front lines, in many cases more than once. This year, we’re especially excited to welcome Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman, one of the most thoughtful, passionate and straight-talking entrepreneurs we know. He’ll be giving a talk about how to manage yourself as a founder and CEO. We are really looking forward to this one.

Also, startup vet T.A. McCann will be sharing some of his insights from a long career at the startup helm, including companies such as Gist and RivalIQ. His talk is titled: “Starting, funding, killing and selling: The hard decisions that make a startup.”

That’s just a quick look at some of the speakers we have in store this year, and we’ll be announcing many more in the coming weeks.

This year, we’re also excited to partner with TechStars, which is hosting their Demo Day at the same venue on Thursday, Oct. 24. We’re working together with TechStars, creating a destination for entrepreneurs and investors who want to participate in both of these signature events. Tickets to the Demo Day after party on Thursday night are available here.

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T.A. McCann

This is part of a larger initiative we’re organizing called Startup Week, which consists of a number of great events and activities over the course of a 10-day period, from Entrepreneur University to Seattle Tech Meetup to Seattle Interactive Conference. We will be sharing more details about the activities in the coming weeks, so stay tuned).

And, just because we like to throw a good party, here’s one last thing we’re adding to the mix this year. We’re excited to announce that Startup Day will conclude with a raging “Battle of the Geek Bands” showcase. We’ve received tremendous excitement about this one-of-a-kind event, and have limited slots available for bands.

A big thanks to our sponsors for helping to make Startup Day possible: MozKnollDouble Down Interactive and Avalara. For additional sponsor opportunities, contact GeekWire Chief Business Officer Daniel Rossi at daniel@geekwire.com.

I hope you’ll join us for Startup Day to get inspired, enthused and excited to change the world. See everyone on October 25th!

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