Nick Hughes hosted the first Feature Friday event back in March 2014 as a way to help early-stage entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in 99 seconds and network with others in the Seattle startup community. Now he’s taking the idea global.
Hughes, a veteran of the Seattle startup scene, has grown Feature Friday into Founders Live, a company that organizes local events for entrepreneurs in 24 cities worldwide.
Hughes just announced a new corporate partnership with Liquid Telecom, a data, voice, and IP provider based in Africa, to hold monthly Founders Live events in 10 African cities over the next year across Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, and other countries.
Hughes expanded the Feature Friday idea into something that could be replicated in other cities within a brand that “tied together the detached and separated startup cultures into the wider global entrepreneurial community.”
“Founders Live takes upon itself a responsibility to create virtual and physical spaces for people to gather, learn, celebrate and explore entrepreneurship in hopes to make the world a better place,” Hughes added.
Founders Live, which still organizes events around the 99-second pitches, has 6,000 members and is aiming to be in 40 cities by the end of this year and 100 by the end of 2019.
Hughes is the only Founders Live employee and manages local leaders in each city. He raised a small investment round last year.
Founders Live makes money off event ticketing, sponsorships, and partnerships. New revenue streams are in the works, including a marketplace for products and services that help entrepreneurs build their businesses, as well as a global livestream channel.
Hughes said his own entrepreneurial experience has taught him that “creativity and entrepreneurship knows no borders.” He envisions Founders Live becoming “one of the biggest entrepreneurial brands in the world.”
“Our vision is to power the pulse of global early stage entrepreneurship, provide a first-step pathway for founders who most likely are not in the ‘Valley’ or other tech hotbeds and don’t have the easy access to resources, education, connections, and capital like us lucky ones,” Hughes said.