Late last month, walking into the Cade Museum felt uniquely charged with enthusiasm as Gainesville’s startup community and its supporters convened for an inaugural startup-focused celebration. The sold out event, dubbed “celebrateGNV” recognized the faces, organizations and events contributing to Gainesville’s thriving startup scene.
Though the non-profit organizer, startupGNV, curated the night with themed cocktails and a sit down dinner reception, the event was truly defined by the overwhelming turnout of the startup teams themselves.
“I was thrilled by the amount of participants we had for this first event. The kind of people we were hoping to fill the room with are the busiest people, and this is the time of year where people are doing a lot of traveling with other engagements. And yet, so many people made time to celebrate the achievements of the startup community,” said Tracy Shank, startupGNV 2018 board member.
One collaborating business was local video production group, Betterme Productions. Owner Chris Cano lead his team in documenting the night and adding flare to the evening by photographing participants during the cocktail hour. Later in the evening Betterme presented a gripping video startupGNV commissioned, showcasing Gainesville’s fast-moving entrepreneurial spirit.
“As a video production company, we’re helping to tell the story of Gainesville. startupGNV is a big part of that in the way they organize so many members of the community who are building a vibrant startup culture,” said Cano.
Following the cocktail hour of mingling amongst rising star startups Brio, Aha Soup, BehaviorMe, Antiobiotic Adjuvant, Preview, and CharlotteAI, attendees gathered for dinner and a recognition presentation. Nearly 250 people filled the first floor of the museum with all eyes on startupGNV president, Aidan Augustin, as he highlighted Gainesville’s startup success stories. In a celebratory tone, Augustin emphasized quantifiable company wins such as growth in revenue, employee count, and office space for local startups Admiral, Eventplicity, Fracture, SharpSpring, Feathr and Paracosm.
“There’s so much potential to learn from one another, and I now recognize the value of an effective, nimble outside organization like startupGNV acting as a catalyst to bring the community together,” said Ariana Aragon, a local entrepreneur in attendance. “It was beneficial to recognize the ecosystem as a whole and get excited for where Gainesville is headed. celebrateGNV was just yet another reminder that Gainesville’s startup scene is becoming a real, tangible force within the community.”
Augustin’s presentation highlighted just that idea – that Gainesville’s startup environment is thriving and is becoming an incubator from which entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes can learn from and work with one another to create an exciting future.
The motivation, inspiration, and networking continued into the night as dessert and cocktails rounded out the event. This startup pep rally came to a close as the community left the Cade Museum’s beautiful venue, with Gainesville entrepreneurs fired up for the future. Surely by next year’s celebrateGNV, this city will have even more startup success to toast to.
Article contributed by Meg Boria-Meyer