Derek Andersen was a bit of a world traveller growing up, as his family split their time between several countries in Europe and their home in Tampa, Florida. He kept traveling as an adult, jetting all around the globe to build startup communities and connect with entrepreneurs, wherever they were.

These communities are part of Startup Grind, an organization that nurtures startup ecosystems through events, media and partnerships with organizations like Google for Entrepreneurs. Andersen founded Startup Grind in 2010 with one location in Silicon Valley. Today, it’s active in nearly 100 countries around the world, including over 200 cities.

Over the years, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding, and reach new users. Although Andersen is now settled in Redwood City, CA, it’s pretty obvious that his influence reaches far beyond the borders of California.

In our interview, Derek talked with me about the beginnings of Startup Grind, how he gets the most out of every interaction at a conference, and why VC funding isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. He’s met a ton of famous businesspeople over the years, and he also opened up about his favorite interviews and the fact that even tech giants are people, too.

Startup Grind has a ton of exciting stuff going on these days, including the rollout of their new event-hosting software (discussed in detail in this episode) and their 2017 Global Conference later this month. The conference includes an exhibition of 125 startups, and you can visit if you want to apply to showcase your company!

Derek is a friendly, welcoming guy who’s happy to help you with your entrepreneurial journey if he can. You can find him on Twitter @derekjandersen, or you can shoot an email to if you’d like to get in touch.

In this episode with Derek Andersen, you’ll learn:

  • How to work with people at big companies (7:20)
  • What’s going on in Silicon Valley right now (14:20)
  • How Startup Grind got started (18:30)
  • Why the best startups usually begin as side projects (20:00)
  • That big names in tech are people like you and me (21:30)
  • How to get the most out of a conference or event (26:30)
  • Why he got into the events industry (27:25)
  • Why you might NOT want to accept VC funding (29:35)
  • All about Startup Grind’s new event-hosting software (34:30)
  • What to expect at Startup Grind’s upcoming global conference (41:45)

Please enjoy this interview with Derek Andersen.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Companies and Organizations:

Edge Media Studios

Electronic Arts


Palm, Inc.







NBC Nightly News

Sun Microsystems



Startup Organizations, Tech Conferences and VC Firms

Startup Grind

Rise of the Rest


500 Startups

This Week In Startups

Kleiner Perkins


Web Summit



Y Combinator


Tim Ferriss

Steve Case

Jason Calacanis

Naval Ravikant

Vinod Khosla

Eric Schmidt

Kevin Hartz

Ben Horowitz

Dave McClure

Michael Seibel















This episode of Powderkeg is brought to you by DeveloperTown. If you’re a business leader trying to turn a great idea into a product with traction, this is for you.

DeveloperTown works with clients ranging from entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies who want to build and launch an app or digital product. They’re able to take the process they use with early stage companies to help big companies move like a startup.

So if you have an idea for a web or mobile app, or need help identifying the great ideas within your company, go to

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Did you enjoy this conversation? Thank Derek on Twitter!

If you enjoyed this session and have 3 seconds to spare, let Derek Andersen know via Twitter by clicking on the link below:

Click here to say hi and thank Derek on twitter!


What stood out most to you about what Derek shares in this podcast?

For me, it’s how to work with people at big companies.

You? Leave a comment below.


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