ChapterSpot founder McMenemon on Why We Need the NOLA Meetup

Last week, SBN covered the new networking event, NOLA Meetup, designed to attract technology talent, businesses, entrepreneurs, students, and more. Unlike Net2No and other top meetups in the city that generally have a single speaker per event, NOLA meetup has a unique format where each event has one keynote speaker and a number of other shorter presentations, similar to the 3×3 format of the NYC Meetup where three people present for around three minutes each.

NOLA Meetup hopes to create an environment that brings in people from tech companies, engineers, freelancers looking for projects, businesses looking to service tech companies, potential investors, and students interested in technology or venture capitalism. Already with a good number of signups, the team is hoping to pack the house for the first NOLA Meetup scheduled for next Tuesday, September 18th at 6pm. You can register for the event here.

The event is $5, which includes a presentation from a different keynote speaker each meetup, a chance to share ideas, and a chance to network and exchange information amongst attendees. SBN will also be providing a “Bayou Tech Roundup,” an overview of the latest technology news and happenings in the city of New Orleans. So job seekers, techies, networkers, and entrepreneurs alike should mark their calendars for this event.

Below is an interview with one of the co-organizers of NOLA Meetup, Joe McMenemon, who is also co-founder of the fraternity and sorority management company ChapterSpot.

With so many other meetups, how will this one be different?

Our goal for the NOLA Meetup is to expand the reach of the current technology community in New Orleans. We plan to focus more on the technology ecosystem and less on the actual development of technology. So there will be more talk about the technology companies, technology jobs and technology culture and less talk about javascript plugins. The reality is that we are not looking to replace anything, we are looking to expand the pie and add something a little different. We want, and need, the support of the other meetups in order for the NOLA Meetup to be successful.

How is the format different?

The programming for the meetup will generally consist of a “Bayou Recap” by SBN and 3 short presentations. The speakers will be diverse and will present on different aspects of the NOLA tech ecosystem. None of the speakers will be pitching though, there will be no asks, they will just be getting up there to discuss something new or interesting happening in the community.

What inspired you most about the NYC meetup?

That it is a routine place that the whole community comes on a routine basis to connect. It sounds simple, but if you are able to get the community to attend then it becomes so valuable for everyone.

What is the most beneficial/valuable part about attending this meetup?

I think there will always be people who attend the NOLA Meetup who are actively looking for one opportunity or another. It could be a programmer looking for work or a founder looking for funding, etc. What I’m looking forward to the most are the opportunities I wasn’t even considering that will arise from attending a routine networking event. There are so many talented people in this community and I know a number of mutually beneficial arrangements will occur from having a routine time and place for the whole ecosystem to come together.

What type of crowd will the meetup will attract?

We’re looking to appeal to the whole tech community. That means we’re looking for people who work, or would like to work in tech, people who invest in tech companies, and people who provide services to tech companies. The strength of the meetup will be in its members which is why we will attract a diverse range of speakers and look to attract a diverse range of attendees.

Who is your dream speaker at this event?

I’m really excited about the speakers we have committed for the first NOLA Meetup. We’ll have Mike de Boer who is the CIO of GE and is currently responsible for bringing 300 tech jobs to the city. We’ll also have Jeffrey Silverman who runs Laconia Ventures out of NY. Jeffrey, a Tulane grad, loves New Orleans and sees a ton of potential in the New Orleans tech scene and has been committed to helping expand and connect the tech ecosystem here.

Do you think NOLA meetup has potential to be more successful than meetups in other cities? Why?

We’re not trying to compete or directly emulate other cities. New Orleans always does its own thing which one of the reasons we all love this city. I have confidence that the NOLA Meetup will be great because we hope to attract great members to attend the meetup.

You can find out more by visiting or following @NOLAmeetup on Twitter today.