Three years ago, Boston gained a fantastic young leader when Sasha Hoffman decided to move west and make Boston her home as the new head of business development at one of my portfolio companies, Plastiq. Sasha’s energy and passion are a huge asset to the city’s entrepreneurial community, and in less than 4 months after moving to Boston, she developed an amazing new community event: the BUILD Entrepreneur Games. Over the past three years, Sasha (with help from many with in the community) has done an amazing job at not only building the BUILD Entrepreneur Games into one of the best events in town, but also helped raise over $100K for BUILD Boston, an organization dedicated to using entrepreneurship to engage and propel low-income students through high school to college success.
Last year, Flybridge organized a team and sponsored the BUILD Entrepreneur Games. The event was much more than just an athletic contest–by providing an opportunity to bring together employees from across our portfolio companies, the Games provided an invaluable opportunity for me and others to meet up in an informal setting to work as teams and build relationships in a fun, informal setting.
Pulling up to Northeastern’s Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center on the day of the Games, you could feel and see the excitement. Hundreds of entrepreneurs and employees at Boston startups and established companies walked down the street dressed in shorts and athletic gear, wearing team company and team colors, geared up for some fun competition (okay, mostly fun – I do admit my competitive streak took once I was inside when I saw the CrossFit challenge!).
Flybridge was part of “Team Israel” which was made up of 40 team members who each had to participate in at least one team competition and one individual game. My teammates, Kate Castle, Angie Gamache and I opted to play in the volleyball team tournament as our first game. What a blast! I am not a volleyball player, but it was fun to see 12 amateurs come together to compete. I particularly loved being able to meet and play with some of the younger folks from my portfolio companies who I wouldn’t get to see or meet at a board meeting. Our team was awesome – we played hard and made it to the semi finals. But most of all, we played as a team.
From volleyball, I went over to the “one minute speed jump rope” station (my best was 180 revolutions, which missed out on the title by one!) and then ran the 1-mile race against my fellow VCs (see picture below – don’t I look ready to break a 4 minute mile?). I had a blast, but the most important take away from the event for me, was the importance that informal relationship building events can play in helping to further our entrepreneur community. It’s hard to be intimidating when you are wearing shorts… Now I’m looking forward to the 2015 BUILD Entrepreneur Games – time to go jump rope!
PS: Flybridge will be sponsoring the games again this year. If you’re interested in joining our team, we have a couple spots open for non-portfolio company entrepreneurs. Tweet to @flybridge with your best advice for entrepreneurs, and we’ll choose the people with the best advice to join. See you there!