Ty McDuffie is a walking, breathing example of someone who needed help, asked for help, and got help. I first met Ty at an ExitEvent Startup Social, probably last year, as the founder of Stock Of U, a company and a labor of love that aims to increase college graduation rates and ease the transition from college into the working world.
Good problem to solve, and I honestly don’t know enough yet to know if he’s solving it.
I would run into Ty at several more Socials as well as any startup event that had anything to do with college students or young, very early-stage entrepreneurs – like Startup and Play and Social Venture Chapel Hill.
I like running into Ty. He’s a solid guy, a dad, like me, and he wants to do more than run his company. He sees an economy and a system that’s broken, and he knows self-reliance is the way to fix it.
When he first got the idea that would become the PIT Stop (stands for People In Technology), he went down the road of trying to develop a means of helping to introduce African American tech students to the local tech scene.
“As I started doing the whole startup/tech/biz networking circuit,” he says, “I noticed that there were very few African Americans at the events, sometimes just me. I started to look into it, and found that it’s not really that uncommon.”
Agreed. And while there’s definitely a lot better African American representation at these next generation events (of which I count the ExitEvent Social) compared to even five years ago, it isn’t what it should be.
But Ty believed it was bigger than that.
“I didn’t want to build anything that was exclusive of anybody,” he said.
I’m very much down with that.
So he reached out to a number of people, including me, Derrick Minor, Anthony Pompliano, and Aaron Gerry, to figure out how to pull it off and to ask for help.
He got it, and he’s got over 120 people registered for this event, including demo companies and seven pitches that will be strictly limited to 60 seconds (thank you!). It skews younger, obviously, as the goal is to get tech students and recent tech grads into the mix, and it’s in Raleigh, which means another event for a city that is quickly starting to get it’s startup community act together.
But beyond introducing the next generation of tech to the next to next generation of tech (I’m telling you, it skews young), it’s also about introducing the concept of the value of networking to kids at an earlier age, something he wish he had figured out sooner.
Ty claims he only started understanding the value of networking when he started attending the ExitEvent Startup Social. Is that a straight shot to my ego? Maybe. Will I accept it. Absolutely.
But he’s got a point. If the startup community is to thrive and the bar to be lowered, that community has to be built and propped up by the entrepreneurs and those who desperately want to be entrepreneurs. It’s give and take, a lot of give, a little take.
And that includes hosting our own events, attending those events, and watching the ones that add value stick around.
So like any new event, I suggest you register and give it a try. You may run into Ty and if you do, trust me, you’ll like running into him.