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VIDEO: Techies and like-minded folks network, hear presentations at New Tech Tacoma

In just a few months the meetup group has become the go-to place to see emerging and established companies roll out ideas, hear about leading-edge technology and build business contacts.
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In just a few months the meetup group has become the go-to place to see emerging and established companies roll out ideas, hear about leading-edge technology and build business contacts.

The glowing pink and blue lights gave the room a slightly nightclub feel. But the music was set at a modest volume, and the only dancing was between business cards as the next Steve Jobs introduced himself to the newest Bill Gates.

The Feb. 11 event was the monthly get-together of New Tech Tacoma. In just a few months the meetup group has become the go-to place to see emerging and established companies roll out ideas, hear about leading-edge technology and build business contacts.

A New Tech event mixes techies with entrepreneurs, established tech companies, venture capitalists, government personnel, university staff, students and others.

The scene repeats the second Thursday of every month on the fourth floor of Post Hall, in Tacoma’s old main post office building on A Street.

New Tech had its beginnings in 2004 when Meetup.com co-founder Scott Heiferman created New York Tech Meetup, which describes itself as the largest meetup group in the world on its profile page.

In 2013, Colorado transplant Brett Greene created Seattle Tech Meetup with Red Russak. The name changed to New Tech NW after Greene expanded to Bellevue and, since November, Tacoma.

“We’re the fastest-growing event in Meetup.com history,” Greene said of New Tech Seattle.

Greene’s first introduction to a New Tech community event was in Colorado.

“It was great being around supportive and collaborative people who were helping each other go do whatever their dreams were,” Greene said.

Despite its name, the event is not exclusively for the tech industry.

“Even if you’re not in tech and just like fun, smart, innovative people, we want you to come meet more of those people,” Greene said.

Eli Moreno, founder of SURGEtacoma, a startup and co-working space, has attended all four New Tech Tacoma events.

“We didn’t have anything like this in Tacoma,” Moreno said.

The monthly gatherings satisfy a craving for people who want to meet like-minded folks, Moreno said, “instead of having to drive all the way up to Seattle.”

Tacoma’s New Tech meetings are smaller than Seattle’s and those on the Eastside, a fact Greene attributes to Tacoma’s smaller footprint in the tech world and that Tacoma’s event is the newest kid on the block.

“Our intent in Tacoma is to bring together the people who really care about Tacoma’s culture and Tacoma’s future,” Greene said. “They might want to be interested in that around tech or they might be interested in business.”

New Tech follows a regular format. The first hour of the event is a mixer. A no-host bar and free appetizers are included.

The second hour begins with announcements.

“It’s not a time for people to stand up and say ‘we’re hiring’ or ‘our business is cool,’ ” Greene said. Instead it’s meant for announcements that can benefit the community.

Announcements are followed by the main event. Four presenters give five-minute presentations followed by three minutes of Q and A.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

NEW TECH TACOMA

When: 5-7:15 p.m., second Thursday of every month.

Where: Post Hall, 1102 A St. (4th floor), Tacoma.

More information: newtechnorthwest.com/events/new-tech-tacoma.

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