From the September 2000 issue of Startups

Where is the best place to make business contacts? A trade association cocktail party? A college reunion? How about on the top of a mountain while vacationing with your family? It may sound incredible, but that's just how Paul Crimm, 25, met his angel investor. Crimm, co-founder of SoDeog Technologies Inc., a wireless software manufacturer in Charlotte, North Carolina, met investor Duane Bennett while vacationing last year in Chimney Rock National Park.

Bennett, who was with his son's Boy Scout troop, asked Crimm to take a picture of them. The two struck up a conversation, in which Crimm revealed he was planning to start a software company and Bennett revealed he was looking to fund start-up Internet companies. One quick meeting with Crimm's partner, 27-year-old Ryan Walcott, sealed the deal.

Such chance occurrences are not as rare as you might think--just ask Gary Gellman, co-founder (with Brian Gellman) of Video Camera Recording Co. in Adelphia, New Jersey. Gary, 32, was at an Arbor Day meeting when he met someone who worked for the Boy Scouts of America. He mentioned that his company provided full video, editing and mass-duplication services, and before he knew it, he was commissioned by the Boy Scouts to create a video of one of its camps. "You go [to an Arbor Day meeting] to celebrate trees being planted, and you end up meeting a wonderful client," says Gellman.

While there is no way to orchestrate such chance meetings, you can increase your odds by keeping your company in mind at all times, engaging in activities where you're likely to meet interesting people and keeping in contact with an array of individuals. You never know what business opportunities are waiting at the picnic table over.

Contact Sources

SoDeog Technologies Inc., info@sodeog.com, www.synctalk.com

Video Camera Recording Co., (732) 431-TAPE.