This Members Only Club Is Attracting California’s Top Tech Minds

Meet the new social network.

In Silicon Valley, talent is both plentiful and promising … and growing by the day. However, these exceptional minds are also geographically fragmented, dispersed between giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, auspicious start-ups and even higher learning incubators like Stanford and UC Berkeley.

Seizing on an opportunity to link the best of the best engineers in the industry, entrepreneur and investor Ali Partovi started Neo, a startup that essentially functions as a social club. The mission is simple … bring great minds from all levels of success, from the gifted university student to tech leader, to a relaxed setting where they can mix, mingle, connect and hopefully generate the next big tech disruption.

“Networks are only as good as the people within them; they need new faces to stay relevant,” notes Jessi Hempel in a feature that recently ran in Wired.

“Partovi sees Neo as an opportunity, both to ensure his worth, and to reinvent old boys club by allowing for a broader view of potential—albeit, his own personal view. For Neo, he sought out members that have technical backgrounds and the desire to participate in the network: as a mentor, a mentee, or a bit of both. Partovi seized on the freedom to design a more representative social system, rather than one that accurately reflects tech’s white male decision-makers. Neo is more than 40 percent women, and 15 percent of members are black or Latino. Half are under 25. He has included engineers at every career level, from newbies to mid-career engineers to notable company founders. Partovi spent time last year traveling to college campuses to help select and recruit the 30 undergraduate members, many of whom had so many competitive demands for their time—attention from corporate giants like Google and Facebook or venture capitalists recruiting them to startups—that he had to make ‘a very hard sell,’ he tells me.”

So how does Partovi get all these amazing people to a ranch for a few days of horseback riding, hiking and networking?

You can read more about Neo here.

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