Uncubed: The Most Creative Gathering for Talented Startups

Tarek Pertew Tarek Pertew is the Co-Founder and CCO of Wakefield, which publishes a widely-read digital magazine on startups. Tarek is also the creator of Uncubed, Wakefield’s wildly popular tech event and one of the largest Startup event series in the US.  The Makegood recently spoke with Tarek about Uncubed, and how it is very different from the typical “job fair”.

The Makegood: Uncubed is a very different kind of event, where startups and recruiters gather in a less formal, more approachable way. Why did you decide to create this environment, and how is it more effective than a traditional “job fair” environment?

Everyone involved with Uncubed hates the term “Job Fair.” We don’t want to be even remotely associated with it. If there were an event with 50 tech companies and it was called a job fair, I would go so far as to say we aren’t even competitive — that’s how different I believe we are.

We have simply created a fun gathering of hiring startups and thoughtful, talented attendees. We wanted to create a place where the best places to work would come and show themselves off. We also wanted a place where self-selection would bring in more of a “dreamer & doer” than someone looking for a job. We appreciate the time these folks spend with us, so we do our best to make the event jam-packed with rich content as well — skills classes, discussions with founders and early tech employees, and some networking.

The Makegood: How has Uncubed run in the past? Will this year’s event be different from previous years?

At each event we try do a few things:

1. Strengthen the core of the event — companies, attendees and content.

2. Add some novelty.  This year we’ll have a skate-park with pro skateboarders for instance. More companies will do wild things — we have a puppy run, a CEO dunk tank, Kegs & Karaoke, etc.

3. Add more pre & post event value — Pre-event cocktail reception for employers and our job board for attendees

The Makegood: How does the music, drinks, art, and contests play into the event? Do these aspects help encourage people to discover and create meaningful connections?

Of course. Think about how creative you feel in a quiet, smelly library, where the creative process is hidden between hard-bound cardboard. At Uncubed, the creative process is out in the open with musicians playing music, artists painting and companies showing off their products and culture. You’ll feel more creative, you’ll feel energetic and “in the mood,” if you will.

The Makegood: What sort of technology is implemented at the event? What is Uncubed’s presence on social media before, during, and after the event?

We’ve used the DoubleDutch app in San Francisco to create more in-event interactions. We use projection mapping at NYC to have a live showing of current conversations and fun media. We’ll always encourage and see aggressive use of Twitter & Instagram (with hashtag #Uncubed) to push to the world what people are experiencing at Uncubed. However, I’d say this is an area where we hope to add a bunch more tech to create an even more robust experience (think robots). The biggest issue here is cost. As a bootstrapped company, we are limited by what we can do.

The Makegood: How will you be conducting the event in the future? Are there any goals you have in mind for future events?

We’ve been growing Uncubed for almost three years and it is showing no signs of slowing. There are thousands of young, growing companies out there that people haven’t heard of before. Our mission is to change that, and that leaves us with a lot of work on our hands! Our goals for future events would be to do a better job creating an online experience to go with the event before, during and after. Also to create better matching for companies and attendees, there will be interaction between content creators and the audience, and follow-up, ratings, etc. after the event.

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