Tech Homecoming offers networking opportunities on year's biggest bar night

Local expatriates heading out to meet up with old friends on Thanksgiving Eve will also have a chance to meet some new Ann Arbor technology companies at the second annual Tech Homecoming event next Wednesday at Babo.
Hosted by Ann Arbor SPARK and Duo Security, SPARK's vice president of entrepreneurial services Bill Mayer says the event helps showcase the city's "growing and vibrant ecosystem" to those considering a move back to the area for work in the tech field.
"If you were to relocate to Ann Arbor to join, let's say Duo or Nutshell, and you decide you put in two or three years and are ready for a change, you can see a whole inventory of companies that are directly relevant to the work that you do," Mayer says. "You don't have to leave the area to find your next job."
The idea for the event came from Duo chief operating officer and cofounder Dug Song, who Mayer says put together last year's outing as a way to leverage the "biggest bar night of the year" to help tell the story of what's been happening here and attract talent back to the area.
That first outing featured 13 companies and drew around 200 guests for an informal evening of networking at Babo.
Mayer estimates about half of the attendees were recent college graduates who had moved from the area in the last five years. He says the most common response from attendees was pleasant surprise about how much the tech workforce in their hometown has grown in recent years.
It's hard to say if the event specifically led anyone back to the area, but Mayer believes it did make an impact in the ongoing recruitment of candidates looking to make a change.
"The great thing about Ann Arbor is you can buy a house, [and] you have a great public school system, as opposed to some of these other innovation areas like San Francisco, or Chicago, or New York," Mayer says.
The private event is free to attend, but registration is required.

Eric Gallippo is an Ypsilanti-based freelance writer.
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