Since their inception Cooley Law has made a name for themselves through a culture of innovation and dreaming big. So it’s no surprise their launch of AAEx–the African American Executive Network– follows suit.
Cooley created AAEx two years ago, with the aim of bringing together a forward-thinking community of executives, investors, innovators and prominent influencers across a wide range of industries, companies and government.
The events turn the typical tech meetup on its head– foregoing the average coworking space as their venue and opting for riverfront restaurants like The Wharf’s Del Mar and serving top shelf cocktails complete with a chef prepared menu.
Past events boast a list of attendees that include everything from former NFL players and current MLS players to a Grammy winner, NASA engineer and executives from Facebook, Google, and Uber.
“It’s more than just checking the box for us,” says Cooley Business Developer and event partner Alexander Knight. “AAEx is about building community among African-American leaders. Then harnessing the power of diversity to yield high-impact relationships, collaboration and knowledge-sharing.”
“Our mission is to create a platform to address challenges that exist for minority leaders through the collective strength of this network. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support many of these companies and leaders from a legal/business perspective along the way.”
Knight gave us an inside look at the workings of AAEx, their impact, and subsequent success in Washington, DC and San Francisco.
On How AAEx is Different
“There are significant challenges that exist for black and brown leaders, particularly within the entrepreneurial/technology/investment communities,” says Knight.
“AAEx is unique in that it’s so much more than just an exclusive event series. It’s a connected community where angel and institutional investors on the West Coast can connect with high-potential companies and entrepreneurs on the East Coast.”
“A community Fortune 500s can turn to when seeking an experienced, diverse member for their board of directors. AAEx is a hub that is addressing these challenges one connection at a time.”
On Who AAEx is For
“The AAEx Network includes CEOs, executives, entrepreneurs building high-growth companies, investors, leaders of government and other prominent influencers across industries and spaces.”
On Their Impact
“We’re excited to have already seen investments made with companies in the network,” says Knight.
“In a short amount of time, the AAEx Network has brought together over 300 leaders from the East and West Coasts. A significant amount of this network was built from recommendations from our attorneys and the companies they represent.” (40% of the US companies on the Wall Street Journal’s Billion Dollar Startup Club list use Cooley).
“AAEx members also refer their peers to the network as a result of the value they’ve gleaned from it.”
“We’ve already heard success stories in terms of companies getting funded by investors they meet across the network, and we’re excited to see more of this as the network continues to mature.”
On Hosting Posh Events
“Part of what makes AAEx different is that we’re not just another networking meetup,” says Knight.
“We’re intentional about providing an elevated atmosphere that caters to the leaders AAEx serves. This means spending some extra time and resources to ensure we’re hosting a truly unique and special experience through the selection of the venue, food, drinks and programming.”
On What’s Next for Cooley AAEx
“As the AAEx Network continues to grow, we look forward to creating even more ways to foster connectivity and collaboration among these leaders,” says Knight.
“We’re always evaluating new potential cities to launch and develop the network. A few on our shortlist include New York and London.”
Attendance to AAEx is invite only. To request an invitation, reach Alex Knight here.
Photography courtesy of AAEx