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People Work, Make Connections at Silicon Valley Café

Silicon Valley's Hot Cafe: Where Digirati Pitch Ideas
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Coupa Café is a restaurant where, over the years, Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sergey Brin have been seen.

The cafe is in Palo Alto, California. Palo Alto is at the heart of Silicon Valley, home to some of the world’s largest technology companies and some of the smallest startups.

Coupa Café is where many people buy coffee and make business plans.

The owner of the café is Jean Paul Coupal. He started the café with his mother and his sister in 2004.

The Coupa logo was seen on a cup in the 2010 movie The Social Network, about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The café serves Venezuelan coffee and a few Venezuelan dishes.

Because the café is in Silicon Valley, it has tried some of the latest inventions in technology. In 2013, Coupa Café started accepting Bitcoins, a digital payment system outside of traditional banks.

“We want to be part of the technology,” Coupal said.

The café is also a place for people to hold meetings.

“I remember seeing Mark Zuckerberg sitting here and having meetings,” said Eric Sokol, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University.

Sokol said he had many professional opportunities come about at Coupa Café. Sometimes other people would overhear a conversation he was having. Currently he is an advisor to a health care related startup and a new investment fund. Both opportunities came when he was at the café.

Because the café lets customers stay all day, many people do work there.

“A lot of the startups in the area come and they like to work at Coupa, coding all day,” Coupal said. “We’ve seen a lot of products that got developed at Coupa.”

The café also attracts students from colleges nearby like Stanford University.

Katie Kennedy is a student from a local community college. She said she knew that opportunities could come from chance encounters at the café.

“I am currently teaching myself JavaScript here at Coupa right now. If someone happened to look over my shoulder and saw what I was doing, I would definitely not say no to any help.”

Currently there are eight Coupa Cafés. All were hand painted by Coupal’s mother and sister.

“The food’s good, the coffee’s good,” Sokol said. “It just has the right atmosphere, the right mix of people. It’s got an energy about it, I guess.”

I’m Mario Ritter.

And I’m Olivia Liu.

Olivia Liu adapted this story for Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.


Words in This Story

startupn. a small, new business

obstetricsn. a branch of medicine that has to do with pregnancy and childbirth

gynecologyn. a branch of medicine that cares for women’s reproductive health

opportunityn. a good chance

fundn. a company or group that invests the money of a number of investors

encounter – v. to meet someone without planning

JavaScriptn. a computer programming language

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