The Subjective List Of Tech Conferences Every Startup Should Attend
Jul 157 min read
IT Marketing Strategist at Ideamotive. Travel addict and remote work advocate.
Business conferences around the world provide inspiring speeches and at chunks of fresh, valuable knowledge. Attendees can exchange experiences and talk with people with a similar mindset or sometimes a totally different one, to confront the views and discuss the challenges.
For startups, every conference should be considered an investment, although not necessarily an easy to measure one. The biggest income from meeting various people is not only increasing the number of people who you know. It is also about people who know YOU.
And that’s essential when thinking how to find investors for startup and building the brand, be that personal or corporate one. So with every conference, the company gains attention and builds the presence in the minds of industry leaders. Or at least a group of them who are present at the conference.
On the other hand, every conference is a cost – sometimes not a small one. So there are at least three factors to consider when choosing an event to attend.
Does the conference fit the target group? – there are numerous conferences, from broad ones (just think about South by Southwest), to more or sometimes extreme narrow ones (fintech and security are good examples). While a medical devices manufacturer will be thriving on SXSW it is not probable, that the company will shine among bitcoin-lovers.
How much does it cost to attend – it is not only about sponsoring. It is all about logistics – hotels, commuting, planes, etc.
What is your purpose – is it talent hunting? Looking for an investor? Building contacts? Or maybe an everlasting quest for clients? Always keep in mind that you are in work there and you have some clear KPIs to follow.
If the purpose is clear and the budget is secured, it is high time to cherry-pick the most interesting conferences to attend. But fear not – Ideamotive has done a great deal of job to scrape through world conferences and deliver a totally subjective list of the most interesting conferences for startups when it comes to investor-hunting. From all around the world! (YEP! And the world is not limited to US, trust us!).
The Old Continent is a heavyweight player when it comes to startup scene, finding strength in its diversity. Packed with both economical powerhouses of Germany, UK and France and aspiring champions (Poland, Czech Republic) Europe is also housing inspiring events to attend. Best picks below.
Startup Europe Week
Not a single event but a coordinated series of semi-independent startup conferences. it promotes entrepreneurship and helps startuppers meet the right people at the right time. Co-organized mostly by volunteers like startups, companies, and stakeholders it delivers unique quality – passion derived from building something together.
And that’s something special. If that’s not the answer on how to find investors for startup, then nothing is.
More than 500 speakers and 850 startups gathered on one massive conference – that’s what can be seen on Startup Ole’ in Salamanca in Spain. The event is obviously dominated by the Spanish scene, but it can be a good pick for foreign startups looking for investors that are usually hard to reach due to language and geographical barrier.
Where? Salamanca, Spain
When? March 26-28th
Estimated cost of attendance: Free for general attendance
If the tech solution is on the market for 13 years it is usually considered a legacy one. If the event is on the market for 13 years – it is the TNW conference for sure! When thinking about established (and I mean – established!) event to attend, mixing the best traditions with cutting edge technology, TNW is the best pick existing. With an astonishing base of C-level attendees, the conference is all about networking. And that’s what you are going to do, right?
Some initiatives are ignited by companies willing to earn money and gather leads. And that’s cool. But there is something truly unique when a grassroots movement gains momentum and become a truly mass event gathering thousands of people. And that’s basically a case of Pirate Summit.
The event gathers mostly entrepreneurs but with every successful start-up, there are investors willing to spot a rising star among those who are willing to gather knowledge. What’s important? the nature of the event imposes a non-official and non-transactional nature of meetings, meaning that a cool guy sitting near the campfire nearby is willing to talk on everything but investing. So no matter how effective you are in sharing your enthusiasm toward your startup, it is not a good place to ask for investment
But if you are a good storyteller, expect an email after the event. And be ready to answer some serious questions on your funding plans…
If there is any website that every startupper and investor read, that’s Techcrunch. That’s basically the strongest media brand in the startup world and any Techcrunch-branded conference gathers the most interesting people in the startup ecosystem.
The conference takes everything that’s best in this ecosystem – bold approach toward problems to solve, open mindset and the unique mood of the community, despite being sometimes competing companies. So if anyone asks – how to find investors for startups, the best answer is – there. And you get to spend a few days in the sexy Berlin!
The startup scene is strong in North America with economic gargants of US and Canada and not less interesting scene of Mexico. The continent, what’s really not surprising, holds a more than a handful of decent startup conferences.
South by Southwest
To be honest – naming the SXSW conference a startup one is a grave underestimation. The nine days between 8 and 17 March change Austin into a crossroads of the world. The event itself is combining interactive arts, music, film and modern technologies to deliver what’s the best in the modern world. One week on SXSW delivers more insights on basically everything that a whole year anywhere else.
So if you had to pick one event from North America – it should be SXSW with no doubt. There will be tonnes of people asking how to find investors for startups and many more providing the answer. Or funding sometimes. The conference gathers numerous startups from Austin and the rest of the world.
And if you are going to SXSW, make sure to check out our SXSW Guide For Startups. Written from the hands-on experience 🙂
One of the most prominent startup conferences in Canada, Collision brings 25,000 participants from all around the world, including top investors and C-level executives of international companies. The event offers mentoring sessions, workshops and dedicated office hours with investors.
Digital Summit is another decentralized and series-based event to attend. The event brings together innovators, thought and business leaders from all around the world. The program is filled with content delivered by market leaders like Facebook, Amazon or Microsoft. With speakers, there is always a bunch of business and tech people following, willing to mentor startuppers and listen to their visions of business.
Fun fact – this event was originally hosted in London, but recently it was moved to New York. The event is mainly focused on SaaS businesses, including companies and startups, yet it gathers investors from all around the world. And by the way, it is a great occasion to see New York startup accelerators.
Despite the modern paradigm of a global village, cultural heritage never loses power. That’s basically in the foundation of South Summit Conference, that bridges Spain and Mexico in gathering tech-oriented folks, investors and companies interested in innovations.
Asian startups are even more diverse than European ones, especially considering the diversity of the continent. There are both emerging markets with shooting stars and talented coders, and economic behemoths with plenty of investors willing to provide an answer on how to find investors for startup.
Probably the largest tech conference in Asia, RISE is a melting pot for this diverse and dynamic continent. The event gathers entrepreneurs, startuppers, and investors as well as journalists and hundreds of tech and business influencers. There are over 16.000 attendees from more than a hundred countries willing to listen to more than 350 speakers, with at least a dozen knowing how to get funding for startup.
Where? Hong Kong
When? 8-11 July
Estimated cost of attendance:General Attendee – $1629
The key conference when it comes to ICT business in Asia. It gathers thought leaders from all the markets. The conference is being organized annually for 30 years in the row, dwarfing similar events. The participants discuss the system integrations, satellite operations and challenges for mobile operators.
It is undoubtedly an investor-hunting ground for any startup from the niche.
In Ideamotive we believe that the world is not limited to Europe and North America. In our text on best African startups, we delivered a list of the most noteworthy entrepreneurs from all around the continent. Apparently, it holds some interesting events also.
Africa Tech Summit Kigali
The conference in Kigali gathers talented entrepreneurs and interesting startups from all the region, enabling to establish valuable connections.
Hosted in one of three capital cities of South Africa, the economic powerhouse of the continent, it aims to build and support more valuable connections between startups, investors and tech talents. Uniquely, the conference brings the attendees from state administrations and international organizations willing to solve African challenges.
So if you own some socially conscious startup – it may be a top shot.
The western country in the far east, Australia provides a closed market with even more closed ecosystem of startups. Yet the market is unexplored for many SaaS providers and the internet knows no borders (except maybe North Korea). So why not?
Some claim that the Launch Festival is the largest one in the world. It was hosted in San Francisco for 10 years, yet then moved to Sydney for its 2018 edition. The event is free for founders, so it holds a great opportunity for investors to spot early-stage superstars to support.
The growth-focused conference, Startcon delivers know-how and inspiration for startuppers willing to grow their business or get funding for startup they own. With more than 750 startups attending, willing to listen to more than 65 speakers, the conference delivers a solid chunk of business knowledge and even bigger opportunities.
Think about the isolation of the Australian market. You will be fresh blood.
When ‘thinking global” startups usually limit themselves to focusing on the US and western Europe. That creates a market with the overcrowded sector and nearly empty space just a few hundred miles from there. So think global, act global and don’t be afraid to explore new markets. Who knows what talents and investors are waiting there for you!
Michał is a digital marketing veteran with a growth hacking mindset and 10+ years of experience. His goal is building high-quality technological content, with particular emphasis on React and Ruby on Rails. Traveler, climber, remote work advocate.