There are many conferences that could be beneficial for startups, and the best one for a particular startup will depend on a variety of factors, such as the stage of the company, the industry in which it operates, and its specific needs and goals. Here are a few conferences that are often well-regarded by startup companies:
- South by Southwest (SXSW) – This conference takes place annually in Austin, Texas, and covers a wide range of topics, including technology, music, film, and interactive media. SXSW is known for its high-energy atmosphere and attracts a diverse group of attendees, including startups, investors, and media professionals. The “media houses” and other satellite events are often “where it’s at” when it comes to SXSW. An insider’s tip: Get an “in” with one of the satellite events where you’ll often find the top VCs, top media, and big names in the arts and tech “keeping it weird.” Grit Daily House is one of the 8 media houses during SXSW and draws on a deep bench of collaborations with other outlets, especially Business Insider, Forbes, Axios, and CoinDesk, for stage time opportunities often not available elsewhere.
- TechCrunch Disrupt – This conference, which takes place in various locations around the world and with its flagship conference in San Francisco, is focused on technology and startups. It features panels, workshops, and a startup competition, as well as opportunities for networking and meeting with investors. It’s worth developing a tangible relationship with at least one staff person before you go, to ensure you get maximum value out of the conference. Despite a reputation to the contrary, TechCrunch’s writing — and non-writing — staff are open, great at their craft, whip-smart, and curious, especially if you actually pay attention to what they write about.
- TechBBQ – This growing conference out of Copenhagen boasts some of the friendliest and most competent event organizers globally. TechBBQ annual conference brings the Scandinavian and international tech community together, with captivating stage content that includes favorites like Tech.eu’s Robin Wauters, Stewart Rogers, Rob Pegoraro, Jordan French, Elena Poughia, Raph Crouan, and unmatched startup pitching competitions, showcase areas, networking, and, of course, the Danish hygge. Pre-registration is open for Sept 13-14, 2023.
- Y Combinator Demo Day – This invitation-only event is held twice a year and features presentations from startups that are participating in the Y Combinator accelerator program. It is attended by investors, media, and other industry professionals and provides a chance for startups to showcase their products and pitch their companies to a large audience.
- Slush – This conference takes place in Helsinki, Finland, and focuses on startups, tech, and entrepreneurship. It features a startup pitch competition, as well as workshops, networking events, and keynote speakers.
- TechChill – An annual conference in the depths of winter in Riga, Latvia, the conference moved to late April for 2022. We didn’t mind when it was held in February, though. Naturally, the conference caters heavily to the Baltics, which, for the “geography light,” means companies from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with a heavy dose of pan-European companies present. Like Slush, it’s a good opportunity to meet those Unicorns outside the United States.
- Web Summit – This conference, which takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, is one of the largest tech conferences in the world and attracts a diverse group of attendees, including startups, investors, media professionals, and corporate executives. It features a wide range of topics, including technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation. John Biggs, Jordan French, and Stewart Rogers were all in attendance this year, with Ali Powell in tow, filming. Grit Daily held its 5th annual speaker’s and media dinner in 2022. And among the startups, here’s what Biggs uncovered.
- Consensus Festival – Now set for April 26-28, 2023, and returning to Austin, Texas, CoinDesk-led Consensus Festival is the top conference in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. It’s a can’t-miss event for industry outsiders and movers and shakers alike. Grit Daily and BlockTelegraph, through Grit Daily House, took part as an official satellite event in 2022.
- Startup World Cup is a global conference and competition with the goal of bridging startup ecosystems worldwide. The competition gives startup companies from all over the world a chance to win a US $1,000,000 investment prize. This year, there will be 50+ regional events across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, leading up to the Grand Finale in San Francisco. The Grand Finale, which next takes place on December 1st, 2023 attracts more than 2,000 world-class startups, corporate executives, investors, and media from around the world. Startup World Cup is organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, the Silicon Valley-based global venture capital firm. For Grit Daily’s primer on Startup World Cup, check it out here.
In addition to these larger conferences, there are also many smaller, industry-specific events that may be of interest to startups. For example, a biotech startup might find a conference focused on healthcare innovation to be particularly relevant, while a consumer products company might benefit from attending a conference focused on retail and e-commerce. Pirate Summit is one we initiated coverage on in 2022, for example, and offers the feature image for this article. It’s worth doing some research to find conferences that are tailored to your company’s specific needs and goals.
At Grit Daily, we’re here to help. Drop a comment with your favorite insider tip for these 8, or drop a note on your favorite conference if it’s not shown here, and we’ll take a deeper look.