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Is it ever worth launching at SXSW?

Now that SWSX is over, is it ever worth launching at a big tech event? SWSX is where Twitter broke out in 2007, it's where FourSquare first broke out. This year there's a lotof buzz about Meerkat,unfortunatelyTwitter cut off integration. Indeed they did a great job with grass roots marketing blitzes, showing off their wares and earning memorable street cred, but it's still hard to compete with the budgets of the big tech & media companies. From the standpoint of an early stage startup entrepreneur, is releasing your startup at a big tech event worth it?

6 Replies

Lee Ann Guertin
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Lee Ann Guertin Entrepreneur
Editorial Research Manager, Online Analytics
Depends on the backing it has. Two things came to mind when I saw this: the benefits of exposure at a big event to potentially help forge new partnerships (like with big companies in attendance), and the obvious benefits of getting more sponsorship before going to a big event so their exposure helps you. I personally lean toward the latter, unless you are able to front the event with some buzz and teasers so there is some interest to reference and recognition to help drive talking points on the event floor. Both scenarios are all about marketing and presentation awareness. Because nowadays few things are so new that they are enough to gather interest on their merit alone without something to make it exciting and relevant to the masses. Media focused events look for media. Hope this helps. Sent from my iPhone
Sean McBeth
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Sean McBeth Entrepreneur
Chief Technology Officer at Highland Fundraising Solutions, LLC
If it just so happens that there is a tech conference ready at the same time that you release, I can't see it hurting. But otherwise, why are you sitting on releasing a project? Release early, release often!
Adryenn Ashley
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Adryenn Ashley Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder at CrowdedTV; #SocialTV Influencer
I launched in December, was named one of the Best Startups of 2015, proved our concept in a matter of a few days, then blew up the traffic in a few weeks! And yet, we are making our debut into the tech community at Collision as one of the Top Emerging Startups of 2015. For us, to have that much press in one place, focused on us, is critical. [image: photo] *Adryenn Ashley* Exec Producer/Founder, Crowded Reality Inc. p:[removed to protect privacy] | e:[removed to protect privacy] | w:http://crowdedreality.com
Chris Heuer
0
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Chris Heuer Advisor
Futurist, serial entrepreneur and change agent
Launching after SxSW is the new launching at SxSW. Don't do it. That's why I'm "Launching Next Week" launchingnextweek.com/launching-after-sxsw-is-the-new-launching-at-sxsw So I also built Launching Next Week as a mailing list and blog where early adopters can discover early stage startups before they are ready for Product Hunt. Check it out through the blog post link and if you have a company trying to build pre launch buzz, submit a free announcement on the site to get to bloggers, early adopters and others who want to be #first.
Charles Kraus
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Charles Kraus Advisor
Senior Product Marketing Manager at Limelight Networks
David - In my opinion no. Early stage companies do not have the budget to be able to make enough noise at these large events - you would be lost in the noise of too many companies making announcements. I have always made announcements a couple of weeks prior to large events when it's quiet and press and analysts are looking for something new to write about in advance of the chaos. As part of what you announce, include invitations to view demos of your offering, either on the show floor if you have a booth or in a hotel suite. Charlie
Chris Heuer
0
0
Chris Heuer Advisor
Futurist, serial entrepreneur and change agent
There are some strategies that work extremely well, mostly around building relationships and talking with your community and friends. In today's world everyone is an influencer of someone, if you are already a part of that market and simply use the event to reconnect with friends, share your story and solicit their advice, it can be tremendously successful - but this was a pre-launch strategy, not a launch strategy. For e this worked extremely well this past week, a few media mentions, some great insights on improving the product and our story, as well as managed to help make a few deals happen, help some folks connect on new job opportunities and set up a few more deals that may pan out in the months ahead. Funny thing, its not about doing biz dev, it's about reconnecting and spending some quality time together, sometimes in funny conversations, sometimes in really deep ones. Would I use it to break out ever? Well, if we were in their main stage startup competition I think it makes perfect sense as Adryenn illustrated with her experience.
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