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Are tech conferences worth the money?

My start up just got accepted to exhibit at ALPHA Web summit in Lisbon next November.
The tickets are quite expensive, I'm wondering if these events are worth the money for a seed-stage start up? Cheers

22 Replies

Brian McConnell
3
0
Brian McConnell Entrepreneur
Head of Localization at Medium.com
Conferences are a terrible way to promote a new company. I've been active in startups for 20 years. Very few of them will generate decent leads. People don't go to conferences to find new vendors like they used to 10 or 20 years ago (they use the web for that).
Kate Hiscox
0
0
Kate Hiscox Entrepreneur • Advisor
Boss at Venzee
It depends on your goals for the conference and how certain you feel you can achieve them. Combine that with the cost and that should be your answer. Personally, we've never paid to present or exhibit at a conference but we we don't really use them to acquire customers so your case could be different.
Kirill Pertsev
1
0
Kirill Pertsev Entrepreneur
Director Cloud Operations at EIS Group Ltd
If your customers would be there in significant numbers - definitely go. If not it's a leisure trip. Alex Turnbull summarized it perfectly https://twitter.com/kpertsev/status/741111040688033793 I've also written on that some time ago, but used too much swearing, so I'm not going to give a link :-)
Mark How
0
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Mark How Entrepreneur
Co-founder at Shopswell
I attended Collision in New Orleans.

There were probably 400 startups there. I would bet there were 40-50 legit VCs that attended. The startups all line up on huge benches, and the benches line isles. Standing out at a show like this is going to be up to how you prepare before the show, moreso than what happens at the show.

We did not exhibit, and I was glad. Instead, I spent my energy chasing meetings with top investors. I managed to secure meetings with 8. As a result, the show was a success, mostly b/c it was a convenient way to meet people making bets in our segment.

My startup is in shopping - www.shopswell.com

There are a lot of firms that are interested in the space, but it is also a VERY difficult market for a variety of reasons. As such, I find making contact at shows is something that works for us.

Note - I am a non-technical founder, and had to spend dozens of hours chasing meetings.

Good Luck
William Agush
1
1
William Agush Advisor
Founder and CEO at Shuttersong Incorporated
YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).
Farzad Wafapoor
0
0
Farzad Wafapoor Entrepreneur
Video & Digital Media
I disagree that conferences are a waste of time for any company. Conferences are where buyers and investors attend. The outcome of your experience & ROI will depend on your strategy when attending a conference.
Chicke Fitzgerald
0
0
Chicke Fitzgerald Entrepreneur • Advisor
Game Changing Strategist, Advisor & Technologist | Board Candidate | Zigging where others Zag
The key words in your post are "just got accepted to exhibit". Conferences exist to sell trade show space to exhibitors, so it would be rare not to be accepted. If this show has an entrepreneurial track and a special deal for early stage companies, then it could be worth your while to exhibit.

But I agree with the previous advice that the real benefit is attending, IF and that is a big IF, you are the kind of individual that can walk into a room full of strangers and determine where to spend your time and if you can open up the needed conversations.

For years I used to participate and even have a booth at the biggest industry event in my industry (travel technology). A few years ago they started broadcasting it free and I can now listen and TWEET. They have gigantic screens in the main hall showing all the tweets, so now people think I am there. I have visibility and I can listen and Tweet at my own pace. It works for me.


Ema Chuku
0
0
Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
Congrats, although not as much, because thousands of other startups get accepted to this event (I did, yet to attend though)..

That said, you will get more "Not Worth It" answer than "Yes Go".. But I would say if you have extra funds to flush down the drain, then go for it. At the end, it may well be an experience worth that cost.

Between, just understand, trade-events have become an unnecessary outlet for small business just kicking off.

Assaf Igell
0
0
Assaf Igell Entrepreneur
Growth consultant. Performance Marketing Director.
WebSummit is exciting. They are quite reputable although they are also famous for ripping off high attendance fees from broke startups. Honest disclosure: I've passed on WS invitations several times before. There has been lots of arguments about their ticket fees being way too high, inappropriate, and often unjustified for early stage startups. If I lived near Lisbon I would swallow my resistance and purchase the tickets to attend. But I wouldn't make major travel plans to go if I didn't live nearby. Another thing to consider, now that you have been accepted... you can reach out to investors who plan to attend, let them know that you have been accepted. Tell them that you are considering to save your limited funds and skip the attendance. And ask if they think it is necessary for them to meet you there or if you can simply set time to meet at their convenience. Congrats on your acceptance and good luck!
Guy Poreh
2
0
Guy Poreh Entrepreneur
Founder, Playground
Honestly, It's a wonderful way to waste your seed money and get really frustrated.
Everybody gets accepted to exhibit at conferences and there's no need to repeat what the smart people before me said.

But, if you can get yourself to present on a stage, or be part on an expert panel, then you have a real chance of getting somewhere.

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