Attending the right conferences for startups can help you and your new company rocket not just to the next level, but into the stratosphere. Choose the right startup conferences and you’ll make new deals, forge bonds with other entrepreneurs, and get inspired to set, meet and beat even more of your goals this year and beyond.
But which startup conferences are truly worth your time, effort and money? We’ve got you covered with this list of the best startup conferences to attend throughout the next year based on what they offer to attendees, event reputation and entrepreneur feedback.
Startup conferences in July 2017
When: July 11, 2017 through July 17, 2017
Where: Portland, Oregon
“An unconventional weekend for unconventional thinkers.” Although tickets for #WDS2017 are already sold out according to the website, at the time of this writing there are one or two stray tickets here and there on Twitter from people who have to cancel last minute—and they all seem bummed. The World Domination Summit is for entrepreneurs who find themselves on the outskirts of an already adventurous group, seeking out disruptive, adventurous experiences. Here you’ll spend some serious quality time with growth hackers, startup founders, serial entrepreneurs and miscellaneous disrupters who want to take charge of what tomorrow looks like.
When: July 12, 2017 through July 15, 2017
Where: Montréal, Canada
Startup+Fest is a truly global gathering of the best founders, entrepreneurs, mentors and investors from all over the world. At this conference you’ll find people at all levels of startup success, from serious heavy hitters to people who are just starting out. There are lots of fun activities along with keynotes, interesting predictions, useful and interactive how-to sessions, and plenty of social time for networking and bonding. There are also multiple premium fests within the larger conference, including AcceleratorFest, AngelFest, HackerFest, and ScaleUpFest. Follow #Startupfest on Twitter to see what’s going on!
Startup conferences in August 2017
When: August 1, 2017 through August 5, 2017
Where: Lake Buena Vista, Florida
The CEO Space conference is a serious business growth accelerator event. The five days of events are geared toward all kinds of entrepreneurs, of all ages—in fact, this August conference includes a Young Entrepreneur Program, YEP!, if you’ve got an ambitious family member who might want to get their feet wet this summer learning how to start a business instead of waiting tables. CEO Space is also known for high-quality educational events taught by vetted subject matter experts who can teach you everything from legal strategies to tax planning tips.
When: August 18, 2017 through August 20, 2017
Where: Long Beach, California
Wonder Woman Tech is an international conference that educates, showcases, and most importantly celebrates women and diversity in STEAM professions (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). This conference turns typical events on their heads, offering some of the more common events like speakers, influencers, panel discussions and breakouts, and thought leaders, but it also goes further, offering a diversity career fair sponsored by Amazon, a science fair showcase, a junior innovation camp, and STEAM camps for people with disabilities, seniors and more. Look for #WeAreChangeMakers on social media to see WW Tech participants and others talking shop.
Startup conferences in September 2017
When: September 18, 2017 through September 20, 2017
Where: San Francisco, California
This is the West Coast version of TechCrunch Disrupt, one of the most famous startup events and now a don’t-miss conference for entrepreneurs and investors as well as startup founders. Just as renowned for its 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Battlefield competition, and after-parties as for some of its more traditional offerings of keynote speakers and discussions, TechCrunch Disrupt is a sure bet for startups. Follow #Disrupt_SF_2017 on Twitter to watch developments and get the latest buzz.
Startup conferences in October 2017
When: October 22, 2017 through October 25, 2017
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
Money 20/20 is the single biggest payments and financial services and technology conference anywhere. It features literally hundreds of exhibitors, speakers, and leaders in the industry and showcases a massive exhibit floor and hackathon. In other words, if your startup has anything to do with money, including the goal of earning money, you can get a lot out of being here. And don’t forget the fringe benefits such as networking with more than 11,000 other attendees from more than 4,500 companies and 85 countries; what we’re saying is, the after parties are pretty awesome. #Money2020
Startup conferences in November 2017
When: November 3, 2017 through November 6, 2017
Where: Los Angeles, California
Summit 2017 is an invite-only conference, but it’s worth trying to finagle that invitation. This conference used to be the Summit-at-Sea cruise, but now they’re keeping the conference on land with a themed event in Los Angeles styled after a “World’s Fair.” This year speakers include Beth Comstock of GE, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Malcolm Gladwell the researcher and best-selling author, Peter Thomson of the United Nations, Arianna Huffington (yes, the HuffPo), Tim Ferriss the productivity guru, and about a zillion other luminaries from across many disciplines—what they have in common is success, period.
Startup conferences in December 2017
When: December 12, 2017
Where: Brooklyn, New York
Round out your 2017 with a single long, crazy day and night of tech companies and startups revealing their own true stories to a crowd of people just as driven as you are. If it sounds intense, it is, and even when the day’s events are over you’re just getting started: 30 local tech influencers host tables in the After Hours beer garden to keep you hooked into the wee hours. #TNWNYC is the Twitter watchword to keep up with what this high-energy crowd is doing.
Startup conferences in February 2018
When: February 12, 2018 through February 14, 2018
Where: Redwood City, California
Startup Grind, which bills itself as the Google for startups, hosts this Silicon Valley conference designed to help entrepreneurs connect and collaborate. In 2017 there were around 85 well-known keynote speakers and 100 startup exhibits showing their wares to more than 200 investors and over 3,000 potential customers. You can learn to pitch more effectively, and you may even get chosen to pitch on the main stage. If the conference stays true to form, #StartupGrind2018 will be the phrase in use for the 2018 event.
Startup conferences in March 2018
When: March 9, 2018 through March 18, 2018
Where: Austin, Texas
SxSW is one of the most talked-about conferences running right now, and no wonder; it blends tech, science, the arts and basic humans more effectively than any other, with the end result of being a first-rate cultural experience, not just some kind of professional event. Yes, the SxSW panels and speakers are amazing, but the real power of this conference is the entire community that takes over Austin for more than a week in the best possible way. Go for the parties and networking alone and there’s no way you’ll leave disappointed, and the actual conference events will be a bonus. #SxSW is the Twitter hashtag to follow.
Startup conferences in April 2018
When: April 2018, dates TBD
Where: According to reports, in 2018 it will be held in Sydney, moving from San Francisco for the first time.
I know what you’re thinking: why is this a festival and not a conference—and if it is a festival, why is it on this list? This startup conference is intended by its creators and organizers to be an epic celebration of entrepreneurship, hence the festival title and atmosphere. It is typically attended by more than 15,000 people, and supported by IBM, Microsoft and others. 50 of those lucky attendees actually get the chance to pitch onstage to about 2,000 people, and the best ideas get funded afterward. If you’re looking to get motivated, be inspired by some amazing stories, meet angel investors and look over VCs’ portfolios, and learn growth and scaling tactics from founders and investors, this is a great choice. On Twitter, #LAUNCHfestival gives you the global watercooler gossip.
Startup conferences in May 2018
When: April 30, 2018 through May 3, 2018
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Billed as the fastest-growing tech conference in America and created by the organizers of Web Summit, Collision Conference is fabulous for tech entrepreneurs—truly one of the premiere conference options. It’s also located in New Orleans, meaning you’ll have unparalleled opportunities for amazing tourism, food, drink, and other revelry—and you’ll be there just in time for the Jazz Festival, what a shame! No wonder you can find CEOs and startup founders of the most disruptive new businesses out there at this conference. Who doesn’t want to meet up with potential co-founders, customers, investors and amazing friends during Jazz Fest? Check out #CollisionConf on Twitter for the latest news.
Startup conferences in June 2018
When: June 2018, dates TBD
Where: New York City
It seems fitting to end the fiscal year with the Future of Fintech conference. This is a biggie, focused on the major trends in fintech across the board, including artificial intelligence, automation, blockchain, insurtech, regtech, and much more. Even if fintech isn’t your thing, if you’re running a startup, you really need to know about these trends to stay competitive, and this is a great way to learn and keep current in a short period of time.
The bottom line
These conferences are more than professional engagements; they’re life experiences created by and for people with enough vision to make it as entrepreneurs. Now that you know which startup conferences are the best to attend, the only question left is: which one are you going to first?