As we are preparing the calendar and the budget for the company that I am advising right now, I wanted to know which are the best conferences to attend during this fall and early 2018. We are interested mainly in conferences that can provide access to investors, partners, and media exposure.
If you could also explain why you think it makes sense to attend the conference that you are suggesting that would be greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much in advance for your help!
I suggest looking for specific conferences, where your customers are attending. The more customers you have the better chance that investors, partners and media will reach you :)
The conferences you should go are your customers conferences. That is where you will find the connections that will help grow your business.
This can depend on your location, budget, type of business, and goals.
For example, in Vancouver Canada, the Vancouver Startup Week event (which was last week) is a great resource for startups and includes investors, potential partners, and fellow startups.
I tend to find non-local conferences to be quite expensive. There are many conferences available by topic area, so choosing needs clear goals and research to check for match. One of the companies I have worked for was always struggling to juggle the tradeoffs between which of the many to attend, setting aside sufficient budget, and the resource cost of key people being away from the business during Spring and Fall (the most frequent time range).
For investors, I would lean towards finding investor groups and pitch circuits to connect with. Or, depending on the stage of your company, check out accelerator organizations like Y-Combinator (ycombinator.com). They definitely help with those areas.
For media coverage, there are techniques to build relationships with reporters so that you can get coverage. For example, research to find which reporter best matches your area (for example, sports or health, big or small newspaper that your market segment reads, etc.). Follow their work and interact. Position yourself as an expert that they can ask for input on short notice when they are preparing a story. You can submit story ideas, ensure it is not a sales article, and match their style as much as you can - make it easy for them to publish.
Good article on getting the most out of conferences
Like anything in a startup asking the right question is often more important than the answer. The first question is why do you need to attend a conference as an early stage startup? A few options:
1. see what others are doing in your space
2. learn about business / technology
3. network with potential future clients
4. network with potential investors
and of course the most important question is if you need to go at all at this stage. At early stage you may find that you have better things to do with your limited time and money than go to a conference
Once you have asked the right questions, the answers will present themselves