San Diego Startup Week – Recap & Thoughts
Whew! San Diego Startup Week is behind us. I hope you were there, met someone interesting, enjoyed yourself &/or learned something. Thanks again to all our sponsors and volunteers that made it all possible – we couldn’t have done it without your efforts and support.
Personally, I am glad for many reasons, but generally 1) thought it was overall a success and am proud of what a small team was able to put together, 2) it was a huge improvement over what we were able to do last year and 3) we can finally relax a bit and get back to personal priorities.
In the spirit of transparency, I wanted to share some takeaways, thoughts, and requests with the community. The organizers had a recap meeting a week after the event and synthesized your feedback from the survey (+ we want to hear more in the comments!).
- Attendance. ~600-700 total attendees (~300 week long passes purchased, lots of one-off event passes sold) Almost all events were full, except end of week (burnout?)
- Quality & Involvement. General caliber of events was vastly improved, still a range. 15 total events from 8 different startup organizations (+ some more the appeared last minute). Top 3 events (by ratings) were (in order): Opening Ceremonies, Tech Crawl, Mentor Night
- PR. Attention in local press about the event, a few national pieces, even some TV spots!
- Demographics. Especially impressed with the m/f balance (more than I’ve seen in any city)
- Better organization / information for events ahead of time
- Too many parties. One opening party and one to close would have probably been enough. Parties didn’t have the same attendance or energy as the week progressed.
- Too many demos. While demos have their place, our feeling was there were ~4-5 pitch/demo-centric events within the same number of days. The events that were either geared towards topical issues or smaller interactions (or just fun) faired better.
- Some events will be cut/changed as the response was only mediocre.
- Moving the date so we have students in town
- Topical tracks. Perhaps by stage (idea/team-building phase, pre-seed, post-funding) or biggest issues (like GTM or Customer Development or Fundraising)
- Small interaction activities (more events like Mentor Night – one idea we plan to try is to enable groups of 4-8 people to grab dinner around town)
- Career-fair type event for startups to recruit talent & interns (hopefully open-air)