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Social media has made networking easier than ever before, but nothing beats the real-life interactions and professional relationships cultivated in a conference setting. But with so many conferences worldwide, it can be difficult to know which ones to prioritize and which ones to skip.

Today, we’ll cover the best startup conferences to attend this year as well as how to choose the right conference for your purposes.

 

Why should you consider attending a conference?

Whether you run your own company or are an aspiring freelancer, conferences can help advance your career.

Build your network. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to meet hundreds of industry veterans and thought leaders in a single space. You may find your next business partner or potential new hire.

Expand your education. Typically, seminars, talks, keynotes, and other industry resources are readily available at conferences, allowing anyone to learn and develop new insights. What does the future hold for your industry? How can you improve on your work? What are some of your peers doing in the same space?

Discover new opportunities. You never know what you may find at a conference. You could be one of the first guests to demo new technology, or receive special discounts to a new product, or join new groups and communities.

 

5 noteworthy startup conferences in 2019

 

Disrupt SF

One of the earliest startup conferences in the tech space, Disrupt SF continues to prove its legacy as one of the most important showcases and networking events for all kinds of startups. The conference is organized by tech publisher TechCrunch, and is held in San Francisco in early October.

Disrupt SF is also where the Startup Battlefield Competition is held, a free competition for startups to enter and win a $100,000 cash prize, coaching, and top-tier investment. The competition is responsible for launching Dropbox, Mint, and Fitbit.

 

Collision

Billed as “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference” by Inc., Collision hosts tech startups from all around the world in Toronto each May. In its five years since its founding, Collision has grown to accommodate over 25,000 attendees. This year, there are an estimated 3,750+ CEOs attending, from Ev Williams (Founder and CEO of Medium) to Christina Miller (President of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim).

 

Web Summit

If you’re looking for a more international conference, you can’t do much better than Web Summit, held in Lisbon. Web Summit is organized by the same people behind Collision, so expect to see a similar presence of CEOs and attendees. This year, Microsoft President Brad Smith, Hulu CEO Randy Freer, and Booking.com CEO Gillian Tans are just a few of the confirmed speakers attending.

 

Lean Startup Conference

Maybe you’re less interested in what big companies are doing and want actionable information for how to operate your own lean startup. Then the Lean Startup Conference is for you. This one-week event hosted each October is designed to educate your team in building a modern startup through lean principles. The conference was originally founded by Eric Ries, the same person behind The Lean Startup, a book about building your own company using agile methodology.

 

Summit LA19

Summit LA19 isn’t really a conference- it actually presents itself as an “ideas festival”. Over three days, various thought leaders, industry veterans, and experts come together over gourmet food, insightful talks, performance art, and much more, to build meaningful personal and professional relationships. Scheduled for this November, look out for Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Co-inventor of CRISPR-Cas9 Jennifer Doudna.

 

How to choose the right conference

Each conference is different so you may wonder which ones to prioritize.

Start by writing down your business’s goals. Is it to rapidly expand in the next few years? Is it to maintain? To find inspiration? To hire new partners? Once you better understand your own objectives, you can choose which conferences best suit your business.

Next, you need to determine your business’s budget to attend a conference, even if you plan on going solo. Some of these conferences, such as Disrupt SF and Web Summit, will cost far more than local conferences.

Finally, you may need to do your own research to find conferences that apply to your own specific industry or niche. Most of these are tech conferences, which may not be of use to businesses in the hospitality or healthcare sector.

Whether you go to a conference on this list or one near your office, conferences can open the gateways of possibility for your business. Put yourself outside your comfort zone, and discover how your brand can truly grow. For more content on building your business, visit Novel Coworking’s blog today.