From meetups to international conferences: Why events matter year-round

This week, the Startup team is at Inventures, an unconference where creative minds connects entrepreneurs and start-ups with venture capitalists, angel investors, service providers, and thought leaders to discover and share the latest in innovation coming. While just a few weeks ago, the startup community was out in full force at Collision, North America’s fastest growing tech conference. We thought it would be a great time to look at how events (big and small) have an impact on Edmonton’s tech founders.

While there’s no doubt Collision was an amazing experience for the 10 Edmonton startups that participated, social events are equally as important to the success of the city’s ecosystem.

Here’s what Tiffany Linke-Boyko, our CEO, had to say.

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Let’s start with Collision. What are the benefits of going to a large international conference like that?

Tiffany: Our companies were able to interact with investors, potential customers and peers all in one spot. And some of those people wouldn’t necessarily have come to Edmonton. What shakes down is dependent on each party, but I think being able to reach a different network than you would normally provides a really interesting opportunity.

But conferences are only valuable if you put in the work before: find out who’s going, do your research and set up meetings. Attending the talks are great, but even better is if you can talk to one of the speakers later or set up meetings around the conference so you can maximize your time. And use the evening events to meet even more people. A lot of good relationships are made during those casual interactions.

That’s true. There’s a lot of emphasis on transactional exchanges (meeting with venture capitalists, customer demos) at these international conferences. What are the benefits to attending some more casual events that happen throughout the year?

Tiffany: You never know who you meet and what value they can bring to you or you can bring to them. Sometimes it’s not something immediate, it’s down the road. I think sometimes it’s forgotten that the smaller interactions tend to have a bigger impact on your company. Things like meetups or going to different events and getting to know the community helps to expand your network, so that when you run into challenges, you’re able to reach out.

Do you have any favourite local events?

Tiffany: DemoCamp is my favourite event. I like it because there’s a casualness about it. If you are a hardcore tech builder that’s been in the community for a long time you can find your place. Or if this is your first event it’s casual enough that you can come and not feel intimidated. And I like that it’s all about the product and building things, and celebrating people trying out different ideas regardless of if it will turn into a company.

What advice do you have for the founder trying to juggle networking with a dozen other priorities?

Tiffany: It’s hard for founders in the middle of all they have going on to try to make time for networking. It’s not about making time for everything, but about being strategic. Inventure$ is an example of an international conference that’s just three hours down the road. But making time for those things is important, because it’s a whole lot harder to build networks when you’re in the thick of it. If you do little steps along the way, that will help you in the long run.


WE CAN’T WAIT TO MEET YOU!

There are hundreds of meetups and community events in our space every year, and there is no better time than now to commit to coming to one in the next month! From data science to product management, civic engagement to learning to code - there are awesome, passionate, and knowledgable meetup leaders that are happy to introduce you to the community.