The start-ups and expensive conferences paradox, here’s a solution

The start-ups and expensive conferences paradox, here’s a solution

Ok, so conferences are really important if you want to get the word out about your start-up. Meeting people face to face and getting a chance to pitch your start-up to an influential via a different way than his overloaded inbox is just priceless. Unfortunately, the conference ticket fee isn’t. 750 euros 1250 euros, it’s too pricey for most start-ups either way. Let alone the flight and a place to stay.

My dear colleagues at The Next Web found a solution for that by starting their own conference three years ago, but something tells me there must be more simple way. Michael Arrington gave it a try by organizing TechCrunch 50. But the tough selection and weird ways of communicating with start-ups (more on that later) have turned that event into a fortress as well.

Find some part-time angels

Earlier this year, a few weeks before the Next Web conference took place, the no. 1 Twitter user from Holland Erwin Blom started an initiative that helped start-ups to see our keynote speakers like Scoble and Werner Vogels, but most of all, to meet other attendees. Blom decided to start a pool where people can drop in some money to buy a ticket for some of the starting entrepreneurs. Some part-time angels did this and we decided to double every euro collected. All a start-up had to do to get a ticket was sending in a three minute video pitch.

Get them to Picnic

In the end, 16 start-ups got a free ticket for the Next Web conference. A great result, if you ask me. For the second best web conference of Holland (biased opinion, I know :-)), Picnic, Blom is doing the same thing – though with a different format. Now he wants start-ups to show the public a week of their start-up life on Seesmic. Here’s an example by John Nota from Zideo (Dutch only, sorry):

Dag 3

This turned out to be a bit too much to ask, so now Blom just wants coverage of three days. I would’ve ignored the comments, as we’re talking about a ticket of 1250 euros here (!!). Anyhow, I figured I share this original way of getting start-ups at conferences. Some might not have the money, but they sure have an interesting story! How about starting a similar initiative in your own country?

Read next: New funding & more star investors for online travel service Dopplr