I had a chance to attend the TechCrunch meet up in Toronto last week, it was a packed house of 800+ people. However is it about quality or quantity?
Trying to put myself in the shoes of the startups in the room my goal would be three-fold:
- Get funding – there was maybe 2 people in the room that represented the funding side (venture capitalist, angel investor, bank, etc)
- Find customers – lots of competitors who have similar business models, few people with disposable household budgets
- Get marketing/ exposure – they actively did NOT invite any traditional medial and/or industry specific bloggers.
So what was left? A room of people all pitching their start up ideas, way too many “me too” services trying to break through the clutter, but unfortunately
TechCrunch over the years has been a massive media machine that covers and brings together the “US startup ecosystem” however they failed to do the same thing when they rolled through Toronto last week. Was it their focus – based on my conversations that I had with TechCrunch staff – it was NOT. They have a brand, they are cocky behind what it represents (in the US) and assume that Canadians will follow blindly to the hype. As a matter of fact when I spoke to one of the individuals who organized the event they said “No, we don’t need any media here, we are TechCrunch.”. I’m all for being
cocky confident but at least back it up, give your customers value for their money. As I was walking into the event I overheard 2 conversations with other attendees who had expected there would be media in the room to cover the companies who open their wallets and are spending their money – guess they were surprised as well.
Toronto has a good startup community, one that will often support the startups as they aim to be the next 100 billion dollar company. There are a number of media outlets and bloggers within Toronto who would cover and blog about these companies, but apparently TechCrunch doesn’t need them.
Success is defined differently by different people, for me, spending $1,500 to be in a room of other startups is not success.