By Annu Britten and Sher Najafi
If you work at a Vancouver startup, you’ve probably attended so many meetups that local brews are becoming a food group. And we love it – they’re relaxed occasions to see new office spaces, build new connections, and revive old ones.
You even considered hosting one yourself, but then drafted a daunting to-do list and scrapped the idea. Don’t sweat it – we’re here to tell you it’s easier that it looks. You’ll brand your startup as an industry leader, and get your employees excited too.
We checked-in with Annu Britten – startup events master behind Traction Conference, Launch Academy, and Vancouver Startup Week. She’s done it all – from filling tech offices for happy hours, to selling tickets to events for thousands. She’s got a few tips from her experience engaging the startup community.
Your events get people out the door and in an office on their personal time. That’s not easy. What do you think is the biggest draw for Vancouverites?
Give valuable content, and people will come. Vancouver has exciting meetups, community driven events to help startup growth, world class conferences, and intimate speaker sessions with successful entrepreneurs. Our startup ecosystem is one to watch, and Startup Genome recently ranked Vancouver as Canada’s top startup hub. As an example, Traction Conference had a huge turnout from not only Vancouver, but also San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto and other tech hubs.
Cool success stories?
Hands down the “People, Puppies, & Ping Pong” event held at Unbounce last year. It was an absolute hit! Local talent got to connect with HR reps from top tech companies, with some unique event perks. It was also great exposure for the assistance dog charity PADS.
How do startups benefit from hosting?
All eyes are on Vancouver right now, and our startups are a pretty exciting place to be. When you open your doors, you’ll gain exposure to thousands of engaged individuals in the Vancouver’s tech and innovation communities and build lasting industry relationships. It’s time to show the world what we have, and Vancouver Startup Week is a great way to join the celebration and educate newcomers.
Tools to plan a great event with ease?
At VSW, we have a great team of volunteers guide you through your event planning journey. We can advise you on the content of your event, timeslots, introduce you to potential partners, and be onsite to make your event a success. Bonus: we take care of marketing and selling passes so you can focus on planning your killer event. Don’t worry about trying to fill the room – we do that for you.
Advice on common challenges for event hosts?
There are always challenges, especially when working for a not-for-profit and having budget constraints. Both Launch Academy and VSW events are volunteer led and executed, this often means your staff are learning about event details on the day! Volunteers are always amazing beings, giving their time to help a cause, so my one piece of advice is set your volunteers up for success. Try to foresee their needs and the questions they’ll be asked from your guests. Draft a FAQ handout and a running schedule for reference.
Vancouver Startup Week is an absolute blast! An entire week of amazing content, off the chart parties and Startup Open House, allowing you take a sneak peek into the spaces of the best startups in town.
As a host, make sure to do all the legwork beforehand and so you’ll enjoy yourself on event day. You’ll meet amazing startup folk eager to learn about you, so get organized beforehand and you’ll put your best foot forward while having fun!