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How to setup your startup for success at SXSW


How to make the most of startup/tech conferences

Tips for Startups:

Set your goals: Why are you attending? Are you fundraising? Networking? Learning? Or there to have fun—which is ok too!

Don’t wing it! Utilize the SXSW app to plan your schedule and research participants. The app helps with booking meetings and discovery. Ensure your profile is updated with photos, key links, and messages.

Be Bold: Touching base with your regional partners and groups is important but remember the greatest thing about SXSW is you get to meet people from all over North America and the world. Be brave and try to meet new people and ask great questions.

Update your social media to reflect that you’re @ SXSW. Let the world know you’re at SXSW. Add “@ SXSW” to your name on LinkedIn or Twitter/X to make yourself easily searchable. Need tweet ideas? Check out these 6 recommended tweets for conferences.

Clearly convey your value add. It’s helpful to frame this as “how can I help this person/brand/company” before switching to the transactional details.

Connect at social events and SXSW Evening events. Many of these events are designed to be a friendly environment to establish connections away from the hustle. These connections are often longer-lasting because they’re purposeful, not transactional.

If you DM or email someone, be clear in your ask. Instead of “Hi there I’d like to connect with you try “Hi FIRST NAME, I saw you’re working on [niche or industry topic] and wondered if we could chat for a few minutes during SXSW about [your specific ask or topic].

Wear very comfortable shoes and bring extras to ensure you stay focused and energetic throughout the event.

Follow Up Post-Conference: The real impact happens after the event. Follow up with the contacts you made, share insights from SXSW on your social media, and continue nurturing the relationships you’ve built.

Recommended Readings

First time attending SXSW? I got you.

Maximizing Tech Conferences: Insider Strategies for Networking Success

Essential Tips and Resources for Attendees

My First Timer’s Guide for Startups Going to SXSW

Alberta Innovates announces 50-company delegation to SXSW 2024

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