By Jessyca Dewey, contributor via the Underground Group
If you’re an up-and-coming entrepreneur looking to enter the new decade with a fresh viewpoint on the tech landscape, then planning to attend some of the leading technology conferences in 2020 is a good place to start.
These conferences are a hotbed for sales and business development. Plus, there’s no better place to make some new business relationships and find inspiration.
Not sure where to start? Below is a list of some of the most anticipated tech conferences of 2020, tailored to founders.
What: No big deal -- CES is only the biggest technology event on the planet. This conference is relatively low-cost, which makes it a great option for many budding entrepreneurs. It’s full of the potential to make relational connections and learn from industry visionaries. As of late, speaker sessions are focused around the internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning. On the show floor, expect to see advances in foldable technology, immersive audio and more.
When: January 7–10, 2020
Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
How to attend: This one is simple; use your acceptable business credentials to sign up. Yes, you can still do so even though this year’s conference has already started.
Price: There are several registration pricing options available, depending on your finances, interest and commitment level. Prices range from $300 for Basic Registration to $1,700 for the Deluxe Conference Pass. See details on what’s included at each level.
Mobile World Congress Barcelona
What: This is the premiere conference for those whose businesses center around 5G and other advances in mobile technology. Attend keynote speeches from innovators and leaders like Robert Bakish, president and CEO of Viacom, and Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis. You’ll have an opportunity to meet these folks, too. And, if you like tapas and sangria, well, that’s also a big perk of the location, isn’t it?
When: February 24–27, 2020
Where: Barcelona, Spain
How to attend: Register here.
Price: €799–€4,999 (about $895-$5,595 USD). Basic entry starts at €799 while the Platinum Pass for €4,999 includes perks like priority seating at the keynotes and a VIP meeting room. To decide which tier is right for you, click “show pass features” on the conference site for a handy chart.
The Montgomery Summit
What: Network in an intimate and casual environment with entrepreneurs, investors and executives in technology. This invite-only conference offers some remarkable keynote speakers and an insider perspective on all things tech. The major benefit here is that due to its intimate nature, the Summit is hyper focused on building and fostering new business relationships with a curated group of leaders in the tech space.
When: March 4–5, 2020
Where: Santa Monica, Calif.
How to attend: This conference is by invite only. Invitations are reserved for senior level investors, entrepreneurs, executives and thought leaders. If you meet the requirements, start the process of getting an invitation by contacting the Summit team. If not, keep honing your leadership skills and check out the blog posts on the Summit’s site, authored by its VIPs.
Price: $1,795–$6,995. Pricing varies depending on the invitee’s registration type. Entrepreneurs, investors and corporate development professionals pay a regular rate of $2,295. Service providers such as lawyers, tax accountants and financial advisors pay a regular rate of $2,995. Attendees can upgrade to the VIP experience package for a total of $6,995, and early registration discounts are available.
South By Southwest (SXSW)
What: If your strengths and interests lie in the crossroads of artistry and creation, technology and innovation, then head to SXSW to get your fill of inspiration -- and great barbecue. Plus, it never hurts to keep you pulse on what “the kids” are doing. With a youthful attendee group, SXSW has a Trade Show at the heart of the conference where both startups and leading companies showcase their latest tech. If you get bored of being all business, all the time, then make your way to the film, music or comedy festivals.
When: March 13–22, 2020
Where: Austin, Texas
How to attend: Register here.
Price: $485–$1,475. Pricing starts at $485 for the Edu Badge and goes up to $1,475 for the Platinum Badge, which includes priority access to all events. See which badge is right for you.
What: Chances are you know about TED, but you may not know why TED2020 is a conference you should consider attending. The event is “a week to explore the deepest insights across all disciplines and ask the questions about ourselves that we often don’t have time for,” according to the website.
This may not be the conference where you refine your elevator pitch through repeated practice. However, this may be the conference that opens your mind to advances in tech, entertainment and design while connecting you with people whose philosophies leave you feeling light and empowered to solve problems creatively. If that doesn’t sound like an inspiring, rejuvenating experience, we don’t know what does.
When: April 20–24, 2020
Where: Vancouver, Canada
How to attend: First, apply to become a member of the TED community. TED is looking for leaders in their fields, and the application process involves providing information about your background and story.
Price: TED memberships range from $5,000–$25,000 annually, or $250,000 for a Patron-level, five-year membership. At every tier, a significant portion of the fee is tax-deductible. See more on membership levels.
What: Tech greats convene for this invite-only event which features Kara Swisher, editor-at-large of Recode and NY Times contributing opinion writer, “grilling the titans of the industry” on their wins and losses, per the conference site. This year’s speakers include Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Airbnb co-founders Brian Chesky and Nathan Blecharczyk on topics like “the rise of the data economy.”
Expect headlines beyond Swisher’s interviews, too: This is where venture capitalist Mary Meeker unveils her annual Internet Trends report and where Hillary Clinton gave her first post-election interview. In short, it’s a place to learn, see and be seen.
When: May 26-18, 2020
Where: Beverly Hills, Calif.
How to attend: Apply for an invite. Invitations are reserved for C-suite executives, representatives from tech and media companies and influential investors and entrepreneurs. Not you? Don’t worry; Swisher’s interviews usually appear online afterward.
Price: Amounts aren’t publicly posted, but tickets reportedly go for about $9,000.
TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2020
What: Tech disruptors Mint, FitBit and Dropbox were born out of TechCrunch Disrupt’s legendary Startup Battlefield Competition, in which 25 chosen participants receive advice, coaching and a chance to pitch a panel of top-tier investors all while battling it out for $100,000 in funding. In addition to the competition, be sure to catch a talk from Snap’s Evan Spiegel and outer-space chats with Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson and Blue Origin’s Bob Smith.
When: Sept. 14–16, 2020
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
How to attend: Early in the year, anyone can pre-register online for $500 off a conference ticket. Open registration comes later.
Price: In 2019, enrollment started at $145. As of publication, 2020 prices have not yet been released.
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