I attended LAUNCH Festival, an event for companies to debut their product and seek angel investment. Since I was not looking for funding, I did not have any specific goals for the conference. All I wanted was to meet some cool people and have a good time. I am happy to say I had an awesome time!
LAUNCH made great use of the conference center space. It was divided into 4 areas: main stage, office hours, demo tables, lunch area.
Main stage is where the pitching happens. Startups come on stage to wow us with their presentation, judge give feedback, and award seed funding at the end of the festival. It's a great place to hear how entrepreneurs turn ideas into products.
If you want more interaction, head to office hours. There was a great lineup of entrepreneurs and VCs hosting 45 minute fireside chats, handing out advice and answering questions. I really like the intimate setting.
Besides main stage and office hours, you can also get on your feet and wander around in the demo table area. There were startups from all over the world showcasing their products. I had a great time chatting with the founders.
Last but not least, the lunch area. People sit down to catch up with email, take a quick bite to re-energize, and chat with whoever happen to be at the same table. This is where serendipity works its magic. Many times I came just to take a break, and ended up having a wonderful conversation.
One thing that strike me was the geographic diversity of the startups. There were founders from Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Croatia, Hong Kong, Kenya etc, all flocking to Silicon Valley to jumpstart their companies. I feel really privileged to live in the mecca of high-tech entrepreneurship.