Knowledge & Networking All Over the World: Conferences for Startups in 2014

One of the best parts about being involved in a startup is the networks of communities all over the world, made up of like-minded entrepreneurs, poised to launch the next great ideas. Unfortunately, another aspect of being involved in a startup means being stuck in the office for 5+ days a week. It can be hard to come up with the next great idea when you’ve been staring at the same wall for months.

The antidote to office hypnosis? Give your team the opportunity to break free and gain fresh perspective through any of these conferences happening all over the globe. They each provide a valuable opportunity to soak up the knowledge and experience of seasoned entrepreneurs, talented developers, social media gurus, and motivated people from all walks of life. Who knows what new ideas you’ll walk away with — and maybe even a tan? (Social Media World in San Diego is calling my name.)

Check out this list of conferences we’ve compiled for 2014, and get your startup out there this year. If you see any of the Skaled team members — say hello!

(I’ll be the one stalking the food trucks. Yep — there will be plenty of food trucks.)


Small Business Web

  • February 20th-21st, San Jose, CA

The Small Business Web Summit was born when a group of founding companies (including MailChimp and Outright) were heading to SXSW in Austin and realized they all had similar philosophies about making life easier for small businesses. Their Small Business Manifesto states that, “small businesses should have access to the same tools and technology that big companies have without paying a huge amount.” We’re into that idea, and we’re pretty sure your startup is too.

Startup Grind

  • February 3-5, Mountain View, CA

A “worldwide community event” that takes place in the epicenter of entrepreneurship, The Startup Grind touts big name sponsors (hi Google!) and even bigger name speakers (MC Hammer!!!).  It’s coming up soon, but tickets are still available.

The Startup Conference

  • May 14, Redwood City, CA

2,000 entrepreneurs will be descending on Redwood City, California for this one. Startups can purchase booth space at the Startup Fair and pitch the crowds of like-minded entrepreneurs. The conference has been featured on Forbes, Venturebeat, and CNET, so it’ll just keep getting bigger from here.

Launch Festival

  • February 24-26, San Francisco, CA

Companies will compete for prizes in a variety of categories, from Best New Enterprise Product to Best New Social Product. Use the promo code “LAUNCH25OFF” for 25% off your ticket. Speaking of last year’s event, Don Doge of Google claims, …they raised the bar for startup conferences. The quality of the companies was world class.

International Startup Festival

  • July 9-12, Montreal

International Startup Festival combines the networking and learning accessibility of a conference with the atmosphere of a festival. The outside space is decked out with hammocks, tents, and food trucks, and the schedule is packed with interactive how-to sessions, keynotes, and networking opportunities.

Everywhere Else 

  • April 30-May 2, Memphis, TN
  • Sept. 29-Oct 1, Cincinnati, OH

Who needs Silicon Valley or NYC when you’ve got “everywhere else”? This conference is for all the “other” location based startups out there (but Silicon Valley and NYC peeps can probably sneak in as well.) The Startup Village provides an opportunity to get your startup in front of venture capitalist, angel investors, corporate executives and other entrepreneurs. Practice those pitches!



  •  May 25-June 1, Detroit
  • June 23-29, Chicago
  • September 29-Oct. 5, New York
  • Miami and Los Angeles, TBD

These week long celebrations of all things tech encourage innovation in the country’s biggest cities. Sessions will focus on “emerging trends, community impact, and everything inbetween.” A Hiring Fair provides opportunities to chat up employers, pitch ideas, and maybe even land that next job.

Game Developers Conference

  • March 17-21

As the largest “professionals only” gaming event, the Game Developers Conference pulls in a whopping crowd of 23,000 each year. Attendees are programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and more, convening to shape the future of the gaming industry.



  • May 1-3, Columbia, South Carolina

The creatives come together at Converge to use technology for the development of their ideas. Seven tracks take place, including Design, Gaming, Front-End, Makers, UX, Development, and Business & Marketing. Don’t worry about burning out from all these options and information — the “food truck rodeo” will keep your fed and fueled for three days of workshops and keynotes.


  • April 28-29, Brooklyn, NY

Re:Design focuses on salon-style discussions between UX/UI industry leaders and peers. The 2014 theme is “Better” and discussions will emphasize improvement products, processes, companies, and experience. Discussions are small and take place in the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood in a warehouse space suited for the creative minds that will fill it.

Social Media/Marketing

Social Media Marketing World

  • March 26-28, San Diego, CA

Brought to you by the guys and gals behind Social Media Examiner, one of the largest resources of social media marketing advice online, SMM World gives you 80+ sessions and plenty of networking opportunities. The opening night party takes place on an aircraft carrier so bring your dancin’ shoes along with your new ideas for social media and content strategy.

Social Media Week 

  • Feb. 17-21, 8 Global Locations

10,000 social media professionals participated all over the world in Social Media Week 2013. From New York to Bangalore, the movement will take off again this year, in eight countries spread across all five continents. If you’re of the go big or go home mentality, then this one’s for you.

Authority Intensive

  • May 7-9, Denver, CO

Copyblogger seems to be every marketing/content creation professionals favorite blog for witty and succinct advice on writing better words, and one can only assume their conference will carry the same successful tone. Authority will present content marketers with not only discussions and workshops on improving their craft, but also actionable “bundles” of tactics to take back to the office and put all that know-how to good use.


Which of these conferences will you be checking out this year? Any to add to the list?

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