Recent reports predict it could be a rough road ahead for start-ups looking for investment to help them grow their business, but Collision 2016 was filled with entrepreneurs who weren’t letting a little bad news, or New Orleans thunderstorms, dampen their spirits.
“It's not as big as CES or as well-known as SXSW, but Collision is a hybrid of sorts that straddles the inclusiveness of a CES with the exclusivity of Code Conference, where attendees pay a premium to hobnob with high-profile speakers,“ said Jon Swartz in USA Today.
I was fortunate to speak at this event last year in Las Vegas, and happily served as an emcee this year, introducing Enterprise Stage speakers like Bill Briggs, CTO of Deloitte, and panels with a variety of company founders. According to Collision, the average length an attendee spent in one session was eight minutes and 43 seconds – not much time to make an impression.
Jason Bloomberg moderated the panel on driving user engagement through content discovery and noted in Forbes the difficulty attendees also had in discovering new companies that stood out among the 630 startups who exhibited at Collision.
“The real challenge,” Bloomberg wrote, “Is finding those gems in the rough. Startups not only with real products and viable business models, but who also have a good shot at disrupting their respective markets.”
I was looking specifically for those that were using Dell technology to do that. It was great to meet customers from all around the globe and learn about what they are creating – from predictive analytics models for the stock markets to wearable devices for a more accessible way to monitor physical activity and rehabilitation.
And, I couldn’t help but be proud when TeachMe CEO and Co-founder Bill Kara who was demonstrating their educational content on one of our Dell Chromebooks told me that they were the best Chromebooks out there.
Other Dell customers at Collision included YouCasting, event staff hiring service in Brazil; Tipon, a mobile tipping app in Columbia; Digisync Info Solutions, an India-based platform between jobseekers and recruiters; Germany’s thismo messaging service for businesses; product incubator yalla-ya with offices in Israel, Mexico and South Africa; and Morechoice from Panama who are bringing the Airbnb business model to the event and meeting space market.
There were also companies like Scratch which promises to enable creators, online entrepreneurs and nonprofits to turn “micro” transactions in profit; and, Shoop an open-source ecommerce platform (not just a Salt-N-Pepa song).
“We connected and exchanged great ideas, and glimpsed into thousands of keyholes. What got us glued to the event was the ability to share the mass how our organization and works can augment various industries.”
More than 400 investors were there to hear such pitches, and 400 mentor hour sessions happened where experienced entrepreneurs and investors offered candid advice to startups. Connections of the unofficial kind were made, as well, and I attended a grassroots “Women in Tech” gathering described in Huffington Post as an “organically growing meetup in a MacGyver-esque fashion.” It had that old feeling of the early days of social media that can be hard to find at other events.
“While Collision isn’t as large as CES or SXSW (yet),” said Fred Schonenberg in MediaPost. “It has captured the vibe of authentic innovation that propelled those two conferences to must-attend status.”
More than 11,000 people from 106 countries put it in their plans this year. You didn’t have to be there to benefit, though. Elite Daily used tweets from the conference to compile 13 tips for starting your own business!
I’m already looking forward to meeting more of those new businesses being built on Dell technology at Collision 2017.
All images courtesy Collision Conf via Creative Commons