45 “Must Attend” Startup Conferences in 2016

We did the research on what events are actually worth attending so you don't have to.

February 6, 2016


Startup Grind

February 23-24 – Redwood City, CA ($525)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, CEOs, investors, press

They feature: Successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies. To date, Startup Grind has helped millions of entrepreneurs find mentorship, connect to partners and hires, pursue funding, and reach new users.



March 2-4 – Phoenix, AZ ($299 – $499)

In attendance: CEOs, entrepreneurs, small business owners

They feature: Over 4,000 entrepreneurs and the opportunity to attend 30 educational sessions. You can work with partners and experts to implement their sales and marketing frameworks and grow your small business.

Launch Festival

March 2-4 – San Francisco, CA (Free)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, startup employees, CEOs, investors, press

They feature: The event is jam-packed with value and is free to attend, thanks to the support of their partners. LAUNCH has the mission of “supporting founders & inspiring innovation” and has proved it year after year.

South By Southwest™ Interactive

March 11-15 – Austin, TX ($650 – $1645)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, artists, content creators, filmmakers, musicians, business executives, anyone interested in creative and professional growth

They feature: The event is a launch pad for new creative content. New media presentations, music showcases, and film screenings provide massive exposure for creators and compelling entertainment for audiences. Attendees learn from the conference panel discussions, business activity thrives at the trade shows, and everyone will have a chance to meet people from around the world.

Habit Summit

March 22 – Stanford, CA ($685)

In attendance: Product designers, executives, marketers, people who want to understand what makes customers tick

They feature: Understanding your users’ habits can be a game changer to your product or service. Habit Summit is hosted by Nir Eyal, author of Hooked, who has built a career around this exact topic.


VentureBeat Mobile Summit

April 4-5 – Sausalito, CA (Application)

In attendance: Chief executives, vice presidents, senior leaders focused on mobile initiatives

They feature: The most senior leaders coming together to debate the strategies and technologies they’re using to capture mobile audiences and grow their businesses. It’s exclusive, intimate, and primed for great discussion.

Converge SE

April 13-15 – Columbia, SC ($200 – $400)

In attendance: People who work on or with the web to make a living, like designers, developers, front end engineers, marketers, business leaders, startup entrepreneurs, film producers, and directors

They feature: Highly specific training in the form of keynote sessions and in-depth workshops on:

  • Design/UX: graphic design, web design, user experience, responsive design, content development, mobile first
  • Development: front end engineering, Ruby on Rails, database dev, devops, JavaScript, frameworks
  • Frontend: CSS, HTML, animation, responsive development, JavaScript, tooling, deployment
  • Business: leadership, management, strategy, sales, marketing

Elevate Summit

April 16 – Austin, TX ($299 – $349)

In attendance: Web and app professionals

They feature: keynote sessions & in-depth workshops about customer support and success for people who work on the web. This is the only conference on this topic. Customer service can make or break any business and should be prioritized as companies scale.

Social Media Marketing World

April 17-19 – San Diego, CA ($1497)

In attendance: Marketers, brand managers, creatives, social media, community, CEOs, founders, anyone who publishes content

They feature: The opportunity to meet social media gurus, and full access to the recordings of every session. As a bonus, the event is hosted right on the waterfront, so you can enjoy beautiful San Diego weather.

The OpenStack Summit

April 25-29 – Austin, TX ($350 – $600)

In attendance: IT leaders, telco operators, cloud administrators, app developers and OpenStack contributors

They feature: Attended by thousands of people from more than 50 countries, this is the ideal venue to plan your cloud strategy and share knowledge about architecting and operating OpenStack clouds.


April 26 – New York, NY ($375)

In attendance: Web designers, developers

They feature: Generate has assembled a stellar lineup of speakers including Cameron Moll, Dan Mall, James White, Una Kravets, Tim Kadlec and more.

Social Media Strategies Summit

April 26-28 – Chicago, IL ($1799)

In attendance: Digital marketers, social marketers, anyone interested in an interactive learning experience to explore current and future social media trends

They feature: No product pitches allowed. Just great content you can relate to and learn from. They’ve also organized networking dinners with the speakers to give candid feedback on what you’re working on.

Collision Conference

April 26-28 – New Orleans, LA (Price TBD)

In attendance: CEOs, entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts, investors, press

They feature: Collision 2016 will welcome thousands of attendees to New Orleans in between the two weekends of Jazz Fest. Attend the conference and have dinner with your new friends in a great city.


Big Omaha

May 4-6 – Omaha, NE ($399 – $599)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, CEOs, creatives

They feature: Big Omaha strives to be a positive voice among today’s startups. Their goal is to make their community a welcoming, inclusive space for anyone and everyone who wants to come.

IA Summit

May 4-8 – Atlanta, GA ($570 – $800)

In attendance: Industry leaders, mid-weights, and juniors alike – arriving as guests, leaving as friends, and sharing in this celebration of IA practice and culture.

They feature: The IA Summit is organized by an all-volunteer committee drawn from the greater Information Architecture community, and is produced with the support of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T).

Hustle Con

May 13 – Oakland, CA ($299)

In attendance: Anyone who wants to learn from the best founders in the world and hear their stories. Or learn non-technical tactics like growth, marketing, hiring, and getting started. If you’re a founder, public company employee, wantreprenuer, technical or non-technical, and want to meet 2,000 ambitious business nerds who think like you, then you should definitely come.

They feature: “We started Hustle Con because we were sick of boring events with lame cliches and fluff. We wanted to find big shot founders (not professional speakers) to teach real, actionable tactics that they used to grow their startup in a casual environment.” The price is well worth the money, especially compared to other business and tech conferences.

HOW Design Live

May 19-23 – Atlanta, GA ($675 – $1795)

In attendance: Designers

They feature: Five days of learning new skills and energizing your creativity. Hear from speakers like Marc Eckō, Shelley Gruendler, Sagi Haviv, Su Mathews Hale, Joel Beukelman, Husani Oakley, and Maurice Cherry.


May 2-December 4 – Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Kansas City, New York, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles (Price depends on location)

In attendance: Tech entrepreneurs, startup employees, Fortune 500 CEOs, investors, people interested in tech

They feature: Techweek was founded five years ago in Chicago to showcase their emerging tech ecosystem. They were not alone and expanded their entrepreneurial community into seven more cities so that everyone can connect with and learn from each other.


May 5-6 – New York, NY ($799)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, aspiring founders, anyone who wants to bring their idea to life.

They feature: Most conferences inspire you to dream, but the 99U conference is fully devoted to idea execution.

TechCrunch Disrupt NYC

May 9-11 – Brooklyn, NY ($1795)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, tech fans

They feature: On-stage interviews, the Startup Battlefield competition, a 24-hour Hackathon, Startup Alley, Hardware Alley, and after parties. TechCrunch Disrupt is also famous for launching fast-growing companies like Mint, Layer, and Hello Alfred.

Conversion Conference

May 18-19 – Las Vegas, NV ($250 – $1597)

In attendance: Web designers, optimization and analytics pros, marketers, business owners

They feature: Secrets of the highest converting websites in the world. They teach important subjects like website abandonment recovery, using triggers and targeting to create personalized messages, and cross-device optimization and testing.

The Startup Conference

May 19 – Redwood City, CA ($75 – $199)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, aspiring founders, startup fans

They feature: The chance to promote your own startup for a chance to be featured on CNET, and a low ticket price.

Grow Conference

May 17-19 – Las Vegas, NV ($365 – $1190)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, CEOs, startup fans

They feature: Hosted by Inc., you can meet many like-minded entrepreneurs, business leaders, bestselling authors, and headliners who were featured in their magazine.

Google I/O

May 18-20 – Mountain View, CA (Price TBD)

In attendance: Google I/O is for developers – the creative coders who are building what’s next

They feature: Amazing speakers and people to meet, and the chance to try the latest gadgets that haven’t been released yet. And you can bring home tons of free stuff from t-shirts to developer kits… even new hardware!

Maker Faire

May 20-22 – San Mateo, CA ($20 – $1250)

In attendance: Hobbyists, professionals, all makers are welcome

They feature: The union of DIY mindsets to technology. The launch of Make: Magazine in 2005, followed by Maker Faire in 2006, jumpstarted a worldwide Maker Movement, which is transforming innovation, culture, and education.


May 24-25 – San Francisco, CA ($499)

In attendance: Developers, engineers

They feature: SIGNAL is the only conference where you will have the opportunity to learn from WebRTC core contributors, innovators in the Internet of Things, and the world’s leading security practitioners and developers from Authy.


Funny Bizz

June 9 – San Francisco, CA ($249 – $299)

In attendance: Content managers, creative directors, social media marketers/managers, sales professionals, CEOs, founders, advertising professionals, copywriters, brand managers

They feature: Comedy can be your business’ untapped competitive advantage. Today’s generation has been socialized to receive info via humor. They want infotainment, not information. People don’t watch “20/20” or “Nightline” for news; they watch Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Jimmy Fallon. They want and expect information delivered with a punch line and Funny Bizz can show you how to do just that.


World Domination Summit

August 11-15 – Portland, OR ($697)

In attendance: Creatives, artists, entrepreneurs, introverts, people who want to improve themselves

They feature: Main-stage keynotes, hundreds of attendee-led meetups, dozens of workshops known as “Academies,” a city-wide scavenger hunt, a Guinness World Record Attempt, two big parties, and hundreds of new friends high-fiving you on street corners. WDS has no corporate sponsorships and nothing for sale during the event except books from their speakers.


Content Marketing World

September 6-9 – Cleveland, OH (Price TBD)

In attendance: Founders, social media teams, content marketers

They feature: Over 80 sessions presented by the leading brand marketers from around the world covering strategy, integration, measurement, and more new ideas than you can shake an orange stick at.


September 12-14 – Seattle, WA ($639 – $1299)

In attendance: Founders, marketers, CEOs, social media teams, community managers, content marketers, brand managers, anyone who markets on the web

They feature: An amazing community of industry leaders, speakers and Moz staff to chat with, cool swag, and hugs from their friendly robot, Roger.

Business Innovation Factory

September 14-15 – Providence, RI ($1800)

In attendance: Marketers, anyone who tells stories on the web with their content or branding which is… every company

They feature: The focus here is on great storytelling, allowing you to connect the dots while themes such as finding your purpose, building community, and identifying better ways to deliver value emerge.

Cusp Conference

September 28-29 – Chicago, IL (Price TBD)

In attendance: Designers, future designers, marketers, CEOs

They feature: Cusp is not a ‘how to design things’ conference. It’s eclectic by design, intended to provoke cross-pollination of ideas and generate new thinking.



October 16-18 – Los Angeles, CA ($1195 – $2295)

In attendance: Marketing analysts, artists, strategists, copywriters, CEOs

They feature: Over 100 interactive education sessions and five inspiration keynote sessions, much more in-depth than the average conference.

Inc. 5000

October 18-20 – San Antonio, TX ($595 – $1395)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, CEOs, small business owners

They feature: A variety of special events including the Welcome Reception, the Conference Party, the annual Inc. 5000 Golf Tournament, and the prestigious Black-Tie Gala. You will also be fêted at an elegant Black-Tie Gala, beginning with a Champagne Soiree, followed by a prestigious Awards Ceremony and Dinner, where you will be officially acknowledged, and capped with an unforgettable evening of music and dancing. Yes, this is all true!


October 17-19 – Las Vegas, NV ($650 – $1150)

In attendance: Designers, future designers, marketers, CEOs

They feature: This conference is organized by the nation’s oldest and largest professional membership organization for design. They know what they’re doing, and podcast superstar Roman Mars will moderate this year’s event.



November 8-11 – Boston, MA ($299 – $1599)

In attendance: Marketing and sales professionals

They feature: Inspiring keynotes, innovative talks, educational breakouts, hands-on lessons, and tons of networking. Past keynote speakers include Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, Nate Silver, and Scott Harrison.


November 16 – New York, NY ($399 – $2495)

In attendance: Entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, tech enthusiasts, anyone working in startups

They feature: Twelve speakers telling their honest, passionate and sometimes personal stories on how the turning points of their pasts changed the trajectory of the future. 5,000 attendees and 60 high-growth startups means unparalleled networking opportunities. Bring your business cards.

DevLearn Conference & Expo

November 16-18 – Las Vegas, NV ($200 – $1695)

In attendance: Developers

They feature: A comprehensive program that provides hundreds of learning opportunities covering the most critical topics in the dev industry. Regardless of your specific role, you’ll find the tools, technologies, ideas, strategies, and best practices to ensure your success.

World Business Forum

November 17-18 – New York, NY ($2390 – $3490)

In attendance: CEOs, entrepreneurs, innovators, thinkers, artists, sports people

They feature: In a world of information overload, World Business Forum focuses on the issues most relevant to today’s business people, stimulating new thinking and inspiring action.

Lean Startup Week

October 31 – November 6 – San Francisco, CA($750 – $3,500)

In attendance: Anyone interested in learning about and applying the Lean Startup methodology, passionate about gaining knowledge on a variety of business topics, startup employees, corporate employees. Lean Startup is most successful when used by cross-functional teams, and for that reason, their audience represents a gathering of 1500+ entrepreneurs and business leaders interested in a variety of business topics.

They feature: Attendees that are as extraordinary as the speakers. You’ll encounter a mix of new and seasoned practitioners from companies of all sizes, in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, government, non-profit, technology, retail and beyond; all from a variety of disciplines.

Post Seed Conference

In attendance: Investors, early-stage founders, members of the startup press

They feature: VCs, investors, and entrepreneurs who have already raised seed funding. Everyone you will potentially meet is highly successful who would make great connections for raising money, finding advisors, etc.


In attendance: Entrepreneurs, Industry leaders, CTOs, Investors, and startup enthusiasts

They feature: A launchpad for emerging technology and trends. They invite you to come and experience the future of innovation.

CMX Summit

In attendance: Community professionals, founders, organizations

They feature: Today, businesses are finding it harder and harder to stay relevant, competitive, collaborative, and responsive to their customers. Community strategy is the antidote. With a proven community strategy, you can connect your users to drive product, marketing, support, human resources, or platform growth.

A note from The Hustle: Every morning at 9am Pacific, we send an email with the top news stories in business and tech. It's kind of like if your friend read the internet all day then told you the important stuff in a fun, easy to understand way. Join the club and impress your coworkers with how smart you are.

Welcome to The Hustle. We send a daily email that makes you smart with all the news you need to know. Sound good? Gravy. Learn more →