Techweek began as a small conference dedicated to technology and innovation. Its first conference was held in July 2011 in Chicago’s River North district with around 2,500 attendees. Since then, the company has grown beyond simple conferences to become a company that is dedicated to matching companies with technological resources to help run successful businesses. The conferences however, are a big draw for various companies, including Gilt, Facebook, Motorola and many more. Techweek is dedicated to bringing professionals in a variety of industries together to learn about developments in technology, which is the foundation of the owned and operated businesses of many of the attendees.
After hosting successful conferences in Chicago, Techweek decided to expand its reach in 2013, and now hosts conferences in six cities across the country. CEO Katy Lynch discusses the vision that led to Techweek’s expansion and lessons they learned after its implementation.
Expanding beyond your local market is a big gamble for any business, but if you are successful, it’s a gamble that can pay off. According to Lynch, “We set a huge goal for ourselves at Techweek Los Angeles in 2014: build a tent on the Santa Monica Pier. We had a vision to create a fun environment that no one had ever experienced before in tech. We started promoting the idea before all of the logistics were even locked in because we knew how exciting it would be.” By using a unique approach introducing Techweek on the West Coast, Lynch and the Techweek team were able to build excitement, which led to a successful turnout. “We worked hard to communicate the idea to sponsors and attendees. When we opened registration that week, everyone was excited to attend the first tech conference, where sunglasses were a must!”
Know What You Offer
Before expanding into a new market, it’s crucial to know what your business brings to the table. Techweek was formed to fulfill a specific niche that was clearly lacking in the business world, bringing business owners and leaders from different industries together to learn about how technology can influence their business as well as how their own technological implementations have helped their business succeed. States Lynch, “We want our attendees to have endless opportunities right at their fingertips throughout Techweek. By combining dynamic speaking content with fun networking parties, we think we have a great formula for shining the spotlight on tech. We also know everyone wants to come to meet and hear from the best speakers tech has to offer. A key is keeping a balance between local technology leaders, national visionaries, and up-and-coming founders who are disrupting industries near and far.”
Know Your Audience
One new implementation that has arisen out of Techweek’s initial expansion is that the company now has resources in place to customize its conferences and events to each individual city. “Every time we get to the end of a Techweek, we learn so much about that community. We always want to involve more speakers, co-working spaces, startups and companies that drive their city’s growth and success. We are now proud to have someone working on the ground in both New York and Los Angeles full time. This lets us keep building relationships and keep our ear to the ground since tech changes so fast in each city.”
A key to successfully expanding any business involves knowing your business inside and out and knowing what you can bring to the table that nobody else can. One of the reasons Techweek’s expansions have been so successful is that the company not only knows its role in the market, but also how it fits into each of the cities into which it expands.
Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.