One of the key things we try to do at First Round Capital is add value at scale. Last week we held our third AdSummit in New York, which is a good example of that – in this case for our Ad-related portfolio companies (here’s the first and the second). We had 11 companies present to over 200 attendees, and we’ve found that doing events like this is much more efficient (and fun) than making hundreds of individual introductions. And we know from experience that relationships develop as a result, along with RFPs and IO’s and $’s for the startups. There’s a disconnect between startups and big companies, and this is one of the ways we help to bridge the gap.
The attendees are key – we work with our presenting compaines, agency partners, and our own networks to invite senior executives from across the Agency, Brand and Fortune 500 marketing world. This year we had over 200 attendees from dozens and dozens of powerful agencies and marketers, including the top three advertisers in the world.
Our keynote speaker was Seth Godin – he didn’t use a single slide, but spoke from his heart about the new world of marketing. He brought in pieces of almost every book he’s ever written, and he gave it all – and it all ties and hangs together beautifully, from Permission Marketing to Tribes to Linchpin. I think when marketers look back, Seth Godin will be regarded as the Peter Drucker and Tom Peters and Jim Collins of the digital age.
The main part of the event remains the company presentations, and this year we had 11 great portfolio companies broken into Social, Mobile, Online and Offline, and Email and Beyond sections.
Presentations are 6 minutes long – we’ve scientifically proven that it’s long enough for an audience to understand what a company does and if they want to learn more, and short enough not to get bored if it’s not of interest, and wait for the next one. And thanks to Richard Smith and Brett Berson of our Platform Team, the event happened without a single technical/presentation glitch – something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.
Our portfolio company LiveIntent wrapped things up as the last presenting company by announcing their LFX product, and held their own launch party afterwards.
From all the feedback we’ve gotten at the event and since, this was definitely one of our best yet – thanks to all our companies and the attendees who made it happen!