TechCrunch Disrupt is like the Olympics for startups. It was our second visit, but the first one to their flagship edition in San Francisco. Last year, we attended the conference in Berlin, but this year we upped the ante with a bigger booth and 9 members of our team presenting Viberate.
It’s not cheap to finance the booth and travel for such a big team, but thanks to a government grant we pulled it off. Over three days, we probably pitched Viberate at least 200 times, handed out 150 brochures and around 300 business cards, bought one 65-inch TV to play our showcase loop and later sell it on Craigslist (which saved us around $1,000 we would otherwise need to pay for the ridiculously high rental fee of TechCrunch’s official tech equipment vendor).
Meetings at such conferences are like fishing: most of the time, you won’t catch anything, but when you do, it’s worth the wait. This time, we caught up with an executive from a giant analytics company that is also operating in the music market, and we agreed we could join forces in a couple of fields. If this plays the way we planned, we could really offer music professionals a set of unmatched analytics features.
All in all, people showed the most interest in our API. A lot of music services struggle with a massive influx of artist profiles they need to update or bug artists to do it themselves. Most of the time, they stay outdated which isn’t great for the overall user experience. We can successfully solve this problem by embedding almost half a million artist profiles from our database.
We always try to combine business with pleasure when traveling with a bigger team. Some of us have spent months hustling Silicon Valley investors, so it felt like home to us. We assumed the role of tourist guides in the evenings and took the team sightseeing. Golden Gate Bridge, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Pier 39 with its sea lions, Lombard Street, you name it. Oh, and of course a mandatory visit to the legendary In-N-Out.
And this time, we were lucky enough to catch our co-founder UMEK at the end of his 6-week US tour that happened to finish at San Francisco’s The Great Northern. The whole team got backstage passes and since UMEK doesn’t drink alcohol, we had to finish all the drinks from his rider by ourselves. The flight back wasn’t easy, but luckily the plane was half empty, so most of the team got a stretch in the “poor man’s business class” on a 12-hour transatlantic flight.