How to find the ‘right’ contacts at Disrupt SF

Everyone who has ever been to a tech conference knows the feeling: You’re excited to walk into a giant hall buzzing with people, but a heartbeat later you’re anxious and wondering, “Nuts, how am I ever going to find the people I really want to know?”

At many shows, there is no good answer except to walk and talk fast. At TechCrunch Disrupt SF (September 18-20) we have a better answer: our CrunchMatch program. It’s a free service to investors and founders at Disrupt, and it takes the mystery out of meeting the right people, as well as scheduling a time and place to meet.

How does it work? When a founder signs up for Disrupt, as an attendee or an exhibitor, we also ask them to sign up for CrunchMatch and provide information on their startup — category, stage, location, funding status, etc. We have 500+ founders exhibiting over the three days of Disrupt, including the elite Battlefield competitors, plus hundreds more founders simply attending the show. Three weeks before Disrupt, we invite investors to sign up for CrunchMatch and create their own profiles, including their investment interests. At that point, our CrunchMatch partner, Brella, works its algorithmic magic to recommend matches for investors. Boom, the invitations start flying and Brella makes it easy to accept/decline, schedule a time and reserve a meeting space in Disrupt’s white-glove CrunchMatch meeting space.

Sure, sure, but does it work? Based on our results at Disrupt NY in May, the answer is, yep, sure does. CrunchMatch produced 448 investor/founder meetings, a nearly 5X increase over the previous year, and at Disrupt SF we fully expect to more than double that number based on the sheer scale of our flagship event compared to New York.

Not to push the point, but according to our post-CrunchMatch survey of participants, 97 percent of investors and founders said they would use CrunchMatch again, and 75 percent of investors reported that they had at least one follow-up meeting with a founder they met through CrunchMatch. We don’t have any stats on how many deals CrunchMatch might have sparked, though we are trying to track that, but the verbatims are solid. “I think it’s a really good program,” Jeff Allen VP of Strategic Investments at MasterCard, told us, “It really saved me a lot of time from having to walk around from booth to booth.”

CrunchMatch is one big step forward for networking at Disrupt, but it’s not the only one. This year we’re also launching Off The Record sessions, which are opportunities for investors, founders and speakers interested in particular topics — for example, AI, AR/VR, China and robotics, among other topics — to engage in a moderated discussion and network. We’re also staging receptions around women in tech, China cross-border and, of course, there will be great evening social gatherings as well. Last but not least, there’s always the fascinating person next to you at lunch. But if a more laser-like approach to networking is your thing, CrunchMatch has you covered.

Get started today and grab your ticket to Disrupt SF here while you can still get early-bird pricing.