EDAWN plays to win at Disrupt SF

One of the best ways for ambitious, regional technology hubs to stand out at Disrupt SF (October 2-4 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center) is to bring a crew of top startups to exhibit at the show in a branded pavilion. Each pavilion can accommodate a minimum of eight, pre-series A startups. In years past, states like Montana and cities like Reno, as well as countries such as Taiwan and Colombia, and have made the trip to San Francisco to provide their best founders a chance to exhibit, enjoy the founder-oriented programming, and mix with potential investors and partners.

In 2018, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) took a novel and winning approach to promoting Reno’s thriving network of entrepreneurs. They turned their sponsored exhibition space into a six-foot blackjack table during all three days of Disrupt SF as a clever way to bring attention to their founders exhibiting in a single -day Pavilion. EDAWN brought seven Reno-based companies to Disrupt SF to underscore how Reno is providing beneficial economic promotion for emerging companies. EDAWN reaped 350 inquiries about investing in the region and much more.

The blackjack table was an obvious nod to Reno’s historic gaming industry, while the novelty and fun-factor of a gaming table at Disrupt SF helped EDAWN differentiate itself from hundreds of other exhibitors. By calling attention to the region’s best-known legacy industry and at the same time presenting promising tech startups in the region, EDAWN sent an unmistakable message to potential Reno businesses: The investment opportunity was not limited to games of chance. Gaming, sure, but high tech is thriving there too.

In the end, the results for EDAWN were specific and concrete. During the course of Disrupt SF, at the blackjack table and in the Pavilion, EDAWN generated more than 350 leads from a mix of industries, many of which were on EDAWN’s list of preferred verticals. After Disrupt SF, two international entities paid visits to Reno, one of which resulted in a deal that closed onsite. Considering the number of variables that go into the decision-making behind where a company might choose to locate itself, that’s a startlingly fast turnaround from initial lead-gen to deal.

As for the startups in the pavilion, they walked away with a slew of important media contacts, along with numerous introductions to potential investors. Learning also happened. For example, one of the Reno startups had not realized how important it could be for their particular business to develop a B2C application. It was critical feedback for this startup, and Disrupt SF was the catalyst.

Given last year’s speedy and tangible results, EDAWN is bullish on Disrupt SF 2019. “Disrupt SF was an invaluable experience for our team,” says a spokesperson from EDAWN. “The event was well-run, and we had a blast. We can’t wait for next year!”

To learn more about sponsoring a Pavilion, check out our deck for Disrupt SF or fill out this form. While you’re at it, check out the sponsorship opportunities at the TC Disrupt SF Hackathon. And if you’re interested in other TechCrunch events throughout the rest of year, click here for our 2019 calendar.