TechCruch ended its third annual Disrupt NYC Conference recently, and although the conference centered around the formidable future of tech, BuzzFeed contributor Jack Stuef attended the conference with a skeptical outlook. Disrupt NYC, held in a warehouse on Pier 94 on the Hudson River, is only one of many media conferences in the area, and just like the others, chargers startups a fee to have a booth at the conference.
According to Stuef, “Startups on the floor generally said it was worth it, but some admitted to reluctance about paying TechCrunch to be there.” Among those Stuef interviewed about their attendance at TechCrunch Disrupt were Unawkward founder, Gerald Ramos and CEO of Centzy, Jay Shek. Buzzfeed reported that a “cocktail-height table” cost the lowest funded companies $2,000 a day, and an “exhibitor table” cost larger companies $10,000 a day. To attend and not set up a table cost an individual $2,995. Steuf was curious about these high prices and correlation with attendance for Disrupt NYC.
Volunteer Amith Shetty told Buzzfeed, ““This one isn’t as active. A lot of the tickets are company-sponsored. It can be like, ‘Oh it’s raining, I don’t feel like going out there.'” Sheuf noted that most of the people he encountered at Disrupt NYC were optimistic about the state of startups, and criticized him for his pessimism. He attempted to breach the topic of a tech bubble, which received another negative response from most startup attendees. He quoted most as responding with, “I don’t think there is a tech bubble. But if there is, I don’t care.” Shuef’s response to this? “Startup people don’t think the bubble is a problem for them because they’re true-blood startup people. The bubble is only a problem for the people they blame for causing it: the outsiders.”
Buzzfeed‘s reporter brings up interesting points about the conference- the overabundance of startups that embed videos on websites, examples of what he deems “dumb start ups” like MolarGeek (a social network for dentists to share pics of people’s mouths), and the lack of women in the field. Sheuf focused on the idea behind a startup like Churchkey Can Co., a beer manufacturer started by actor Adrien Grenier and ex-Nike designer Justin Hawkins that only produces flat top cans, which require a churchkey to be opened correctly. This startup has been supported by various tech investors, and according to TechCrunch, executives from Facebook and Zynga have already put money in to the company.
Grenier told Buzzfeed, “we decided to exploit the absence in the market.” Churchkey Can Co. presented its company pitch the next day at TechCrunch while audience members drank their Churchkey brand beers.