A year or so ago a friend and colleague approached me with a crazy idea – what if we tried to re-invent the tech conference, expanding it to become a celebration of all innovative companies that are inspired by the values of the open Internet? And further, what if it wasn’t a conference at all, in the normal sense, but more of a festival, a combination of an artist’s open studio, a music festival, and a business event?
That’s what became OpenCo, an “inside out” conference where instead of sitting in a stuffy hotel ballroom, you go our into the modern working city, to see founders talk about their companies in their native environment.
Last Fall in San Francisco, we tested the idea with a pilot, and more than 2000 folks registered to go visit companies like Twitter, airbnb, Google, The Melt, and scores more (85 in all).
Today, we’re announcing that thanks in large part to our Tour Sponsor American Express OPEN Forum, the OpenCo platform is coming to four cities this year – starting this coming May 22-24 in New York.
But to get there we need your support too. I don’t directly ask for help from all of you, but this time I am. I believe in OpenCo as a movement – the kinds of businesses we curate into the festival are literally changing the world, and this festival lets them open their doors to the public and share their knowledge with the community. We keep at least a third of the tickets for to the public, but we also sell tickets at various levels for those who want to ensure they get access to the companies they really want to see. We’ve raised an IndieGoGo campaign to cover our hard costs. That’s all I want to do – see this idea spread.
So please go to the campaign and support OpenCo at any level you can.
Companies in New York that will be opening their doors include Warby Parker, Etsy, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Buzzfeed, Business Insider, Lerer Ventures, General Assembly, Rebelmouse, RapGenius, and many, many more. If you have a New York business, you can apply to be an OpenCo here.
More on OpenCo can be found at the main site, by reading the coverage of our announcement here, or reading the release, pasted below.
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING US!
OpenCo Innovation Festival Expands To New York City, London, Detroit and San Francisco for 2013
Indiegogo Funding Campaign, Host Company Application Process and Early Attendee Registration Open Today
SAN FRANCISCO, April 9, 2013 – Today OpenCo, a new kind of conference-as-festival where a city’s most innovative companies open their doors to the general public, announced the expansion of the event series for 2013. On the heels of a very successful inaugural San Francisco event last Fall, OpenCo is expanding to highlight innovation on the East Coast via an event in New York City from May 22-24, 2013 as part of Internet Week New York.
To support the overall OpenCo initiative, an Indiegogo campaign launches today to help cover fixed costs related to event logistics. There are currently four pledge levels, each offering a selection of value-added benefits. Please visit the OpenCo Indiegogo page to pledge your support of innovation in New York and to get first dibs on visiting exciting companies like Buzzfeed, Etsy, Foursquare, Thrillist, Warby Parker and many more!
Additional dates and details for the OpenCo events launching in London, Detroit and San Francisco will also be available shortly via the OpenCo website.
How OpenCo Works for Attendees
- On May 23-24, OpenCoNY participants will be able to attend hourly, citywide “open studio” sessions led by participating host companies (HostCos).
- Just as with bands and stages at a multi-day music festival, attendees go to the OpenCo website to customize an event schedule from “tracks” that are curated according to industry and neighborhood.
- Individuals who make a pledge to support OpenCo via Indiegogo will receive early access to the schedule picker site and will be able to build their personal schedule according to the following tiers:
- $500 Backstage pledges gain access on Monday, April 29th.
- $100 Reserved pledges gain access on Monday, May 6th.
- $25 Fan pledges and the general public gains access on Monday, May 13th.
- The event is free for anyone who wants to attend, so sign up now by visiting openco.us.
- Space is limited and we expect the event to reach capacity very quickly. In fact, more than 2,000 people registered for the San Francisco event during the three-week window.
How OpenCo Works for HostCos
- The HostCo application process officially opens today, but scores of companies have already expressed their support and interest in participating including: AOL, AppNexus, Betaworks, Bloomberg, Business Insider, Buzzfeed, Estee Lauder Online, Etsy, Fab.com, Foursquare, General Assembly, Kickstarter, Lerer Ventures, Local Response, Pave, PolicyMic, Rap Genius, Rebelmouse, Thrillist, Warby Parker, ZocDoc.
- These participating host companies will share their business vision, outline their founding principles and values, and discuss what it means to be part of NY’s collaborative ecosystem.
- Each HostCo is required to host at least 20 attendees – but the more the better.
- The event is free for HostCos, so feel free to suggest an innovative company as a potential HostCo by visiting openco.us.
Backstage Access Kick off Event with Special Guests
OpenCoNY will launch the evening of May 22 with an invitation-only, VIP event at The Altman Building that will feature intimate discussions with Chad Dickerson, CEO at Etsy, Bob Pittman, CEO at Clear Channel Communications, Matt Seiler, Global CEO at IPG Mediabrands and Eric Hippeau, partner at Lerer Ventures. Interested attendees who submit an Indiegogo pledge for $500 or more will receive coveted back-stage access to this event in addition to other great perks.
Those Who Make OpenCo Possible
OpenCo is made possible by a list of impressive organizations that have pledged their support as partners. Founding partner is American Express OPEN. The OpenCo event series is produced by BattelleMedia.
“Innovation is everywhere and by opening up the doors to these openly collaborative companies, OpenCo gives investors, job seekers and curious neighbors the chance to hear these inspiring stories firsthand,” said John Battelle, OpenCo co-founder and CEO at Federated Media Publishing.
“The best way to experience and learn about the innovation economy isn’t in a stuffy conference room – it is up close and personal and on their turf,” said Brian Monahan, OpenCo co-founder and managing partner at MAGNA GLOBAL, part of IPG Mediabrands. “All participating companies share a commitment to open communication and open collaboration that is the hallmark of modern, innovative businesses. We are thrilled to bring the OpenCo philosophy to New York for Internet Week this year.”
OpenCoSF Highlights 2012
OpenCo business case
OpenCo is a mix between a business conference and artist’s open studio with the vibe of a music festival. The events offer job seekers, investors, marketers and curious neighbors direct access to the leaders of the most innovative companies across the globe and in their natural habitat.
Visit openco.us for more information.