What makes a good trade show or conference? In listening to others reflect on this year’s Fuse50 in Cincinnati, I realized that the characteristics of a successful event vary depending on who you ask. For some, it’s programming. For others, the value lies in networking opportunities or exposure to media contacts, analysts and other industry influencers.

The good news? No matter what criteria matters to you the most, there are lots of trade shows and conferences and happening this year that are likely to exceed your expectations. Here are five upcoming events for B2B tech startups and scale-ups to consider in 2018.


1. Connections | June 12–14 | Chicago

Salesforce Connections focuses on how those working in digital marketing, commerce and customer service can create “personalized experiences at every touchpoint,” as well as drive growth.

Why go: As Christopher Day, CEO of DemandJump explains, Connections was “one of the most well-attended shows by marketing decision makers historically. ExactTarget built the trade show, and Salesforce is now bringing it back midyear—early enough in the year for companies to still double marketing performance.”


2. INBOUND | September 4–7 | Boston

Hosted by HubSpot, INBOUND is an annual conference that brings together “people who are passionate about marketing, selling and delighting customers in an inbound way.”

Why go: The event hosts hundreds of thousands of attendees annually and offers keynotes, diverse session tracks, and plenty of opportunities to maximize your conference networking. According to Sunir Shah, president of the Cloud Software Association, “It’s the best conference in martech.”


3. TechCrunch Disrupt | Sept 5–7 | San Francisco

One sign you’ve found the epitome of startup events? It appears on HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” which TechCrunch Disrupt did during the show’s first season. The conference is well-known for onstage interviews, its Startup Battlefield competition, and a virtual Hackathon.

Why go: Alon Alroy, co-founder and CMO of Bizzabo, calls Disrupt “one of the most anticipated technology conferences of the year.” The event provides unique networking opportunities and a front row seat to what one of the most well-known technology media outlets considers the hottest startup news.


4. Dreamforce | Sept 24–26 | San Francisco

Salesforce’s annual user conference, Dreamforce, is held annually in San Francisco. The event brings together thought leaders, industry pioneers, and thousands of IT professionals to discuss new technology and trends.

Why go: This user conference has become one of the biggest in the country. As our client Appirio has discovered after attending for several years, Dreamforce presents a unique opportunity to connect not only with customers and prospects, but also press from key target verticals including channel, CRM, tech, marketing, and business.


5. Inc. 5000 Conference | Oct 17–19 | San Antonio

Based on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies, the Inc. 5000 Conference combines sessions and networking with a black-tie gala that celebrates those recognized on the publication’s annual list. Speakers at the 2017 event included Alan Mulally and Daymond John.

Why go: According to Andrew Thomas, founder of Skybell Video Doorbell, “The Inc. 5000 Conference is a great conference for people looking to hear from inspirational speakers and to network with entrepreneurs who are creating the next wave of great startups and companies.”


Planning to attend or even exhibit during an event not listed? Don’t worry. There are plenty of steps you can take to help your tech company get the most out of any trade show or event. Good luck!