With so many variables, we could have never predicted that the Powder Keg conference would turn out the way it did.

You welcomed our speakers with enthusiasm and our Midwest hospitality. From national superstars like David Blaine and Julien Smith, to our local heroes like Chris Baggott and Scott Dorsey, your energy filled each venue with enthusiastic curiosity and passion.

You connected in person and online. Hundreds downloaded the Powder Keg iphone app and chatted in our private Bonfyre network. The questions and comments were just as good in person as they were in our thousands of #PowderKeg hashtag uses.

You supported through sponsorship and by showing up. We had over 350 attendees and more than 30 organizations sign on to support this inaugural year. Just take a look at everyone who turned out:

Scott Dorsey at Power Keg

Headline Sponsor

ExactTarget collaborated with us through a tight partnership with Connections, allowing our whole Powder Keg crew to bring our passion to the JW Marriott for the first half day of our conference. We caught presentations from leaders at LinkedIn, Foursquare and reddit, and David Blaine come into our section to perform magic for our Powder Keg crew.

ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey and Startup America CEO Scott Case lit the Powder Keg fuse in front of all 4,ooo Connections attendees during the Entrepreneurs Unleashed panel. Our section at Connections erupted when they called us out and invited the rest of Connections to join us at Lucas Oil Stadium for our Startup Bowl.

Premier Sponsors

  • Kishi Bashi at Powder KegIce Miller threw an awesome welcome party that filled the first floor of Sensu Nightclub. Sensu owner Jeffrey Mark welcomed our Powder Keg group with Ice Miller partner, Dustin Dubois.
  • Barnes and Thornburg hosted our second party at the Crane Bay. It was an intimate evening in the perfect venue with an inspiring performance by Kishi Bashi, introduced by Barnes and Thornburg partner David Wong.
  • SmallBox built and designed our killer fully-responsive Powder Keg website. Their whole team supported the Powder Keg initiative through promotion, volunteer efforts, and strategic leadership on our Powder Keg core team.
  • KA+A designed our brand and sponsorship information while providing strategic input on the conference throughout the entire planning process. These long-time friends helped us hone our vision and find our voice as a Midwest movement.
  • Compendium closed down the Powder Keg right with an awesome celebration at the Speak Easy and DeveloperTown. Action Jackson spun awesome tunes while Powder Keg attendees grabbed fresh brew from Upland, hot coney dogs from Dog ‘n’ Suds, and awesome West Coast Tacos.

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of our sponsorship support and we’ll tell you more about our other sponsors in future Powder Keg posts. You can see many of them here.

Our volunteer team was massive and deserves all the credit for making this two-and-a-half day conference possible. With the support from our sponsors, they were able to create our magical Powder Keg experience. It was an experience and feeling that’s hard to describe.

But keynote speaker Scott Dorsey put it best in his #powderkeg tweet following his time on stage. Powder Keg was an “Inspirational group of entrepreneurs.” And we’re looking forward to channeling that inspiration into what comes next with Verge.

What were your favorite Powder Keg moments? Which videos and photos are you most excited to see?