Upfront Summit 2018

I spent two days this past week at the Upfront Summit.  I have been to going to this event since the first year.  It is absolutely one of the best events of the year for the tech community particularly the one in Los Angeles.

The event has grown quite a big from the first one.  The first day is for investors and LP’s and the second-day founders and others in the tech world are invited.  I believe the second day had over 850 people there.  It took place on the back lot of Warner Bros Studio.  The day was a class crystal clear beautiful LA day which just sets the tone.

There are speakers throughout both days from talks around cryptocurrency to changing how we think about gender to the economy and dinners in the evening.  Yet what is the best part is being able to see people that many of us know through email or cap tables or passing through a coffee shop but here we get to actually have a meaningful conversation.

At the end of day two, at the beginning of the cocktail hour, I had a conversation with a prominent journalist who is insanely sharp yet very down to earth, a VC who only invests in the healthcare/wellness space at the Series A stage and a VC who does later stage bio/med-tech.  We were discussing the recent news around Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan partnership to create a new healthcare company with the hope of disrupting what we have now.  Part of me wondered how often do they have these conversations with women as we all know the numbers of women vs men in the tech industry from founders to investors but regardless it was engaging, stimulating and I wouldn’t have necessarily been able to have that conversation if I had bumped into all of them in between a meeting at a coffee shop.

What the Upfront team, particularly Mark Suster, who I secretly believe was either a celebrity or party planner in his past life, has built something not only unique but needed for the industry.  I came away mentally exhausted from talking to so many people yet thrilled with the conversations I had and re-energized around the start-up world.   I needed that.