Held in Hong Kong over three days in July each year, RISE is considered by many to be the largest tech/startup conference in Asia. With 16,000 attendees and hundreds of startups, investors and speakers, the event can be a little overwhelming. Tickets aren’t cheap either, so if you want to get your money’s worth you need to be organised. Here are some of our tips on how to get the most bang for your buck, followed by some tips that we collected from other RISE attendees.
Set your objectives and expectations
Most people attending will have different reasons and objectives. Attendees may be looking for inspiration, ideas, customers, companies to work with, investors, exposure or even a job. Focus on the parts of the conference that will help you with your objective. While the main stage might be entertaining, is it helping you with your objective?
Get involved: Organise an event
If you’re based in Hong Kong, you have a perfect opportunity to organise an event or an activity for other attendees. While the “Night Summit” packs bars in Central, the organisers encourage participants to organise community events either before or after the day’s activities.
For example, Hong Kong Cheapo co-founder Chris Kirkland organised a trail run up to Lion Rock at 7 am on the first day of the conference.
You can organise events around a sector too if you’re looking to network within a certain industry. It can be as simple as arranging some reserved space with a local bar. Even if people don’t come along to your event, they’ll still see your name in the official app.
Can’t organise something? Look out for these types of events—they’re usually not as ram-packed as the official events.
Don’t fill up your schedule
Planning is great, but if you fill up your schedule with every little talk, you’re cutting out the opportunity for some ad-hoc networking or spontaneous interaction. The conference is also noisy and intense so you’ll need a few time-outs to take a break and connect with the real world.
Get lunch outside the venue
The organisers make a great effort to provide food, but you’ll still be waiting in a line, probably standing while you’re eating, and the choice will be limited. Take some time out and head into Wan Chai for some great local food.
Talk to strangers
Although your mother told you never to do this, it’s time to break out of your shell and take some risks. The more people you talk to, the more people you’ll find that can help you. Ask if they’ve met anyone interesting and get a warm intro.
Tips from other attendees
“Keep messages short, use LinkedIn as well as the app. Mention who you’ve worked with in your short message.”
– Rahul Kishore, Roikings.io
“RISE is a great place to gather feedback from people in the Asian market.”
– Tero Seppala (Finland), Hookle Inc.
“Use your two minute/short pitch deck (that you normally send to investors) at your booth. There are lots of unofficial after parties too, chat to the local Hong Kongers to find them. These are good for networking and finding potential investors.”
– Nao Myoshu, Stroly.jp
“Talk to anyone! Network with other startups because they are having similar issues and challenges.”
– Yoshihisa Haruyama, Atta Inc.
“Spend the most time possible on the RISE app before you attend the conference to identify the right people before the conference starts.”
– Adomas Baltagalvis, Eddy Travels
“Go to the Night Summit! Network over drinks in the evening.”
– Jaslyn Koh, BrocnBells.com
“Come every day. Booths change from day to day. Leave your contact with the companies and ask them to follow up with the specific person afterwards.”
– Evelyn Wei, volunteer