Every summer, the activity in McCarren Park and the surrounding area gets a bit amplified, not just with music but with a variety of Northside Festival related revelry, including what they refer to as “NYC’s Biggest Tech Party.” Now in its fourth year, Northside Innovation returns with the Expo as well as the Conference this Thursday and Friday (6/11-12).
These are two full days packed with keynotes, fireside chats, panels, workshops, pitch competitions, and networking opportunities, so you’ll want to plan ahead and create your schedule beforehand. The Northside site has a comprehensive scheduling tool but we recommend that you download the more user friendly App instead.
The Expo takes up 50,000 square feet of McCarren Park and is free to attend but if you are anything like I was as an overworked commuter, the 12PM-7PM time frame might allow you to scurry through and pick up some schwag along the way at best. If this isn’t you, it might be fun to check out the 150+ exhibitors, who will be present to awe and inspire any passerby (aka will be doling out free shit). If a smaller indoor setting with free drinks is more your flavor, co-working space The Yard is hosting a panel discussion on community and mingling on Friday (6/12, 6PM)
What piqued my interest most is the opportunity to take a minute (literally) to pitch a business idea for the chance to win a $15,000 grand prize from MasterCard. This, on top of the presence of the Job Fair, which touts “Brooklyn’s premiere jobs for tech, innovation, and startups”, should be enough to whet the appetite of any self-proclaimed yuccie on a budget.
The Conference portion of Northside Innovation is not as easy on the wallet at $285 per badge but unlike the Music and Film sections, which mostly feature emerging artists, the badge will guarantee entry into sessions with some heavy hitters in the tech industry among it’s 150+ speaker lineup. And if this is Brooklyn’s Answer to SXSW, it is a significantly cheaper alternative.
Innovation and Premium badge holders get first dibs on the McCarren Park shows and will have their fill of complimentary food and drinks via access to a number of events including:
- The Kick-Off party (Wed, 8-10 PM) hosted by Dell and Intel.
- Both days (6/11 & 6/12): breakfast is served thanks to Co-Collective from 9-10AM at the Wythe Main Event Hall, lunches are provided from 1-2PM in McCarren Park, and Dell hosts a Happy Hour and Party at the Brooklyn Brewery from 5-6PM
- Thursday (6/11) only: the other lunch option is for the Kite App Launch (12-2PM) at the Counting Room (RSVP required). In the evening, Sling TV hosts a Happy Hour at the Wythe Hotel Courtyard (5-7PM) and Lowenstein Sandler is throwing a party at the McCarren Hotel and Pool (6-8PM)
- Friday (6/12) only: Douglas Elliman will be hosting a lunch (1-2PM) and there will be a closing party hosted by Huge at Lot 5 (10PM-1AM). Cornbread App (7-11:30PM) has an after party but for a $15 extra fee.
The schedule includes a range of topics that has something for any creative technologist/entrepreneur. While it is generally considered a draw for locals, there will be quite a presence from abroad with start-ups flying in from countries including Hungary, Switzerland, and Belgium for pitch competitions and product showcasing.