What do you get when you transform the concept of Coffee Meets Bagel to VC Meets Startup? Answer: The Marketplace Conference 2018.

Set in the beautiful Villa Fontaine in San Francisco’s Design District, the Make it Mariko team brought the Cloud down to Earth and recreated all the dynamics of the online marketplace, IRL. Organized by Crux Capital and Speedinvest, this inaugural conference united founders, VCs, and subject matter experts to discuss and exchange learnings about the past, present, and future of online marketplaces. Nearly 200 people attended the SOLD OUT conference, including travelers from as close as Oakland to as far as London, Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and the Ukraine. 

30+ Speaker Sessions & VC/Founder Meetups

To make the magic happen, Make it Mariko teamed up with our Endeavors partners at Creative Transit Agency for a seamless speaker experience. Boasting 29 speaking sessions that catered to four different conference tracks, two working clinics, and even nostalgic fireside chats, there was something for everyone. Covered topics included:

  • “Leveraging the Network Effect for Scaling Internationally” with Andre Haddad (Turo)
  • “Transitioning to SAAS-driven marketplace” with Melody McCloskey (StyleSeat)
  • “Driving Marketplace Growth Via Buyer <-> Seller Overlap” with Brian Rothenberg (Eventbrite)
  • “The Great Unknown: Optimal Pricing” with David Rogier (MasterClass)
  • “Solving the Chicken or Egg” with James Currier (NFX)
  • “Building Trust in Two Sided Marketplaces” with Jessica Tiwari (Upwork)
  • “What Series A Investors Look For” with Matt Cohler (Benchmark), Roger Lee (Battery), and Ryan Walsh (Floodgate)
  • “Blockchain in Marketplaces” with Josh Fraser (Origin)

The biggest value added came in the form of 122 VC/Startup speed dating sessions, where startup founders had the opportunity to pitch their businesses directly to VCs. After a full day of sessions, the conference ended on a high note, complete with live music provided by the People Power Band and cocktail reception, featuring Marketplace-themed craft cocktails called “The Unicorn” and “Demand Meets Supply.”

What We Did:

  • Full Event Production
  • Speaker Management & Communications
  • Venue Sourcing
  • Event Design & Rental Coordination
  • Full Vendor Sourcing & Management
  • VC/Startup Speed Dating Management & Pairing
  • Drafting marketing communications for large email blasts & event website
  • Ticketing Management via Eventbrite
  • Signage, Program, and Swag Design
  • Press Management

The Results:

  • 93% of participants who filled out our survey said they would recommend the conference to their friends
  • 87% rated the conference a 4.5 out of 5 in response to how much value they felt they received
  • A few standout attendee comments:
    • “I learned more at this conference than I have from any other conference.”
    • “The VCs there were much less arrogant than they usually are!”
    • “This event was a 10 out of 10.”

“Wow, your team was incredibly positive, helpful, kind, hard working and committed to the event.”

- Event Attendee

Conference Organizers & Sponsors:


Gina was organized, professional, effective, efficient, and pleasant to work with throughout. She took her work very seriously and showed great commitment to ensuring a top experience for everyone who attended. She even proposed a number of smart, creative ideas to enhance the experience even further. I trust her to do a great job and would be delighted to work with her again.

- Dan Hoffer, Conference Organizer (Client)

Now show me the photos!

Photography by Jim Stone.
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