Over the next two days at the DEMO conference in Palm Springs, California, more than 50 companies will take the stage and introduce their product in six minutes flat. It's a format that has become an industry standard, with conferences like TechCrunch 50, TechCrunch Disrupt and LAUNCH following in its footsteps.
A continual criticism of DEMO over the years, however, has been that the price of entry is simply too high. At nearly $20,000, the cost of getting on stage at one of the world's pre-eminent tech conferences can be prohibitive to say the least, so we decided to take a look at how funding broke down for the $1,000,000 in presentations we're seeing over the 48-hours.
To examine the funding of the 52 companies crossing the stage this week, we used DIY database tool Needlebase to quickly scrape the DEMO website of all the funding disclosures and then sort the numbers. Of the 52 companies, we found data for 46 companies. Here are the numbers:
52% of companies that disclosed funding disclosed $1m in funding or less. 85% less than $5 million. 32% disclosed between $1m and $5m, the most popular category. 10% disclosed $10m in funding or more. The most funded of the group is content security firm WebSense, which reported more than $50m in funding.
How does this compare to the Launch conference last week, which argued DEMO was too pricey for bootstrapped startups to launch at? Though the data is incomplete (we could only find funding data for 7 of 37 companies at Launch), it's worth at least a passing mention that the Launch companies that disclosed any funding on Crunchbase have raised an average of $2m each. That's roughly in the same sweet spot as DEMO.