The London tech event scene is booming but money isn’t pouring into the tank.

The London tech event scene is booming but money isn’t pouring into the tank Tech professionals are not screen junkies. They congregate in person as never before.

London is hosting an exploding number of small and midsized tech events. In 2016 there were more than 800,000 attendees to over 10,000 events for tech professionals in the capital. This is another clear indication of London’s growing competitiveness as a global tech centre with more than 300,000 jobs and a £56 billion turnover. These are just some of the insights published, in the “The Big Potential of Small Events” – the first mapping ever of the London tech event scene – by Airfinity, an event data and insights provider. Airfinity’s analysis reveals that the majority of events are free and rely solely on sponsorship for revenue. But only around half of the events manage to secure monetary sponsorship.

Sponsorship – in the provision of free food, drinks and venues – is popular as a model but it means many events leave money on the table and both event organisers and sponsors fail to capture the maximum value of the audience. Despite more than 1,200 identified sponsors, Airfinity’s analysis indicates that the small and mid-sized events have significant revenue growth potential.

The current total sponsor revenue is around £5 million, but could more than triple if these small and mid-sized events optimised their efforts to partner with the right sponsors. Rasmus Bech Hansen, CEO and co-founder of Airfinity said: “Events are the heart of the tech community and this report shows that it is alive and kicking like never before. But there is still a lot of unfulfilled potential and the industry remains nascent. As an example, a myriad, of great events with attractive audiences go un-sponsored.

With no revenue, these events are probably not sustainable long term. It’s time for events and corporates to leverage the current momentum and take the tech event industry to the next level”.


Info: “The Big Potential of Small Events”
Release date: 3rd of April, 2017 Rasmus Bech Hansen, CEO of Airfinity
Phone: + 44 7703188600 [email protected]

The £200,000 CPM event


The end of January is a time where 2500 of the world’s movers and shakers meet in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum (WEF). This is as premium as an event gets. So for event organizers and sponsors this is an interesting benchmark for what the potential for sponsorship and ticket pricing is if you are, as WEF, top of your league.

So what is actually the price of sponsoring WEF and how does it compare to other event sponsorships? The WEF sponsorship price obviously depends on the package. A simple membership is around £22,000, but to be a top corporate strategic member of which there are around 100 the price is accordingly up to £1M. In total the revenue of WEF is almost approx. £170M. So let’s just conservatively assume an average sponsorship ticket price of £500,000. With 2500 attendees this is £200 per attendee.

No event standard

How this compares to other events is harder to say, since there isn’t a commonly agreed standardized way to price sponsorships — which is a pain point, we at Airfinity hope our data driven approach to event marketing can help address. But for now let’s take clues from the world of digital advertising, where the concept of CPM, the cost of 1000 impression, has become the standard for how to measure and compare the cost of advertising slots. A non-premium display ad bought on programmatic exchanges might cost $3, video might be a bit more and targeted emails or premium ads can go as high as $20. For really premium b2b marketing it can go to £100–200 but this is very very rare.

By CPM standards the price of WEF is £200 000, a factor 1000 times higher than the most premium advertising out there. Obviously a strategic partnership cannot be compared to a pure ad display, but still the difference is staggering. Based on Airfinity’s data, a rule of thumb is that a well-organized premium event with 200 people with right sponsors can charge approx. £2000 per sponsor. This is still 20 times lower than Davos.

Events can be priceless

So there is something to aim for. The important lesson from this is that the right events with the right people are almost priceless to the right corporate sponsors. Another lesson is that the more unique and tailored an organizer makes their event, the higher the sponsorship price. The idyllic staging of the event in a Swiss Alp village, the sophisticated partnership programs that include high level content creation and the broad media coverage surely helps beef up the value of the WEF sponsorship.

Of course not all events can and should go for WEF levels. But for a smart ambitious event organiser that wants to command significant sponsorship pricing, there is much to learn from the event at Davos. Few events have as professional a sponsorship offering as they do.

Events are the new black of marketing.


Events are the new black of marketing

As the world becomes ever more digital, “real life” experiences are becoming the new luxury. When the majority is glued to screens most of the day, the basic human need to get together in real life, share experiences, discuss, listen and learn increases. Eye to eye beats eye to screen.

This is the case even, or maybe in particular, for technology professionals. At Airfinity ( we are data mapping and analysing the world of events. We have compiled a database of all major tech events in London and have noticed that the industry is on a roll. There are more than 5000 events a year, many of them entirely new. More than 250,000 participants. More than 1,000 sponsors.

A trillion dollar business

Globally, the pattern is the same. Millions of new innovative events, conferences, meet-ups are organised every year. The event market is globally estimated to be worth more than USD 1 trillion and growing. This is almost 2x the global advertising market.

For companies, the booming event market presents an exciting opportunity. Events is in many ways the answer to the increasingly urgent needs of marketers. How do you capture the attention of an audience in a world of media fragmentation and banner blindness? How do you engage people? How do you become relevant?

Events can deliver just that. Event-goers attend because they care about a subject. They listen, pay attention and most importantly engage. If marketers find the right events and provide the right content, they can take advantage of this dynamic. Nothing builds a brand more than real life presence. No sale is more likely to be closed than after a proper handshake.

Finding the niche

And done right, event marketing can be as targeted as digital advertising. Our data allows for audience-centric event finding. We have learned that the best events attract a very particular niche. Looking for Python developers? There is a great event for that. Looking for investors in IOT? There are great events for that. These, often smaller, high quality specialised events have an attractive offering to the right corporate, but they often go un-noticed.

Add to this, the fact that the new generation of event organizers are increasingly sophisticated users of social media. Many of which, by our analysis, have lively communities of tens thousands, some even hundreds of thousands. So even for marketers looking for wide reach, events can be part of the answer.

Let’s hope that more and more companies realise what a compelling opportunity events present. With more sponsors, more attendees and more content — events will become even better and inspire us all to lift our head from the screen and go out and meet people.


Download our Tech Events & Sponsorships white paper.