We have been very lucky over the years at 4YFN to have had the opportunity to share the 4YFN experience with so many people, from so many different backgrounds. We have grown from 2000 people in 2014 to more than 23,000 at the last edition. In our first year, we occupied 2000 square meters of space, grew to 20,000 square meters last year and we will be more than 49,000 square meters for 4YFN Barcelona 2020.
As the event has grown, we have added feature after feature. We continue to add stages and content, new areas of exhibition, installations and new forms of entertainment and networking.
We work hard to put on an incredible show and want to share that with everyone, but going forward, we will be much more strict about how we do that. In the past, we have had a very generous allocation of invitations for friends, partners and collaborators. But that policy is now changing: there will be no more free invitations to 4YFN.
4YFN is invested in building the startup ecosystem for a better future. That means that we are investing in the startup ecosystem and we can’t do that effectively while giving away for free something of great value.
Here are three of our top reasons why the era of free access to one of the world’s most influential startup events is no longer feasible:
- There’s no such thing as free – events cost money. Someone is always footing the bill for things like security, the stages, the electricity…Every part of an event costs money. If you are benefitting from it and enjoying it, it is fair that you should make a contribution towards it. People don’t value free things. In life, you tend to get what you pay for. So if you pay for a ticket, you should expect a world class experience.
- We are ensuring the most engaged attendees are there – people who have paid for tickets have done so because they want to be there and they are bringing something to the party. They have skin in the game and that is what an experience like 4YFN is all about: bringing people together to make meaningful connections that are going to transform their businesses.
- We are delivering a whole new evening event. We can’t do it for free! – 4YFN20 will see the introduction of xside, a new experience co-curated by Sónar and MWC. During the day, xside will be the creative heart and central hub of the whole MWC event, with keynotes from creative innovators and pioneers. In the evening, DJs will take over, entertaining audiences until 23:00 each evening. This is a first-of-its-kind experience and simply unachievable without a fair ticket price.
Events like 4YFN bring people together, foster ideas and help the ecosystem to connect and grow. In turn that attracts more people, more ideas and even better investment and over seven years we have been privileged to play our part in driving the ecosystem forward. Now, as we look towards how we can build on our successes and continue to cultivate the startup movement, ending the idea of free is more important than ever.