After months of hard work and many lines of code later, our company recently launched. We were excited about our new website called HackHands, a place that instantly connects developers with a network of expert programmers at the click of a button. So we got the idea to throw a launch party to celebrate our success and spread the word about our website. But as an early stage company, we didn’t have a huge budget to work with. After spending some time selling the idea to our current network of partners, we pulled through to throw a fun party without spending more than $200 of our own money.
Here’s how we got the idea and celebrated our launch on the cheap:
Find a venue
We got the idea to throw a launch party after reading one of our WeWork community newsletters. We immediately set up a meeting with our Labs community manager Kley and discussed that we wanted to throw a big launch party at WeWork for the entire New York City tech community. Kley was on board to provide the event space and beer if we could find sponsorship for the rest. Challenge accepted.
Get great sponsors
We have two big Silicon Valley technology providers for HackHands: TokBox (live video chat infrastructure owned by Telefonica) and Firebase (real time in browser communication backend). We had built a relationship with them from the beginning because they believed in our product. So we reached out to our contacts at each of these companies and asked if they would be interested in sponsoring our launch party for the tech community to get some exposure. Both were happy to provide us with enough sponsorship money to throw the event.
Set up a bar that will impress
Through our network, we were able to talk with the second largest champagne company in the world and pitched them on why they should look past art and gastro events and sponsor our launch party. They ended up hooking us up with four cases of champagne after we told them the people at the next Facebook would most likely attend. Of course, we had stocked up on beer and served some Brazilian Caipirinha cocktails. Thanks to the help of some friends, we were able to get two people to bartend for tips.
Order awesome food and music
Throwing just a simple launch party was not good enough for us. Our goal was to make this a special night to remember, so we needed to hustle for more sponsors in order to get the extras we needed to make this an awesome event. I wanted to make sure the party was not just any mixer or networking event with snacks, beer and wine. As a Brazilian, I was set on having authentic Brazilian appetizers and snacks. I also wanted to book a DJ or band to get everyone dancing.
In order to find some music for our party on a whim, we posted on the WeWork member network that we were looking for a DJ and within an hour we had a handful of recommendations. We settled on one DJ and told him about our tight budget, but we promised to offer him a ton of exposure. Luckily he was looking for a job and offered to work for free as long as we mentioned he was looking to break into the tech world as a branding creative.
We also got sponsorships from two member companies, Coupons at Checkout and Rukkus, to cover the band costs. Our guests enjoyed listening to amazing live performances by City of the Sun and Fabian Castro.
All in all, we raised almost $4,000 in sponsorship for the party. Thanks to some popular New York City tech newsletters, meetup posts, and marketing from our WeWork community, the RSVPs flew in. Overall, I think we threw a successful party. We made some great connections, built brand awareness, and had a lot of fun doing it.