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SaaStr Annual coming to San Mateo with 5,000 in-person this fall - San Francisco Business Times
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A three-day business software conference is slated to welcome up to 5,000 in-person guests each day to the San Mateo County Event Center in late September, the county's first major live business conference in more than a year.
SaaStr Annual, a yearly multi-day event featuring hundreds of speakers and panelists from around B2B and the software-as-a-service industry, is planned for 27-29, organizers announced Monday afternoon. It will be the seventh iteration of the global gathering, after last year's event scheduled for March 10 at the San Jose Convention Center was pushed back to September and then held virtually. This year's event will host an expected 25,000 people between in-person and online attendees
"Over the moon doesn't come close to describing it," Dana Stoehr, CEO of the San Mateo County Event Center, told me on Monday, who oversees conference sales. "All of our clients are chomping at the bit to come back and we're continuing to get and book sales every week."
She added that bookings for the fourth quarter 2021 are "very healthy" and comparable with the same quarter 2019. Q1 2022 is looking even busier, she said, and she expects with SaaStr's announcement more groups will feel confident to commit.
The venue is the largest in San Mateo County with 200,000 square feet across seven buildings ranging from 6,500 to 105,000 square feet, and situated on a 48-acre campus. It's been closed to group events for more than a year and in the meantime has served as a Covid-19 testing site and vaccination center administering more than 250,000 shots, city operations and supply hub and at one point a 250-bed temporary overflow hospital.
The conference will include speaking presentations from more than 300 SaaS CEOs and other C-suite executives, including the CEOs of Vimeo, Databricks, PagerDuty and TripActions and executive speakers from Twilio, Confluent, Box, and DataDog.
The organizer, SaaStr, a social community of more than half a million SaaS founders and executives and two major yearly conferences, has booked more than 100 exhibitors and plans to facilitate more than 1,000 one-on-one meetings between guests, Q&As and mentoring sessions throughout the multi-day event.
SaaStr CEO and founder Jason Lemkin said in a statement he is "thrilled" to host the anticipated event in person.
"We've put together what we believe are industry- leading health & safety guidelines in order for us to do so together again in 2021," Lemkin said.
Vaccines will be required for all in-person guests. Temperature checks will be mandatory and secondary rapid Covid tests will be available as needed. The majority of the event will take place outdoors, spread across the 48-acre grounds around the San Mateo County Event Center. The venue's layouts will be adjusted to facilitate social distancing.
The event would bode well for San Mateo's local hotels and restaurants which like the rest of the Bay Area have suffered since last spring a virtual absence of business travelers.
In a statement John Hutar, president and CEO at the San Mateo County and Silicon Valley Conventions & Visitors Bureau, hailed the planned event as a "proof that we are returning to more normal times" after a "profound and long term" impact on the meetings and events industry during the pandemic.
The state is expected to permit indoor conferences with under 5,000 guests regardless of vaccine or testing status prior to Oct. 1, assuming the color tier system is phased out as anticipated June 15. International conference-goers would need to be fully vaccinated to attend.
State officials have not stated whether conferences with fully vaccinated and negative-testing guests will have a capacity ceiling.
San Mateo county officials would also be able to impose their own stricter modifications on the event, but to date the county has consistently synced with what the state allows under the tier system.
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