Featured Event: The IO Summit

Four years ago, Lincoln-based entrepreneur, Brian Ardinger, started a podcast called Inside Outside Innovation, with weekly episodes featuring startups outside Silicon Valley.

After two years running the podcast, Ardinger decided to create an event around the same concept, which became Lincoln’s IO Summit.

“The idea is to bring together the best and the brightest from the world of innovation to talk about talent, technology and the future of innovation,” said Ardinger.

Coming into its third year, the summit will draw between 400 and 500 attendees and will be held at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s new Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

The event, which runs from October 20-22 coincides with Startup Week Lincoln. Sunday will primarily be a travel day, kicking off the event in the evening with a VIP reception for select ticket-holders. Monday and Tuesday, however, consist of full speaker lineups. 

Speakers include key players in the startup world, including Stuart Willson of Radicle, Zainab Ghadiyali of Airbnb and Facebook, and Lorrie Vogel of Nike and ImagineNOW, among numerous others.

“From a lineup perspective, you won’t find this anywhere else in the Midwest,” Ardinger says. “It’s not often that you have, within driving distance, some of the people we’re bringing into town.”

View the full list of speakers here.

Who should attend the IO Summit?

According to Ardinger, the IO Summit is for anyone involved in the world of startups, from founders to corporate innovators. 

“We’re trying to bring together startup innovators and corporate innovators,” he said. “The ‘ties and the t-shirts,’ or the ‘tucked and the untucked,’ as we like to say.”

For startups, Ardinger says the event is a chance to meet and mingle with other founders. Corporate innovators, on the other hand, are getting the opportunity to understand new trends and discover companies with whom they may want to partner.

“It’s an interesting mix of startup and corporate,” Ardinger said. “We think there’s an advantage to having both sides see and interact with each other.”

“All the cities in the Midwest can’t really stand on their own.” Ardinger said. “They need to band together and talk about innovation, talk about startups, and have a more collaborative environment across different cities.”

Ardinger says one of the goals of the conference is to help people understand the importance of collaboration.

“We want to help people connect across the region and understand that we can’t build everything in our own backyard if we’re going to survive against some of the bigger markets,” he said.

Beyond keynote speakers and networking opportunities, the IO Summit will also host a Startup Showcase, featuring 50 businesses (application only).

Startups accepted to the showcase will receive a free VIP ticket, the opportunity to interact and match with investors, and they may even be selected as part of a pitch competition with the chance to win a $25,000 grant from LaunchLNK

Two Things You Can Do This Week: 

  • Apply now to be one of the 50 startups featured in the Startup Showcase.
  • Purchase your ticket to the 2019 IO Summit here.