There are tech conferences. And then there's Dreamforce.
Some 150,000 people are expected to flood downtown San Francisco, equal to almost one-fifth of the city's population. Hotels are filled to capacity, the already crowded streets will be bursting at the seams, and a large cruise ship dubbed the Dreamboat will be docked on the bay, adding 1,100 rooms (all booked).
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Last year, the conference brought in an estimated $226 million to the local economy, according to SF Travel.
But Dreamforce isn't all about Salesforce—far from it. Scores of companies that are built on top of Salesforce's cloud platform or tied into its ecosystem view Dreamforce as the most important event of the year. Richly valued start-ups such as InsideSales.com, FinancialForce.com, Appirio and Apttus (all backed by Salesforce Ventures) spend a huge chunk of their marketing budget on Dreamforce and count on the conference for an equal percentage of sales leads.
Top sponsorships cost $1.5 million.
"This is the Super Bowl of events for us," said Dave Elkington, CEO of Provo, Utah-based InsideSales, whose software helps businesses target sales opportunities. "We go in a big way."
InsideSales is among about a dozen platinum sponsors, a level that brings with it a $1 million price tag. Five companies are in the highest tier, labeled titanium.