OpenCoSF: The new "inside-out" conference celebrating San Francisco innovation

What happens here in San Francisco isn’t by accident. Innovation is part of our DNA. While New York might be the city of finance and LA the city of the silver screen, San Francisco is the city of prospectors: You’re not a failure until you stop.

To celebrate this uniqueness, today we’re announcing the launch of new kind of conference-as-festival, OpenCoSF — a salon-style series hosted right in the homes of San Francisco’s most innovative companies. From Twitter and Yammer to TCHO Chocolate and PUBLIC Bikes, we’re going door-to-door to hear founder stories and what being in SF means.

OpenCoSF is for those of us who want to see an artist at work – to experience creation first hand. “It’s way cooler to go to where it’s at – to see the wirings hanging out, to be where innovation’s really happening,” Mark Silva, SVP Emerging Platforms for Anthem and OpenCoSF organizer, said. “You have innovation happening from the Presidio to Dogpatch… If you really want to celebrate innovation in San Francisco, you’ve got to get out of Moscone.”

A founding event of Innovation Month, OpenCoSF kicks off on October 11 at the headquarters of Federated Media with its executive chairman (and OpenCoSF co-founder) John Battelle interviewing Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo. They’ll be followed by a panel discussion with investor Ron Conway and Github founder Tom Preston-Werner. The next day, and main event, select San Francisco companies will host open houses with networking and thoughtful discussions.

“We have a duty to support the brilliant people who work in San Francisco – that is why we founded OpenCoSF,”  Battelle said. “We love the idea of an ‘inside-out’ conference where people can experience the unique neighborhoods and business climate of this great city.”

Over 50 companies already have confirmed participation, from Airbnb to Zynga: Cloudera, HotelTonight, JiWire, PeopleBrowsr | Kred, Postmates, PUBLIC Bikes, RidePal, Stipple, Wikia, Xoom Corporation, SAY Media, Lemnos Labs, Climate Corporation, Eventbrite, Federated Media, Jawbone, Kaggle, Klout, Mad Valley (Universal Mccann), Mashery, Nextdoor, Optimizely, Practice Fusion, Rock Health, Salesforce, SamaSource, Singly, Starmaker, TastemakerX, TinyCo, Twitter, Yammer, Airbnb, TCHO Chocolate, RocketSpace, Automattic/WordPress, GAFFTA, Getable, Google, MAP, Okta, Quantcast, Zynga, Gumroad, UCSF, Float, Radium One.

(Want to attend one of their salons? RSVP now.)

Our city houses such well-established companies as Levi Strauss, Charles Schwab, The Gap, Lucasfilm, and Williams Sonoma. And every year San Francisco produces new generations of househeld brand names. Think Twitter, Method, Uber, SKYY Spirits, Trulia, Square, Dolby, Pinterest, Yelp and WordPress. We attract and grow smart entrepreneurs who dominate and disrupt their industries, and the organizers of OpenCoSF want to show this up close. “San Francisco has always drawn free thinkers who are out to change the world,” said Brian Monahan, OpenCoSF co-founder and managing partner at Magna Global, part of IPG Mediabrands. “To understand what drives the current wave of innovation, we thought the best thing to do is to simply ensure that there are open doors.”

Along with being the city of choice for headquartering game-changing businesses, San Francisco is the frequent destination for visiting technologists and entrepreneurs: Hundreds of tech and startup events are held in San Francisco every year, bringing in thousands of people from around the world who want to see what’s happening in this innovation capital of the world. But OpenCoSF is the first event to focus on the city itself.

“San Francisco plays host to many of the most important technology conferences of the year like MacWorld, Google i/o, Dreamforce, and Oracle Open World, but there’s never really been a festival that really celebrates the amazing ecosystem of organizations that make up San Francisco’s place as such a key innovation hub,” said Wendy Qi, OpenCoSF organizer and global curator at, Universal McCann – an OpenCoSF sponsor.

OpenCoSF, produced by BattelleMedia, is a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s office, sfBIG, Federated Media Publishing, sf:citi, GoLightly House, 215McCann, and Anthem Worldwide. Founding sponsor Silicon Valley Bank is joined by supporting sponsors IPG Mediabrands and Universal McCann. For more information, go to OpenCo.us.

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