Unlocking Success: A Deep Dive Into Top 3 of the Most Successful Events in Braindate History

Unlocking Success: A Deep Dive Into Top 3 of the Most Successful Events in Braindate History

Fall is bustling with customer events, and September 2023 marked a significant milestone in Braindate history.

What do these 3 notably successful events have in common? 

They were all large-scale events with 15,000+ participants, making Braindate the home and vibrant social learning hub of large audiences. 

In this article you’ll get actionable best practices and strategies of the three Braindate use cases of Dreamforce, Grace Hopper Celebration and SaaStr Annual 2023.

Logos top 2 events: Salesforce, Anita B, Saastr

What does it take to connect tens of thousands of participants at large-scale events on a deep, meaningful level? 

Imagine being the sole representative of your company in the middle of a bustling crowd of 40,000 people with 1,400 keynote sessions, 300 partner booths and cocktail hours: where do you start?

By going on a braindate.

Braindates are topic driven 1:1 or group conversations that participants book with one another through the Braindate platform. Contrary to traditional matchmaking based on shared interests, braindates have an intentional approach which leads to increased commitment for the conversation, which in turn leads to meaningful connections.

Braindate’s participatory experience becomes all the more valuable in larger audiences as the odds of finding “the right person” get thinner by the count.

Leading worldwide organizations Salesforce, AnitaB.org and SaaStr all chose Braindate to reach new heights in their audience engagement. Learn from these large-scale event use cases on how you can implement their successful strategies.

1. Grace Hopper Celebration, by AnitaB.org

Notable Stats

The people

Grace Hopper Celebration by AnitaB.org is inspired by the legacy of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. Created in 1994, the Celebration spotlights women’s computing research and career development. Today, GHC is the world’s largest gathering of women and non-binary technologists, where women and folx from around the world learn, network, and celebrate their achievements.

This year, GHC hosted 30,000 participants and featured 400+ speakers and 350+ sessions under the theme “The Way Forward”.

Rebecca L G2 Review

Excellent way to have efficient focused talk in big conference
This form of networking with people with similar interests really blew up my mind. During my 8 face-to-face Braindates on GHC, I learned so much focused career growth advice from senior leaders from other companies in the industry , and was glad I got the chance to share my personal experience with new grads looking to step into early careers as well!


Problem to solve

GHC’s audience mainly consisted of students, mid-career and senior workers, each seeking connection in a specific context. The challenge for GHC was to make sure that these personas found each other among 30,000 participants. Talk about finding a needle in the haystack!

Strategy at Play: Focus on Attendee Motivation

When we kickoff a production with a client, we question them on the level of interaction of their different audience segments: what is the critical mass of users and what is their core motivation for participating?

We also define their vision of success: what do we want to achieve together? What does success look and feel like for them and their audience? This pre-production work allows us to identify the core motivation  of the audience, so we can design our whole experience around it.

For GHC23, their audience engagement key success metric was : 

  • 20% (6,000) participants engaged with Braindate.

As the core motivation of the majority of the audience was to find a job, Braindate served as the bridge connecting big tech recruiters with eager job seekers. Our platform allowed different participant personas to post their needs and connect with the right person in the Braindate Lounge, located in the Connection Zone.

This is how we exceeded GHC’s audience engagement goals.

Braindate gave all participants a voice and a place to express their distinctive connection needs, and provided them with a safe space to meet and learn from each other. Through the Braindate Lounge, students connected with mentors, and mid-career and senior workers built their community at GHC. 

When it comes to designing a tailored experience for your audience, there is no one-size-fits all solution. The more you know your audience, the more you can give them what they want, what they crave for.

But in order to achieve these high engagement rates, you must  align your Braindate experience with their core motivation. Speak their language, give them the platform to voice their needs and help them find what they want.

Grace Hopper Celebration AnitaB Braindate Lounge

GHC’s Big Win: A day dedicated to networking

On Day 1 of the event, Grace Hopper Celebration dedicated 5 hours to Braindate as a strategic program choice to kick off strong and bring people together to get the momentum going. The result: 646 braindates, and 1,000 topics posted on the first day, at a first-edition event no less!

This is what happened.

GHC started off early in the afternoon. There were no keynote sessions planned for that day: only the Connection Zone and the Career Expo Hall were open.
With no other competing activity on the agenda and queues at every booth, Braindate really stood out from the crowd with our flowing hosting experience. Our self check-in feature ensured that no queues would line up at the counter, leaving our Learning Concierges free and available to onboard and help other participants with their own experience.

“I really enjoyed having Braindate at GHC! It was my favorite part because you get to listen to inspiring sessions everywhere, but you don’t get to meet with people in high power positions who are also willing to share and coach everyday.”

– Zerlina Zen, Senior Product Manager Tech at AWS

2. Dreamforce, by Salesforce

Notable Stats

The people

Dreamforce, Salesforce’s legendary event, welcomed 40,000 participants last September in San Francisco. The excitement was palpable as participants from every corner of the globe gathered for this iconic event. It was the place to be, and the buzz on social media said it all. Dreamforce was more than just a conference; it was an immersive experience that connected customers, prospective customers, Salesforce employees, partners, and consultants. Once again, Dreamforce National Park took over the city as people were spilling out from Moscone center into the streets of downtown San Francisco.

Dreamforce meetups powered by Braindate

Problem to solve

The downside of any large-scale event is the vast venue, sparse sessions and activity locations. It is then critical to create a central hub for participants to gather. You have to help them find each other and make sure that they don’t flee the noisy crowds and take their meetings off campus. The challenge for Dreamforce was to nurture its community while keeping them on the event grounds.

Strategy at Play: Location is paramount

Dreamforce was created to build connections amongst the Salesforce community, and Braindate’s peer-learning solution has proven its unique ability to build relationships, making it a truly valuable experience.

Our focus at Braindate doesn’t stop at fostering meaningful connections: we also create a space of belonging at the Braindate Lounge, and our onsite team of Learning Concierges provides a human hosting experience that makes every participant feel seen and welcome.

For Dreamforce organizers, Braindate served as more than a deep networking solution; it provided a quiet space for attendees to cultivate connections amidst the event’s hustle.

Located in the heart of Moscone between the Campground (Expo Hall) and the Lodge Village (Product Experts), the Braindate Lounge presented a cozy and inviting atmosphere, ideal for encouraging knowledge-sharing on campus.

More than the physical space, our onsite team of Learning Concierges really left an impression on the participants and on the event organizers.

  • Our Learning Concierges greeted every group host with tips to encourage inclusive and knowledge-driven conversations: people felt more confident in leading these discussions and got a lot more out of their braindates! 
  • Using screen monitors to display upcoming group conversations effectively attracted passersby from the two most visited areas. We got them engaged and into the experience with a quick glance at our topics offering.
  • Having signage filled with prompts, such as “Drop some knowledge” or “Where chats turn into networks”, reflected Dreamforce’s camaraderie and fostered a sense of belonging inside the Braindate Lounge.
  • Having a lounge with 21 group tables and as many 1:1 spaces ensured that every participant was welcome in the lounge, even the walk-ins!

Dreamforce’s Big Win: Community Gamification 

The Road to Dreamforce 2023 Quest was a series of sessions and activities that participants had to complete over the course of all three days. Upon completion of their Quest, they would receive exclusive tokens such as a digital badge and a chance to win goodies from the Salesforce store.

Having Braindate as part of the Quest really bumped our engagement, especially during the last day where almost a third of our total braindates happened.

“It was good to have a space to connect with Customers because typically it’s hard to have one location to meet at. At the same time, it’s a good way to meet new customers which I did! There’s also good serendipity, as I met other people while waiting for my upcoming braindates.”

Austin Tam, VP Product Management, SALESFORCE

3. SaaStr Annual, by SaaStr

Notable Stats

The people

SaaStr is the world’s largest community of SaaS executives, founders and entrepreneurs. Its mission is to help everyone in their SaaS journey through industry-leading content and community connections.

Learning has always been a core value for founder & CEO of SaaStr Jason Lemkin and Amelia Ibarra, SVP & GM at SaaStr. Year after year, they continuously worked to provide high quality learning experiences for their attendees at their flagship event SaaStr Annual.



“Braindate was nascent for us before the world changed, now it’s our hub.”

In 2018, Braindate brought peer learning to SaaStr Annual for the first time. Five years and 12 collaborations later, we brought our peer-learning solution across their event programs as they grew their community internationally. Today, Braindate is a part of their flagship event culture at SaaStr Annual, Europa and APAC. 

Problem to solve

With the SaaS community being very sales driven, SaaStr Annual organizers needed to keep the culture of interaction towards growth and learning on how to scale businesses, rather than selling them. The challenge for them was to stimulate and drive a community of learning without falling in the sales pitch trap.

Strategy at Play: Learning is at the core of everything

SaaStr Annual 2023 Braindate

From the very beginning of our collaboration, Jason and Amelia have always believed and understood our values of peer learning. Their unwavering focus on high quality learning experiences have truly set their community apart: SaaStr Annual is now known for the quality of its attendees and their willingness to share their knowledge. 

Every year, SaaStr leverages all Braindate features to maximize the value for their participants: using our software to uncover trending keywords and hot topics, they foster different crowds around selected braindates, thus creating the most valuable content for their community.

SaaStr also uses the Topic Market to promote thought leadership topics with a strict no sales-pitch policy. With highly educational topics showing the participants what they’re interested in (as opposed to telling them), SaaStr leverages Braindate to keep stimulating and driving its community of learning.

Braindate has become an integral part of SaaStr Annual, and this year, we’ve reached new audience engagement heights with:

  • 2,667/6,000 participants engaged (44%);
  • 1,521 braindates over the course of 3 days;
  • 33 Super Group braindates, leading the total number of connections to a record-breaking 25,000!

The SaaStr community is highly engaged and wants more of Braindate, as 65% of the braindating participants booked 2+ braindates, and 49% created a topic for a total of  2,800+.

SaaStr Annual’s Big Win : Super Group Braindates

Super Group braindates are group braindates that go up to 25 people (as opposed to 5 in the regular group braindates). We partnered with SaaStr to create a Super Group model so that more people could participate in the topics that brought the most value to their community.

This year, SaaStr Annual set up a Braindate Lounge for 30 group tables, as many 1:1 tables along with two Super Group braindates dedicated areas capable of hosting up to 50 people. The resources they put into the Braindate Lounge reflects the value of Braindate as an integral part of the event. 

Lastly, having the CEO Jason Lemkin lead by example with talking about Braindate onstage and in the promotional videos shows how we work hand-in-hand to provide the attendees with the best learning experience at SaaStr Annual.

SaaStr Annual 2023: Super Group Braindates
Erik Adair

This is like…. the best platform EVER for learning and networking at Events
It was my first time using Braindate and I didn’t know a single person at the 10,000 attendee SaaStr 2022 event prior to going. Ahead of my trip, I scheduled about 10 1:1 meetings and got a ton of interest in Braindates I posted. and most of all I made the connections I wanted to have. It was brilliant.

Erik A. Business Advisor


Braindate large scale events

Braindate has played a pivotal role in driving meaningful connections and fostering valuable conversations at large-scale events Grace Hopper Celebration, Dreamforce, and SaaStr Annual 2023. These global events also demonstrated that Braindate’s human-centered approach can be scaled to diverse audiences and tailored to different challenges. 

Our solution lies in our adaptability and ability to enhance the attendee experience by fostering lasting connections through peer-learning and community building, regardless of the event type. Braindate engineers serendipity, especially in larger audiences where the odds of finding “the right person” get thinner by the count.

More than a networking tool, Braindate transforms networking spaces into a vibrant, learning hub, ideal for fostering high engagement and creating memorable experiences for your participants.

Curious to learn how you can scale your attendee experiences? 

Talk to our team to get the best engagement tips and discuss your specific use case.

cta banner event engagement visual 1

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