SOCAP 2018 Review

The SOCAP 2018 Conference took place in San Francisco, California, and for the second year in a row HumanSurge was able to attend the event with other startups and innovators. Since this was our second year in attendance you could say we are veterans, but with thousands of people attending the event every year we certainly had plenty to learn and experience for the first time!


The three day conference allows attendees the opportunity to attend presentations, use the website and app to make connections with other attendees, and create their own meetings in which other attendees can join. Having the ability to connect with all of the SOCAP attendees by using the app was a major feature to the event, as you could simply search for others who had similar interests as you and arrange an in-person meeting at the conference.


We talked with Loek Peeters about his experience at the conference as a representative of HumanSurge, but also the Dutch Coalition and Impact City.


HS: What were you hoping to achieve on behalf of HumanSurge at SOCAP?


LP: I wanted to connect with other organizations who are working on the Grand Bargain commitments, so actually before the conference even started I utilized the SOCAP app and posted that I would be interested to meet with anyone who also has commitments to the Grand Bargain. By doing this, I was able to make several contacts with people that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have met. Additionally, I wanted to connect with NGOs that do impact investing, connect with other organizations such as “Needs List” that are also using a startup approach to try to find solutions in the humanitarian sector, and finally to explore funding opportunities from both grants and impact investors.


HS: What were the most important lessons you learned that will help HumanSurge in the future?


LP: I’ve attended many other conferences before, but this time I finally learned that to get the most out of the conference you need to prepare beforehand. This year’s SOCAP was the first time I had ever done organized training to prepare, which was made possible by the Dutch Coalition. The Peace Innovation Institute helped us, and other organizations that are involved with the Dutch Coalition, to define clear targets for the SOCAP events, such as setting up meetings and how many we should realistically schedule. During the preparation we were also encouraged to talk to people directly at the event, so that helped in a big way with making instant connections.


HS: How does a startup ecosystem like ImpactCity help startups to scale up?


LP: ImpactCity helps to facilitate collaboration with other organizations, and we have the opportunity to work with other organizations in The Hague such as Get A Crowd and the Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation. ImpactCity has a lot of opportunities to achieve or win grants, so that has been really helpful in elevating HumanSurge to the next level. Once we decided to open an office in The Hague, the city really rolled out the “orange carpet” for us, which has made it so much easier to open up a representation there. One of the main reasons we wanted to open an office in The Hague was because of The Hague Humanity Hub and the actors that are hosted there, and so far it has been a great learning experience.


HS: Discuss the training day or the benefits of being part of a delegation at such events.


LP: Before and during the events we all promoted each other and tried to make it a community effort for the Dutch Coalition to be at the SOCAP event. I really tried to take advantage of being part of a larger delegation by learning things from other members of the group and making connections through and for them. You always had people to work with, and during the conference we were very visible due to the signature bright orange that we were wearing. The Dutch orange turned out to be an ice breaker, because people would recognize it and talk to us about what it represented. Overall, being part of the Dutch Delegation helped to make it a particularly memorable and worthwhile event for me, because there was a Dutch Delegation stand people could come and hangout, so really highlighted the sense of community.


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