Tech

2023 edition: Dispatches’ list of the best startup and tech events across Europe and the Middle East

(Editor’s note: This post on the best startup and tech events – part of our Tech Tuesdays series – will be updated through 2023 as we get new announcements. We cover the startup and tech scenes because Dispatches is dedicated to the highly skilled internationals who power economies across Europe.)

Everyone will be coming back to the world of innovation after the holidays, so, we’re pleased to tell you can look forward to heavy schedule of startup and tech events through 2023.

It’s easy to make fun of some of the more pompous and pointless events. But we go to multiple tech events each year, and some are amazing, with levels of sophistication missing in a lot of innovation centers, even in the United States. And yeah, some were meh. It’s up to you to figure out which are relevant and which are excuses to squeeze money out of startups that don’t have much.

What we’re not including this year are the invitation-only events with movie stars and non-tech celebrities, which are usually too expensive and too exclusive. More and more, these tech events are just big parties, but we’ve included a few where you can meet potential investors and people in your industry and learn from them.

Most of these are the first events since the COVID pandemic, so expect crowds. And all are significantly more expensive since our most recent list in 2020.

We started this list as a way to keep track ourselves of what’s going and to smarten up about the European scene. But it quickly attracted a significant audience across Europe. So we’ll do better at keeping it as up-to-date as possible.

We promise.

Feel free to send us your events at: [email protected] And thanks to all of you who have sent/suggested events.

OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, 15 February in Jerusalem

Israel – particularly Tel Aviv – is breathing down Europe’s neck. When we talk with European investors and executives, they’re increasingly dazzled by the tech and talent coming of Israel even more than from China. So it makes sense the biggest equity crowdfunding event in the world is here.

So you might want to put OurCrowd Global Investors Summit on your calendar because entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, global corporations and investors from all over the world will gather to define the startup landscape for the year to come, to quote from the website.

This is both a showcase for Israel and an international event.

Here are the numbers:

The Summit, which provides unique access to private companies you can invest in, is one of the premier events in the startup world and the biggest investor event in the Middle East, with 23,259 people registering from 183 countries in 2020.

It’s the diversity of speakers that’s fascinating.  Previous Our Crowd events have included everyone from the COO of Honda R&D to a Hartford, Conn. police sergeant who’s an expert on real-time surveillance, CT cameras and command centers for smart cities.

There are no 2023 event details, so stay tuned.

This is a lot different from other tech/startup events in that this is a summit put on by an equity crowdfunding group, OurCrowd, which also operates its own investment arm with almost 25,000 accredited investors from more than 112 countries. OurCrowd has raised over $750 million and invested in 150 portfolio companies and funds, according to its website.

This year, unlike past events, you have to pay. Tickets cost $199, with an early bird price of $149 and $249 at the door. The fee includes all-day access to Summit exhibition areas, tech demos, plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and general networking areas.  It also includes breakfast, lunch, coffee throughout the day, and the legendary After Party.

You can register here.

E-commerce Berlin Expo, 23 February 2023

E-Commerce Berlin Expo is back post-COVID, dedicated – as you might have guessed – to helping people sell stuff online. This not a tech conference but an actual trade fair for B2B e-commerce service providers, designed for the CEOs, directors, senior managers and executives responsible for delivering e-commerce strategies.

The E-commerce Berlin Expo is the largest pure-play e-commerce event, attracting more than 8,000 visitors to 200-plus exhibitors.

From the release:

The E-commerce Berlin Expo views itself as a networking platform and insightful knowledge hub. We give our attendees an opportunity to widen their horizons and find partnerships for years.

The 2023 of the E-commerce Berlin Expo will take place at STATION Berlin in February 2023. E-commerce giants such as Google, Zalando, Facebook, Amazon, Youtube, cosmetics/fragrance retailer Douglas, Vodafone, MediaMarktSaturn, BigCommerce and About You will be there. Exhibitors include Shopware, Deutsche Post DHL, Shopify, Rakuten, idealo, Mastercard and Trusted Shops.

This is a free event, with sponsors and all the vendors who bought booths picking up the tab.

You can register where it says, “Register for Free.”

And our thanks to Aleksandra Strzalkowska at E-commerce Berlin for reminding us about this event.

Mobile World Conference, 27 February thru 2 March in Barcelona

Mobile is still where the action is, and MWC Barcelona (the new name) is one of the Big Four tech/startup events along Viva Technology, Web Summit and CES in Vegas. This horizontal industry show – from network technology companies to content providers – mixes first looks at cutting-edge tech from more than 2,400 companies with programs built around industry visionaries dispensing digital wisdom.

And, it will be just you and 110,000 other change-makers. Cozy.

There are five themes for the 2023 conference including:

• 5G Acceleration

• Reality +

• Open Net

• Fintech

• Digital everything

Speakers include: the CEOs of

• Ericcsson, Börje Eckholm

• Nokia, Pekka Lundmark

• Orange Group, Christel Heydemann.

• Lockheed Martin, James Taiclet

You can see the complete list on the website.

This is a coming together of people from huge companies, but there are also programs tailored for startups and women in tech.

Here’s the overall information page including info on hotels in Barcelona because with 110,000 people expected, you might want to reserve that room.

sTARTUp Day 2023, 15 thru 17 March in Tartu, Estonia

This is the Baltic’s biggest startup event, yet held in a small, but hugely influential, city in Estonia. A town which has incorporated its name into the title of the event – sTARTUp Day.

The University of Tartu claims the title of Northern Europe’s oldest university. And we all know how unis contribute to the startup ecosystem. And we all know about Estonia’s tech prowess, where Skype started, and where about half its employees are based today.

sTARTUp Day is actually three days – 15, 16 and 17 March. It’s a bit different in that it bills itself as an event for both conventional businesspeople and the startup/tech crowd, “experts and newbies … an event where everyday people with an interest in startups and technology can meet others with similar interests and grow their network,” according to the website. Which is refreshing.

Many of the dozens and dozens of speakers are from incubators, accelerators and venture buildings such as Antler and .Cocoon, as well as from early stage investment funds such as Superangel. There are also lots of founders.

And now the best bit: A ticket to sTARTUp Day is not 999 euros. They’re 119 euros and you can get yours here.

Hello Tomorrow Paris, 9 & 10 March

With Trump, Brexit and the missteps of social media giants such as Facebook, it’s difficult to believe sometimes the world is getting better, but it is. The goal of Hello Tomorrow Paris, which bills itself as a global deep-tech summit, is to bring together the brightest entrepreneurs and change-makers to “build our future.”

Topics for 2023 include Regenerative Buildings & Manufacturing, Energy Transition & Clean Mobility and Healthcare Revolutions.

Announced speakers at the end of 2022 include:

• Wayne Koff, CEO of the Human Immunome Project

• Megan Palmer, executive director in biopolicy and leadership at Stanford University.

• Ann Mettler, vice-president for Europe of Breakthrough Energy

• Greg de Temmerman, managing director of Zenon Research

This is mostly a future-trends event, with speakers from universities, NASA and organizations such as the Longevity Fund, which seeks ways to make humans live long and prosper. But there are also events for startups including a Toolbox Stage where you can learn skills such as corporate board building, what to look for in a shareholder agreement and how to identify A Players.

And don’t forget the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge:

The Challenge gives scientists and deeptech entrepreneurs around the globe a platform for their research and projects, providing equity-free prize money as well as other funding opportunities, global visibility and connections with key players in the deeptech innovation network.

Full passes start at 272 euros for startups and you can get yours here.

CloudFest 2023, 21 thru 23 March at Europa-Park in Rust, Germany

Got a great idea for startup. Well, you ain’t goin’ anywhere without infrastructure. Software may be eating the world, but if you don’t have cloud capacity, what’s the point? CloudFest, as you might have guessed, is all about computing infrastructure. All that baffling in-the-background technology such as IaaSs and ASNs.

Dry, we know … but what’s cool about this event is that it’s at an amusement park in the Black Forest on the France/Germany border, not too far from Switzerland. So if your eyes start to glaze over, you can go ride the Silver Star.

They won’t glaze over because there’s a crazy lineup of speakers including Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin (why, we’re not sure), Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Steve Wozniak. Oh, and top executives from tech giants such as IBM.

Seriously, there will be 250 speakers and 6,000 people in attendance.

Tickets start at 399 euros and we have no idea if that includes the rides, so don’t ask. You can get yours here.

Money20/20 Europe, 6 thru 8 June, Amsterdam

No digital category is hotter than fintech, and with Adyen and other scale-ups, Amsterdam is a fintech innovation hub. No better place for one of the global Money20/20 events.

Money20/20 Europe promises to connect you to “fintech’s boldest and brightest voices,” shaping what comes next for the money ecosystem in Europe.

Those include:

• Valentin Stalf, co-founder of N26

• Keily Blair, COO at OnlyFans

• Stripe co-founder John Collison

• Charlotte Hogg, VISA’s CEO for Europe

• Deutsche Bank’s head of technology and innovation Bernd Leukert

• Tui Allen of Shopify

We could go on and on because there are about a million speakers. Well, more than 350, according to the website. So, that’s like a speaker every 30 minutes for three days, and a speaker-to-attendee ratio of about 1 to 6.

This is a trés expensive event, with tickets prices starting about 675 euros and going to about 2,300 euros. You can get yours here.

South Summit Madrid, 7 thru 9 June in Madrid

South Summit Madrid is part of a network of six events in Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Columbia, an organization that’s celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

This 3-day event in Madrid will be look at 2030 and all the success we’ve made in battling climate change by then. (From their lips to God’s ear.) If we had to describe this event, we’d say this is a great place to meet potential investors.

Featured speakers this year include several VCs from smallish Europe-based and American funds such as Elaia Partners in Paris and Wisdom Ventures in San Francisco, as well as representatives of incubators accelerators and venture builders such as CanopyLAB in Copenhagen. But there’s nothing smallish about the event itself, with 15,000 people last year.

Tickets start at 159 euros and you can get them here.

European Women in Technology 2023, 28 & 29 June in Amsterdam

Women aren’t good at STEM, right?

Wrong.

As events all across Europe prove. This relatively new event’s slogan is, “be known as a champion for women in tech,” meant to help your company improve both its talent base and its diversity.

It promises 160 speakers and 120 expert-led sessions. Speakers include women in tech and sustainability from Formula E, Novartis, IBM, MongoDB, ASML and E.ON.

Tickets start at 199 euros and you can get your ticket here.

Webit.Festival Europe, 28 & 29 June in Sofia

Billed as “a gathering of open-minded people who want to change the world,” Webit events are part industry show, part tech event and part European Union policy summit. The main event in Sofia is probably the largest EU-blessed tech event (Mariya Gabriel, EU commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society holds forth) and certainly the largest in Eastern Europe. Webit and most of the EU events are the opposite of the private-sector U.S. approach – government officials trying to lay out a centrally planned vision for where Europe should be going.

So far, no worlds have been changed, but you never know, right?

This is an event heavy with general secretaries and plenary chairs and even the prime minister of that digital disrupter Turkey.  But the corporates aren’t stupid … there are also top executives from U.S.companies such as Salesforce and Cisco. Because again, you never know, right?

The next event is the Founders Game in Davos on 17 January, 2023. It’s invitation only, and you can apply here.

Viva Technology, 14 thru 17 June in Paris

Okay, we know all about Hello Tomorrow above. Let’s look at Viva Tech, which is one of the majors, with 100,000 attendees, thousands of VCs and the biggest names in tech as part speakers including Zuck, Satya Nadella from Microsoft and Ginni Rometty from IBM.

The VT pitch is that you’ll meet the people who can fund your startup, or maybe the talent you lack. But the truth is, unless you have the next Apple or Salesforce, you might get lost in the crowd.

That said, the opportunities are real, with:

• Office Hours, face time with VCs

• Scaleup Lounge, with one-on-one coaching

• Mentor Lounge, with guidance from people who’ve been where you want to go.

This is definitely the Big Time for those who are ready and have the cash to pay for transportation well as a place to stay.

You can pre-register here.

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You can see more of Dispatches startup and tech coverage here.

Website | + posts

Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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