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2022/2023 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 will be updated into 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.)

Much to the amazement of Americans, tech centers across Europe and the Middle East from Lisbon to Riyadh tend to take the summer off. But now everyone is back and there is a heavy schedule of startup and tecg events into 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 were amazing, with levels of sophistication missing in a lot of innovation centers, even in the U.S. And yeah, some where meh.

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 almost 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 try to 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.

GOTO Copenhagen 2022, 3 thru 7 October

As Marc Andreessen so famously wrote, “software is eating the world.” That’s truer now even than when he wrote that essay lo’ these many years ago, though we could say “AI is eating the world.”

Andreessen’s take was that after years of building the digital infrastructure and compounding computing knowledge, we’ve reached the moment “all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.”

Now what?

Find out at GOTO Copenhagen, software development conference in October. The 2022 version has a number of speakers on on cybersecurity. Yes, there are also game developers and engineers including Katie Gamanji from Apple.

But of the 45 announced speakers, there are several hackers including GummO (xxx) and Ben Sadeghipour.

As you’ve already figured out, GOTO Copenhagen is an expensive proposition (it is in Copenhagen), with tickets prices starting at 5,500 Danish krone, or about 740 euros. PER DAY!

You can get your tickets here. And you know, pick us up a couple … we’ll pay you back.

Black Hat Europe 2022, 5 thru 8 December in London

This is a Black Hat conferences or the infosec set.

From the website:

Black Hat provides attendees with the latest in research, development, and trends in Information Security. Here the brightest professionals and researchers in the industry come together for a total of four days—two or four days of deeply technical hands-on Trainings, followed by two days of the latest research and vulnerability disclosures in the Briefings.

For 2022, Black Hat Europe will be a hybrid event—offering both a Live, In-Person Event in London and a Virtual (online) Event.

This is more of an academic conference, so there’s a call for papers that closes 20 August and most of the website is dedicated to disclosure rules and speaker qualifications for submitting research.

This is for people waaay smarter than we are.

You have to apply to attend, so there’s no stated fee. It appears vendors foot the bill because after all, you’re addressing their pain points. Also, BHE pays speakers an honorarium of up to $1,500. You can apply here.

And be sure to read ALL the information on the website because there are a lot of submission requirements and rules about who can present.

Step Saudi 2022, 12 & 13 December in Riyadh

Increasingly, the Middle East is vying with Europe for promising startups. And countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have some serious capital to deploy. Step Saudi 2022 will bring together talent and investors to discuss verticals such as venture capital, adtech, and mobility, e-commerce, data and financial technologies.

Step Saudi has more than 30 speakers including a lot – and we mean a lot – of people representing investment funds. There are also MENA reps for Amazon, Endeavor, Startup Bootcamp and Freshworks.

You can get tickets here. You can apply to pitch here.

This is just one of several Step conferences.

SLUSH 2022, 17 & 18 November in Helsinki

Despite being held in the frozen tundra of Finland in late fall, Slush has turned into one of the Big 5 along with Web Summit and TechCrunch Disrupt.

Before the pandemic, 20,000 people were involved either in SLUSH or attended associated events. Crowds at single SLUSH talks were as large as 6,000 people, according to the website.

The point of Slush is to demonstrate that Europe is chest-bumping The Valley as the dominant tech center. Speakers include founders, investors, startup pioneers and tech aficionados.

For 2022, heavy hitters include Doug Leone, a general partner at VC Sequoia, Revolut co-founder Nikolai Storonsky, Amrapali Gan, CEO at Just Fans, Arianna Simpson, a GP at A16Z, Rachel Partner, the head of startup partnerships at Google and lots and lots of people who’ve started world-changing companies you just haven’t heard of yet.

You know with that kind of star power, this ain’t gonna’ be cheap. That said, tickets start at 395 euros for startups and go up to 995 euros for investors.

You can get yours 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 show 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

That’s all we know at this point, but expect the speaker list to come shortly.

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.

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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