(Editor’s note: This running list of Europe’s best tech and startup events will be updated throughout 2017.)
Dispatches Europe is all about global mobility of talent, and we believe in the value of all the collaborations that can come out of the collisions of creative people at tech/startup events.
So we decided it was high time for Dispatches’ 2017 list of best startup and tech events across Europe.
We just added the Hightech Venture Days 2017 in Dresden in November. (Thank you Karina Garcia Del Real at Holland Innovative for sending us that tip.) And we’re already cycling into 2018 events.
The question we hear increasingly is, “Are these things worth the time and money?” The answer is, “Sometimes.” We were part of HighTechXL’s Impact Summit earlier this summer, and it was amazing because we saw a level of sophistication missing in a lot of innovation centers, even in the U.S.
And there’s always the rare free event.
Of course, the clock is running out on 2017, so the plan is to create a 2018 page in the next few days for you planners. Stand by ….
Also, send us the details on your event to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it posted ASAP.
Hightech Venture Days 2017, 18 & 19 Oct., Dresden
Hightech Venture Days has closed startup registration for this year, but put this on your 2018 calendar. This is not a celeb speaker event. This is where promising tech startups go to get funding from international investors.
About 15 percent of participating startups get funded here, or meet future partners at Hightech Venture days, according to the website.
That might sound like a small percentage. But the email we received had this interesting factoid: Between 2014 and 2016, there were 565 venture-backed exits in Europe totaling 90 billion euros. Which is why one of the featured panels is “Activating Venture Capital for European Innovation” on Wed., 18 October.
It looks like the format is panels, then investors get to meet about 40 selected startups for one-on-ones.
Startups this year include Accerion from Venlo, Netherlands that works in positioning technology for autonomous robots; ACES from Leipzig, which uses advanced algorithms to analyze medical images and Holoxia, which has developed 3-D images in mid-air that don’t require you to wear those goofy 3D glasses or special eyewear. Wow!
The list of 100-plus investors and accelerators scheduled to attended is pretty impressive and includes BASF, Balderton Capital, HighTechXL, LG, Samsung and Euronext.
For future reference: The six tech sectors at Hightech Venture days environmental & energy technology; ICT, micro and nanotechnologies; life sciences; machinery and plant engineering; material sciences and transport & logistics.
Nordic Startup Awards, Grand Finale, 18 October, Stockholm
This will be the night the top startup is named from the finalists in Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland. As you might imagine considering the technology coming out of the Nordics, these will some impressive teams.
There’s a networking event, an invitation-only gala and after party. You can sign up for the networking here.
Innowave 2017, 20 & 21 October, Varna, Bulgaria
As we predicted, Bulgaria is emerging – along with Romania – as an innovation center. And every innovation center has to have a tech/startup event. The Black Sea city of Varna is no different. Innowave 2017 Business and Startup Conference is an international high tech event, but is a bit more conventional than all the AI and VR events listed here, focused on marketing, sales and e-Commerce.
But topics include AI, e-Commerce trends, big data and a lot about customer behavior and social shopping.
The event claims about 40 speakers and 25 exhibitors, with a number of investment companies listed. More as we know more.
Innowave is part of Varna’s being awarded the designation of a European Youth Capital for 2017.
There’s also a startup contest with 30 slots. You can apply here now.
Otherwise, tickets start at 59 euros for students and you can get them here.
Websummit 2017, 6-9 November in Lisbon.
This is huge …. so huge, this conference bills itself as “the largest tech conference in the world” and “where the tech community meets.”
There were 53,000 people last year from 15,000 companies in 166 countries after Websummit moved to sunny Lisbon from not sunny Dublin.
There are serious entrepreneurs and CEOs on the list. And a lot of silly people who’ll waste your time.
Websummit is the see-and-be-seen event for global publicity hounds who wouldn’t know a line of code if it bit ’em in the behind. This year’s speakers include Bono, Al Gore, François Holland, Caitlyn Jenner (seriously?) and Wladimir Klitschko. Who? (Mr. Klitschko is a boxer.)
Our only question is, “Where are the Kardashians?”
But there are also speakers who might be relevant including Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel, Microsoft President Brad Smith and Re/code co-founder Kara Swisher. Oh, and Sophia the Robot.
If you go waaaay down the list of all 10,000 speakers (we’re only exaggerating a little) you finally see several interesting names including Farfetch Founder and CEO José Neves and Super Evil Mega Corp CEO Kristian Segerstrale. (SEMC is a game maker that “seeks to destroy the productivity of mankind with endlessly entertaining games.”)
Tickets start at 750 euros and go to 25,000 euros. (The latter must be the people who get to hang with Mr. Klitschko.)
Women in Tech Conference, 8 & 9 November in Amsterdam
You can bet this will be a hot one coming not too long after former Google engineer James Damore got fired for arguing that women are neither smart enough nor tough enough to work in tech. Somehow, we suspect Women in Tech will return fire in this opening battle of American conservatives’ new anti-equality war on the politics of tech.
Speakers include Gillian Tans, CEO of Amsterdam-based Booking.com and Gerard Smit, CTO at IBM Benelux.
Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017, 13 – 19 November around the world
During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions in 160 countries are meant to inspire millions to become entrepreneurs while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Powered by the Kauffman Foundation, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of more than 15,000 partner organizations.
This is the 10th year, and about 35,000 events and competitions will take place during #GEW2017 – connecting nearly 10 million participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors, according to the GEW website. But you have to go country-by-country to get a list of events.
Also, there seem to be a lot of GEW events that aren’t really directly connected with GEW Week. The week is sponsored by the Global Entrepreneurial Network, and this is where it gets a little complicated. GEN operates a number of startup efforts including Present Your Startup, a series of competitions for entry into a Dutch accelerator program.
Smart City Expo World Congress, 14-16 November in Barcelona.
Expect a crowd, with 17,000 visitors expected and 600 exhibitors. Why? Because there will only be two kinds of cities in the future – Smart Cities, and loser cities.
This is billed as a congress, not a groovy 3-ring tech event with big names. This is more a policy wonk event, with smart people collaborating to make cities better. The silo topics are governance, mobility, safe cities, economy, sustainability, circular economy, society and data technology,
There are 400 speakers, but these are policy wonks and urbanists.
And no, Kevin Spacey won’t be there.
Tickets start at 100 euros, and you can get them here.
Slush 2017, 30 November – 1 December in Helsinki
Yeah, it’s freezing cold in Helsinki in the winter (hence the name “Slush”). But last year, more than 2,300 startups, 1,100 venture capitalists, and 600 journalists from over 120 countries came to Slush to drive business, and to experience the phenomenal atmosphere.
This year, 17,500 people are expected in Helsinki, which only has like 2,000 residents to start with. (We’re kidding … you know, right Helsinki?)
The point of Slush is to demonstrate that Europe is bumping up against The Valley as the dominant tech center. Which means Al Gore will be there. (Why, we have no idea.)
There will also be some heavy, heavy hitters including Mood Rowghani from the original Sand Hill Road VC Kliener Perkins, Trivago founder Rolf Schrömgens along with fellow founders Mark Pincus (Zynga), Illkka Paanenen (Supercell), Nicholas Brusson (BlaBlaCar), Monique Woodard from 500 Startups and Kat Manalac from Y Combinator. So, who knows … maybe Europe is ascending.
You know with that kind of star power, this ain’t gonna’ be cheap.
Tickets start at 395 euros for startups and you can get them here.
Disrupt Berlin 2017 Startup Battlefield: 4 – 5 December in Berlin.
This Berlin event is part of the global Disrupt series sponsored by the tech news website TechCruch.
Startup Battlefield brings the world’s top early stage startups together on one stage to compete for the Disrupt Cup, a $50,000 prize, and the attention of media and investors. Participation is free and open.
Most of the speakers at Disrupt Berlin are startup veterans or from smallish investment firms with the exception of Suranga Chandratillake from Balderton Capital in London.
This is one of the more expensive events, with early bird tickets starting at a whopping 700 euros and you can get yours here.
But if you look at the alums and how much they’ve raised, you get it. For instance, corporate internal networking technology Yammer was started by David Sachs, and raised $142 million before being sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion.
Since appearing on the TechCrunch stage, Battlefield alumni have collectively raised more than $6.6 billion.
Go for it.
4YFN Smart City Village, 14 – 16 November, Barcelona
IOT and Smart Cities have been building momentum lately. Maybe it’s time you checked out the coming revolution.
And where better than Barcelona (rather than, say, Moscow) to have a winter event?
The 4YFN Smart City Village will house up to 30 Spanish and international startups with solutions designed to create smarter and cleaner futures for European cities.
More than 17,000 visitors are expected this year for the third event including high level representatives from more than 650 cities worldwide, according to the website.
Startups have a branded exhibition booth to show off their goods as well as an opportunity to pitch on stage to a large crowd of attendees, investors and corporations.
4YFN ( 4 Years From Now) is the startup piece of the mega-event Mobile World Capital Barcelona that connects startups and investors.
Coming up in December
Dutch Open Hackathon, 9 – 11 December in Rotterdam.
This event is sponsored by KLM/Air France. But we haven’t seen any definitive info on it even at this late date. Which makes us wonder if it will happen.
Coming up in 2018
TechChill, 8 & 9 February, Riga, Lativa: TechChill brings together startup teams, entrepreneurs, challengers and curious minds from the Baltics and beyond. They already have 10 speakers announced including investors from Microsoft Ventures and InReach Ventures.
Latitude 59, May 24 – 25, 2018 in Tallinn, Estonia: Latitude 59 is the flagship startup/tech event of the world’s first digital society. In its 10th year, Latitude59 has developed into an event where innovators and startup entrepreneurs can meet investors and potential partners. The boutique event attracts around 1,500 participants spanning from Finland to Ukraine, and investors from across the globe. More a serious event, less a party.