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NEWS & BUZZ The 2019 Edition (updated): Dispatches’ list of the best startup and tech events across Europe
BydispatcheseuroPosted on January 31, 2019
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Dispatches is all about bringing highly skilled internationals together to collaborate on the way to changing the world for the better. (Oh, and it would be nice if we all make a couple of euros.) Which is why we go to as many tech and startup events as possible when we’re not going to EDM concerts and zipping around Europe writing travel posts. (We know … a 24/7 job, but somebody’s gotta do it.)
Europe’s tech ecosystem is growing, and by extension, so are the number of startup and tech events. The center of the digital universe used to be London, which still produces far more innovative new companies than any other city with the possible exception of Tel Aviv. But with Brexit, there are emerging contenders for Europe’s tech crown now from Lisbon to Lviv.
At first, Europe imitated Silicon Valley and its tech meetups and hackathons. Now, we’re going our own way, pushing hard into deep tech such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
As stated back in 2017, the question we always hear – as events multiply and corporations catch startup fever – is, “Are these things worth the time and money?” The answer is, “Sometimes. That’s your call.” If only the innovation they produced matched the ability of event organizers to come up with new ways to get you to fork over 500 euros!
It’s easy to make fun of some of the more pompous and pointless events. But we’ve been to multiple events since 2016 including the CERN Hackathon in Eindhoven and PortXL in Rotterdam and they were amazing, with levels of sophistication missing in a lot of innovation centers, even in the U.S. One of our friends just got back from Slush in Finland and rated it well worth the time and money … and she got a meeting with Google execs.
What we’re no longer including are the invitation-only and celebrity-oriented events, which come dangerously close to just being religious services for people worshiping at the Temple of Tech. For 2019, we’re including more events which can help you build your skills and industry connections. And as always, thanks to those sending us their events … and we’ll try to do a better job of keeping this list updated.
Feel free to send us your events at: [email protected] And thanks to all of you who have sent/suggested events.
E-COMMERCE BERLIN EXPO, 20 FEBRUARY 2019
This will be the fourth year for E-Commerce Berlin Expo, 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.
Organizers have even thoughtfully provided a breakdown of 2018 attendees of the 4,600 attendees.
E-commerce Berlin has a pretty cool lineup including:
• Tina Nord from Zalando
• Stefan Blumenthall from Scout24 Media
• Andrea Moneci from Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
• Deniz Macura from Google
• Luca Brekalo from L’Oreal
and a bunch more.
It’s not too late to sign up to present your paper on stage, which you can do here.
This is a free event, with sponsors and all the vendors who bought booths picking up the tab.
You can register here at the big orange button that says, “I want to receive a free ticket.” Just that easy.
And our thanks to Charlene Pham at E-commerce Berlin for telling us about this event.
MOBILE WORLD CONFERENCE, 25 THRU 28 FEBRUARY IN BARCELONA
Mobile is still where the action is, and MWC Barcelona (the new name) is one of the Big Three 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 eight themes for the 2019 conference including:
• Industry 4.0
• Immersive content
• Digital trust
This is a coming together of people from huge companies, but there are also programs tailored for startups and women in tech.
Announced speakers this early are mostly from big companies that are heavily invested in mobile including Vimeo and Vodafone.
You can register here.
There’s also a section on the website for hotels … and with 110,000 people pouring into Barcelona, that might be your biggest challenge.
KPN STARTUP EVENING, 6 MARCH IN ROTTERDAM
KPN, a telecom/ICT giant based in Rotterdam, is one of the most aggressive companies in the Netherlands, along with AkzoNobel, when it comes to investing in startups. We’ve attended some of their events including a hackathon, so we know management is serious about this.
This event will feature some of the startups KPN already is working with as well as speed date session for Startups with venture fund managers, corporates and KPN execs.
The KPN model is to find promising startups, incubate them, then scale them up on the way to turning them into stand-alone companies.
For 2017, the eight people on the KPN New Business Liaison Team:
• closed 81 deals with startups in 33 different industry segments including IoT and digital health
• visited 10 startup events each month
• have more than 1,150 startups in their database
KPN New Business teams total 420 people.
There’s also a separate KPN Ventures team under its CFO with 70 million euros in capital to deploy. Investments range from 500,000 euros to 1.5 million euros for a minority stake on the way to an exit, not acquisition. Investment areas include IoT, OTT and mobile, digital healthcare, cybersecurity, cloud and data & analytics.
This March Startup Evening event is free and you can sign up here on EventBrite.
SILICON VIKINGS – FINLAND COMPETITION, 6 MARCH TAMPERE
When they’re not busy sweeping their forests, the tiny population of Finland likes to flex their global might in Formula 1 and technology. If you have a great idea, you can join in on 6 March. The Finland competition is part of SiliconVikings series across the Nordics and Baltics.
Industry categories include:
Mobile & Security
Silicon Vikings connects startups to the Valley, where the real capital is, and Silicon Valley to Northern Europe, where the real talent is.
You can fill out the application here, which is going to take awhile because they want all the info about your idea, whether you have revenue and details about your team. And as we tell the startups we work with, spelling counts.
The deadline is 5 February! But, if you make it to the Silicon Vikiings Startup World Cup Nordics in The Valley later this year, you could earn a $1 million A round.
You can see all the Silicon Vikings competitions here.
OURCROWD GLOBAL INVESTOR SUMMIT, 7 MARCH 2019 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 from the latest news release:
More than 10,000 people are expected to register from over 80 countries, including 300 startups, 200 VC representatives and 250 Multinational Corporations such as GE, Honda, DuPont, and Samsung, along with entrepreneurs, investors, government officials and members of the press from around the world.
But it’s the diversity of speakers that’s fascinating. Previous OurCrowd 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.
2019 sessions include:
From the main stage, first-person accounts of startup tech changing the world: assisting law enforcement in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, drone search and rescue after the hurricanes in Florida and Texas, helping rehabilitate spinal cord injuries, saving lives from medical errors, and much more
“The Innovation Revolution: Case studies from the Ecosystem,” demonstrating how connecting the players can supercharge the growth of startups
Top 10 Tech Trends for 2018
“Demo Theater: No Pitches, Just Wow” – Nonstop demos in a theater environment (popcorn included), demonstrated by the innovators themselves
“Killer Robots and Mutant Children: How to Keep Next-Gen Tech from Destroying Us”
The OurCrowd Hackathon: Crowdcreating a Startup, where we will crowdsource ideas to commercialize raw technologies
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 is a big deal, and of course, you have to apply to come, which you can do on the website.
HELLO TOMORROW PARIS, 14 & 15 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 deeptech summit, is to bring together the brightest entrepreneurs and change-makers to “build our future.”
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.
Tickets start at 90 euros for startups and you can get yours here.
MICROSOFT IGNITE: THE TOUR, 20 & 21 MARCH IN AMSTERDAM, AND 24 & 25 APRIL IN STOCKHOLM
We promised you more skills-focused events. Well, here’s a big one. Microsoft Ignite started as huge conferences in the U.S. Now, Microsoft engineers are taking the show on the road, touring the world from China to Israel with these tech nerd gatherings.
The idea is to introduce new coding and development techniques while building Microsoft’s business. Hey, whatever it takes. You do get to go one-on-one with Microsoft engineers, who’ll answer your “toughest technical questions and provide product feedback,” according to the Microsoft Ignite website. There will also be peer-to-peer sessions where attendees get to share their chops.
The tour is free to attend and while we’re Applephiles, Microsoft ain’t going nowhere, especially in the cloud bidness, booming under CEO Satya Nadella.
You can sign up here for Amsterdam and here for Stockholm.
Be sure to check out the exact location and schedule of events … and it looks like Satya is picking up the tab for breakfast.
DOTGO, 25 MARCH IN PARIS
We spend a lot of time trying to stay on top of digital trends to make good on our promise to find more skills-oriented events. Nothing is more complicated than keeping up with programing languages. Yes, companies need developers who can program in ancient languages such as Cobal, a legacy language for mainframes. But there are new languages every day, such as GO, that make the most of multi-core processors. GO was created by Google in 2009 to address the issue of concurrency – processes executing simultaneously. A Java thread, for example, consumes megabytes of memory. Goroutines only consume about 2 kilobytes. Okay, we’re way out of our depths, now.
You can read more about GO here. OR you can GO to dot.Go in Paris and learn about it while wearing one of the those funny little berets and sipping Kir Royales.
The speaker line up isn’t public yet, so we’ll update this.
Tickets are 199 euro and you can get yours here for what figures to be a huge geek fest for people who speak in Algebraic expressions. Don’t take a date.
TECH TOUR GROWTH SUMMIT, 28 & 29 MARCH IN GENEVA AND LAUSANNE
Tech Tour started 20 years ago as a place where innovators and VCs could meet in “a trustworthy and transparent environment” on the way to boosting the best emerging technology.
Now, it’s VCs and corporates looking to fund promising startups, all in the glossy capital of laissez-faire capitalism, Switzerland.
Tech Tour is more than just another events organizer … it’s a sort of an innovation guild. More than 2,000 high-tech companies apply and 750 investors take part in 25 events each year. So. this 6th Tech Tour Growth Summit is different from most listed here because you have to join the community if you want a shot at investing. The result of this approach is that Tech Tour claims 60 percent of Europe’s Unicorns are alumns!
So, how can you play?
Well, if your startup gets selected, you get in free (no surprise since you’re the rabbit in this hunt for talent.) If you’re a member or a Tech Tour alumn, it’s 450 Swiss francs to attend. Otherwise, it’s 1,400 Swiss francs and you can get your tickets here.
The Growth Summit theme this year is “Redefining Ambition,” and there are multiple events including CEO-only workshops, roundtables and seminars discussing healthcare, mobility, blockchain, business productivity, resource efficiency and IoT.
Marquee speakers are:
• Hermann Hauser, co-founder and partner in Amadeus Capitai, will speak at the Growth Summit Awards dinner.
• Jean-Marc Chery, CEO of STMicroelectronics will give this year’s view on the tech trends for 2019 and beyond.
This is just one of a dozen Tech Tour events or meetings this year. You can see the full list here.
HUB.BERLIN, BIG DATA AI SUMMIT, 10 & 11 APRIL IN BERLIN
This will be year seven for hub.berlin (all lower case), a trends event in Berlin, where – with the exception of Zalando/Rocket Internet – not that many trends start. That would be Stockholm, London, Tallinn and Amsterdam. But it’s an exciting city full of smart people. Bitkom, the 2,500-member digital-industry association that puts on hub.berlin (all lower case) is trying to up Germany’s digital game, advocating for a fully integrated digital single market as well as establishing Germany as “a key driver of digital change in Europe and globally.”
Hub.berlin (all lower case) has keynotes, lectures/ discussions, interactive workshops and masterclasses, live tech demonstrations, “and an unforgettable club night.” Because it’s Berlin! There’s no 2019 speakers list yet, but past speakers include Scott Chacon from GitHub, Shane Wall, global head of HP Labs, Nora-Vanessa Wolhert from Station F and top executives from German and global powerhouses. This event runs concurrently with Bitkom’s Big Data AI industry summit. (Not to be confused with World AI Summit in Amsterdam later in the year.)
Startups can apply for free hub.berlin (all lower case) tickets, but everyone else pays … a lot! Tickets start at 790 euros, but you can transfer your pass to ONE colleague during the event. So, that’s sort of like a half-off deal.
You can get your tickets here.
INDUSTRY, 15 THRU 17 APRIL IN DUBLIN
Dublin is the Tech Center of the World right now and Brexit will only strengthen its position. This conference is basically for software development managers, and as we know, software is eating the world. During three days, about 400 software geeks from more than 30 countries will hear from “renowned product leaders and share the latest methods, tools, and frameworks that they use to build, launch and scale world-class software products,” according to the website.
• Arielle Kilroy – Senior Product Manager of Open Innovation at Mozilla
• Brian Norgard –Former CPO at Tinder
• Paul Adams, VP of products at Intercom
Topics are mostly process-oriented including:
• Big product decisions: Gut feeling or test?
• The organizational challenge of enterprise roadmapping
• How to optimize your product and business using analytics
And there are lots of workshop.
These industry things are cheap, but new skills and approaches can be a good thing. That and the boss is paying.
Tickets start at 695 euros and you can get yours here.
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