(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.
And yes, we’re having a hell of a time keeping up. We just added Innowave 2017 Business and Startup Conference in Varna, Bulgaria coming up next month. 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. Speaking of which, time is running out to sign up for Tech Cruch’s Startup Battleground, part of Disrupt Berlin 2017 in December. See details at the end of this post, but you can apply here if you’re just that darn impatient.
We have a whole bunch of links to events later this year at the end of the post, so don’t miss that if you’re a planner. And check out the Nordic Startup Awards Grand Finale info.
Also, send us the details on your event to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it posted ASAP.[embedded content]
Get ready for the event that bills itself as the “biggest IT event in Eastern Europe.” Increasingly, Eastern Europe is the place to go for coding and development talent.
Inspiring speakers, networking and entertainment … IT Arena follows the tried-and-true formula of the startup/tech events.
Speakers include Samar Singla from Jugnoo, which is Uber and Deliveroo all rolled into one, and Julian Simon from Amazon Web Services.
Tickets start at the equivalent of 150 euros, and you can get them here.[embedded content]
Only the hottest tech category going in 2017. Announced speakers so far are from Slack and Titter. Previous speakers were from Google, Facebook and Viber. Tickets start at 58 euros for students. Speakers announced so far include Helen Tsang, engineer manager at Facebook Messenger, and Uket Tammet from Transerwise.
Tickets start at about 60 euros, go to 250 euros and you can get them here. A starup booth is 800 euros.
South Summit, 4 – 6 October in Madrid
Spain Startup was founded in 2012, amidst the economic crisis, as a joint initiative with IE Business School with the conviction that entrepreneurs were the driving force to reactivate the economy. In three years, South Summit has become the worldwide reference as leading event around innovation, with more than 12,500 attendees from more than 100 nationalities last year.
Speakers this year including Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, Johannes Bruder from Rocket Internet, Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee and Carolina Brochado, partner at Atomico, the investment firm started by Skype founders.
This is the rare freebie … and the topic of artificial intelligence is hot. One tiny complication is that the event, which was announced for Munich in November, instead will be in London at IP EXPO Europe and co-located with Cyber Security Europe and takes place on 4-5 October 2017 at ExCeL London.
The main theme is that the age of analytics paired with artificial intelligence is about to transform society in a good way.
MSAI promises more than 3,000 technology buyers, 75 exhibitors (who pay the freight) and 100 speakers.
Anything free you should register early for, and you can do that here.[embedded content]
World Summit AI brings together the four pillars of AI System – enterprise, startups, investors and deep tech. The World Summit AI website states the summit will bring together 100 of the “brightest brains in artificial intelligence with 2,000 of the world’s most active explorers from more than 42 countries.”
It also promises 120 speakers who we must say are pretty impressive. Announced speakers include Robert High from IBM’s Watson project, Ralf Herbrich, Amazon’s director of machine learning and Tony Jabara, director of machine learning for Netflix.
There are also several top professors from Dutch universities including Utrecht, venture capitalists and many, many researchers from the academic side and the corporate side.
A HUGE event, and it ain’t cheap. Tickets start at 500 euros, and you can get them here.[embedded content]
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.[embedded content]
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.)
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.
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.[embedded content]
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.[embedded content]
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.
Coming up later this year (all events are in English):
Disrupt Berlin 2017 Startup Battlefield: 4 – 5 December in Berlin. Startup Battlefield brings the world’s top early stage startups together on one stage to compete for the coveted Disrupt Cup, a $50,000 prize, and the attention of media and investors. Since appearing on the TechCrunch stage, Battlefield alumni have collectively raised more than $6.6 billion. Participation is free and open. Applications are open now until September 25 – apply today!
Dutch Open Hackathon, 9 – 11 December in Rotterdam. This event is sponsored by KLM/Air France.
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.