In international

We finally ran through 2017 for Dispatches’ inaugural list of Europe’s best startup and tech events.

So as promised, here’s the first 2018 events to take you into the first weeks of the new year.

And what a year it promises to be as there are conferences, summits and meetups scheduled almost every week across Europe from Portugal to Ukraine, with some now running multiple simultaneous events.

As we posted last year, the question we hear increasingly as events multiply like rabbits and startup fever plateaus with investors is, “Are these things worth the time and money?” The answer is, “Sometimes.”

We were part of HighTechXL’s Impact Summit last year and it was amazing because we saw a level of sophistication missing in a lot of innovation centers, even in the U.S.

What we’re not including this year are the invitation-only events such as DLD, which we find too celebrity-oriented (Kevin Spacey at tech conferences? Why?), too expensive and too exclusive.

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.

And feel free to send us your events at:

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It’s also not a shocker than Zalando execs are featured speakers including Tina Nord, director of their content-marketing strategy. Daniel Kramer from Facebook is on the list as is Deniz Macura from Google.

The good news: E-commerce Berlin is not 1,000 euros or even 100 euros … it’s free to attend. Free!

The event website is stellar, showing who’ll be speaking where and when about specific topics.

You can register here.

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Come on … you always wanted to go to a conference in Monaco. Admit it. Now, how do we get our bosses/investors to pony up? Because this baby is expensive. But there are worse places to be in February than Monaco.

Digiday monitors media trends, especially digital advertising models. Which are mostly broken. This looks like they at least figured out one new revenue stream – events.

This is a think session so publishers can figure out how to cope with the fact that conventional advertising isn’t going to work in the digital age. It’s also a shopping spree for advertisers looking for the right audience.

Summit topics include:

  • Building A Global Subscription Model
  • Publishers Are Embracing the Marketers Mentality (SIC)
  • A Case Study: Transitioning From Ad Revenue Models To Reader Revenue Models
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About GDPR

The Monaco event passes start at 3,700 euros and go to 7,600 euros. Compared to the events that draw tens of thousands, these summits are small with between 100 and 300 participants, according to the Digiday website.

For that, you get 8-minute meetings that match up buy- and sell-side attendees so they can schmooze and decide if they want to do business.

Speakers are mostly publishers.

You can register here.

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Up2B Firecamp 2018, 19 thru 23 February in Mannheim, Germany

This is a free five-day coaching camp – part of the Up2B accelerator series based in Heidelberg – is designed to get your startup ready for early-stage funding.

This has it all, according to the Up2B website:

A week full of high-class mentoring, individual feedback, professional pitch training, exchange with more than 20 experts and other entrepreneurs (12 teams) and networking with corporates and investors.

  • Targeted and selective optimization of relevant business fields
  • One-on-one consulting with experts
  • Corporate speed dating with multinational companies
  • Contact to investors
  • Fireside evenings
  • Pitching event with award ceremony
  • Attractive prizes to win
  • Free participation including meals
  • It’s in English

This event has an amazing number of startup mentors including:

  • Alexa Gorman, the Global VP of the SAP.iO Fund & Foundry in Berlin and responsible for early-stage startup investments as well as acceleration and incubation.
  • Alexander Rennig, Investment Analyst at ALSTIN Capital, which focuses on dynamic start-up companies in sectors such as FinTech, InsurTech, PropTech.
  • Dr. Thomas Prexl from Technologiepark Heidelberg. He’s responsible for the management of the Startup Office of Heidelberg Startup Partners.
  • Ray Chow, senior Manager for Business Innovation at Daimler. He has initiated Daimler´s innovation platform STARTUP AUTOBAHN.

And a bunch more!

You can apply here.

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4YFN, 26 Feb. thru 28 Feb. in Barcelona

Can’t afford MWC? 4 Years From Now is the startup/business event of Mobile World Capital Barcelona for startups, investors and corporations to connect and do deals.

It’s the poor-man’s version of Mobile World Congress, created and run by the same organization.

You can expect to rub shoulders with investors, media and analysts looking for the new new thing.

Like MWC, this is on an ambitious scale. Last year, 4YFN had almost 20,000 visitors, 600 startup businesses, 275 speakers on 3 stages, 700 investors attended the Founders and Investors programme and 2,400 meetings took place between startups and international press.

Passes start at 239.40 euros (which is weirdly precise) and you can get them here.

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This is one of the global mega-events, along with Web Summit and Viva Tech in Paris.

MWC has one simple axiom: Mobile is the force behind every emerging innovation.

There were 108,000 attendees for the 2017 event. For 2018, the marquee speaker so far is Rajeev Misra, CEO of Softbank Vision Fund, the $100 billion tech investment fund based in Japan. With capital from The Valley, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other sources, it’s the largest ever.

There’s a reason to go. But of course, this is not an inexpensive proposition, with passes starting at 800 euros and going to 5,000 euros.

You can get passes here.

The future of work isn’t all that bright unless you’re a robot.

But Landing Festival has another take …. that the old days of jobs-for-life and security were an illusion. (They were.)

From the Landing Festival website:

We will give you the rights tools, a mental boot camp meant to clash you with the future of tech and careers.

Landing Festival is really two events in one – a speakers-and-seminars tech careers events, and a job fair.

On the career seminar side, topics including navigating the hiring/recruitment process and taking control of your career in rapidly changing tech sectors.

On the jobs fair side, Landing Festival organizers promise 50 “selected companies,” heavy on the fintechs. They included virtual bank N26, Raisin, an investment marketplace connecting retail customers with banks and mobile payment company Sumup,  But Soundcloud will also be there.

If nothing else, Landing Festival Berlin has the most compelling copy we’ve ever read on a tech-event website:

I imagine that right now, you’re feeling a bit like Alice. 
Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole? Reality is a funny thing. The life you’ve led is not, in fact, the totality of what is possible for you. And if you can release yourself from the bonds you don’t even see, you would then be able to see the world as it truly is. The world beyond the Matrix. 

Okaaaay ….

Topics include:

  • Project management
  • Future of work
  • Corporate vs. startup
  • UX front end
  • AR/VR

Passes start at 40 euros, and you can get yours here.

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START Summit, 15 & 16 March in St. Gallen, Switzerand

This event in the remote but scenic university town of St. Gallen near Lichtenstein shows how the Swiss are starting them early. Think of it this way: What if you had run into Page and Brin were still at Stanford?

START Summit is for student entrepreneurs seeking to meet investors and mentors.

START Summit is a student-run conference for entrepreneurship and technology, organized by START Global, Europe’s largest student-network for young entrepreneurs. So, yeah, it’s all about the smart kids. And today’s prodigy is tomorrow’s billionaire.

Which you can see in the level of speakers: We counted no less than 63 representing – among others – NASA, Cisco, Amazon, Google and Oxford University.

Student tickets start at 99 Swiss francs and you can get them here.

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KPN New Business and HighTechXL join forces for a new challenge: The Next Big Thing for KPN.

They’re collaborating to bring together the best and brightest high-tech minds at The Next Big Thing hackathon to shape the future of KPN. The ideation session is Thursday, 22 March 11:30 to 17:00 in Eindhoven. The event will be held at Effenaar events complex just across from the Eindhoven Central Train Station.

Join smart, connected and secure hardware with AI, Blockchain and Data challenges to create The Next Big Thing for KPN.

Join smart, connected and secure hardware with AI, Blockchain and Data challenges to create The Next Big Thing for KPN.

You can see all the details here.

(Editor’s note: It looks like this event is in both German and English.)

This might be the deal for corporations looking to startups for new ideas and new ways of working. Which is a thing, now.

From the NKF Summit mission statement:

The NKF Summit is a startup crash course for corporates. With this digitization conference, NKF Media offers a platform for the exchange between startups and established companies. In terms of content, it’s all about the burning question of how old-established companies of different sizes make the most of digitization with the help of startups.

Coca-Cola, Axel Springer and Aud. as well as the German CEOs of Airbnb, Casper, Outfittery and Uber, have all participated during the first two iterations.

And this is cool: Fifty startups have the chance to attend for free. They get:

• two free tickets
• one expo stand
• two speednetworking sessions

Startups can apply here.

Tickets for corporates start at about 600 euros.

(Editor’s note: This is courtesy of Cristina Radulescu at I-COM Global.)

The sixth edition of the I-COM Data Startup Challenge will showcase top startup teams from around the world who leverage value from marketing data and measurement as the central selling point of product or services.

I-COM provides a great opportunity to connect with potential clients and investors and helps startups reach the next level. It is also a chance to gain global exposure to key decision makers in the marketing industry at the I-COM Global Summit, to be held in San Sebastian, Spain, from April 9-12, 2018.

For the 2018 Data Startup Challenge:

  • The Top 20 Startups will have the opportunity to attend the 4-day I-COM Global Summit (including the iconic Gala Dinner) as part of the Official Selection at a discounted Summit access fee.
  • Only the Top 10 Startups qualify to participate in the final round of judging and present to all the Global Summit attendees.
  • The Top 10 Startups will have the opportunity for 1 on 1 meetings with major brands and agency groups like Unilever, Havas, Publicis, WPP*

The awards will recognize up-and-coming startups on the forefront of new approaches and technologies and shine a light on the most successful case studies in the field.

For this edition , we are introducing a new category: Artificial intelligence

Other categories include: General, attribution, content marketing, CRM, mobile, programmatic, social media and video.

Why you should enter:

  • Connect with key clients who could potentially invest in your product / service and help
    propel your company to the next level of development
  • Gain global exposure to key decision makers in the marketing industry
  • Meet with seasoned executives for mentoring during “Office Hours” session.

I-COM defines a Startup company as follows: Product is live in the market, at least having one client = 1 case study; The company is less than 4 years old; Annual revenue less than US$ 2.5 million

The deadline to enter is January 29, 2018. You can apply here.

About I-COM:

I-COM was founded in 2004, a spin-off of a P&G led industry initiative. Backed by 100 associations in 40 countries, today, I-COM is a Global trade body exploring the creation of business value from Marketing Data & Measurement.

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Latitude59, 24 & 25 May in Tallinn, Estonia

Latitude59 bills itself as “the flagship startup/tech event of the world’s first digital society.”

The event is integrated into Estonia’s national marketing effort for its startup/e-Residency matrix.

The boutique event attracts around 2,000 people, mostly from the Baltics and Nordics, as well as investors from across the globe. More a serious event, less a party. But as we’ve written many, many times before, a lot of great technology starts with Estonian talent.

Tickets start at 69 euros for students. Yes, 69 euros. Not 690 or 6,900.

You can get them here.

Latitude59, by the way, refers to Tallinn’s north latitude. So, ah, take a sweater.

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As we state in the Digiday blurb above, no business segment has been disrupted more dramatically by the Internet than media and advertising. Conventional media misplayed digital from the beginning.

First, media execs gave away content, mistaking the Internet for a novelty rather than the most efficient information-delivery platform in history. Then, they lost classified advertising to Craig’s List. Now, Facebook and Google have combined a 60-share of digital advertising.

How do we get out of this hole? Nordic Media Insights might have the answers.

NMI is an annual media conference for executives, managers and professionals in the Nordic (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) and European Media Industry. But last year’s speakers including several American media executives including Joseph Kahn, managing editor of the New York Times, and Melissa Bell, co-founder of

So far, there are 40 announced speakers, and you can see their bios on the website.

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS 2018: 1) Max Amordeluso, Lead Evangelist for Amazon Alexa in Europe2) Ricki Rebecka Petrini, Head of Content Marketing, Mediekompaniet 3) Rickard Lawson, Country Manager & International Publisher Relations Manager, Strossle Norway 4) Lina Brounéus, COO Content, Viaplay and Viasat 5) Fredric Karén, Publisher, Svenska Dagbladet 6) Lotta Tjulin Thörnqvist, Creative Sales Manager, Schibsted Brand Studio 7) Stig Olav Kasin, Chief Content Officer, The Future Group 8) Astrid Schmeltzer Dybkjær, Business Developer, Information 9) Johan Lindgren, Head of Analysis, Aller Media 10) Sören Karlsson, CEO United Robots 11) Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer of Publicis Groupe 12) Jens Finnäs, Founder and CEO Journalism Robotics Stockholm and operator of Newsworthy news service 13) Anna Arvidsson, Head of Bonnier News Brand Studio 14) Thomas Sundgren, Head of Platforms, Mittmedia 15) Maya Garkusha, founder, Programmatic Consulting Nordic 16) Alec Sokolow, film writer (Toy Story, Skylanders, etc) 17) Steffen Damborg, Expert Advisor, WAN-IFRA Global Advisory 18) Magnus Anshelm, CEO of MMS

The 2018 Nordic Media Insights tracks will address the biggest issues:

• Robotics and Artificial Intelligence
• Great Branded Content & Native Advertising
• New & Adjacent Business Opportunities
• Increasing Consumer Revenues
• Digital & Interactive Storytelling
• What’s Next for Programmatic Advertising?
• Meet the Hottest Nordic Media Startups

You can get early bird tickets here starting at 7,500 Swedish krona (750 euros). Tickets are discounted until 1 January, when they go to 9,500 krona.

Coming up:

Rework: This is a multiple-channel event in London on 15 & 16 March. There are three: Deep Learning in Retail & Advertising; Deep Learning in Finance and AI Assistant. Rework is a global series, and you can see all their events here.

Lean Startup Summit Europe: Amsterdam, 20 & 21 March – One of the first big-name conferences of the year. And an expensive one at 500 euros. But if you’re a believer in Eric Ries’s Lean Startup philosophy, this is a must-attend event. And yes, Ries will be there.

TNW Conference in Amsterdam: 24 & 25 May, At the big TNW event, the news for 2018 is that an expert jury selected by Chivas Venture will award a total of $800,000 to social startups, with another $200,000 being provided to runners-up before the event.  Stand by for more.

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