For fledgling startups, tech conferences can be a great opportunity to gain know-how, network with industry professionals and stay ahead of emerging trends in certain markets. Since conference season is just starting to pick up now, we thought a round-up of 15 significant tech conferences across Europe would help entrepreneurs navigate the overwhelming number of gatherings taking place and find the best ones to attend based on their needs.
/ WEBIT.Festival (April – Sofia, Bulgaria)
For two days, WEBIT.FESTIVAL is bringing together top enterprise leaders, European policy-makers and entrepreneurs to talk about the region’s digital future. 150 startups in various stages are selected each year to exhibit at the expo and pitch on stage.
/ re:publica (May – Berlin, Germany)
As one of the largest conferences in Europe focusing on Internet and society, re:publica has hosted well-known speakers ranging from David Hasselhoff to Bianca Jagger. For startups, the event is a great chance to mingle with other entrepreneurs and hackers as well as experts from around the world in the areas of activism, science, NGOs, social media and marketing. The conference is a great platform for establishing new business relationships and creating synergies between people working across different industries interested in digital culture. In 2015, the event brought out over 7,000 attendees.
/ The Next Web Conference (May – Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
The Next Web gathers a selection of top tech leaders, VCs and entrepreneurs in Amsterdam for its two-day conference event. Speakers typically include heavyweights from both the tech and design worlds, such as WeTransfer co-founder Nalden, Facebook’s Director of Product Design Julie Zhuo and Basecamp CEO Jason Fried.
/ Pioneers Festival (May – Vienna, Austria)
Taking place at the swanky Hofburg Imperial Palace each year, the Pioneers Festival invites a community of 2,500 startup founders, executives, investors and media to Vienna to discuss the future of technology and entrepreneurship.
/ Latitude59 (May – Tallinn, Estonia)
Latitude59 is a tech conference offering a platform for innovators and startups from the Northern European region to connect with international investors and potential partners.
/ Arctic15 (June – Helsinki, Finland)
From hosting speed dating with investors to one-on-ones with speakers, Arctic15 conference focuses on ensuring participants (startups, investors and corporates) gain quality networking from the event.
/ Heureka Conference (June – Berlin, Germany)
Held during Berlin Web Week, the Heureka Conference lasers in on providing startup founders with knowledge and insights from seasoned entrepreneurs and key industry players so they can bring their business to the next level.
/ Bitspiration (June – Krakow, Poland)
With more and more tech juggernauts looking towards Poland, it’s no surprise that one of the leading conferences in Central and Eastern Europe takes places in Krakow. Bitspiration aims to connect startups, tech enthusiasts and creatives with investors, corporations and experts in order to propel businesses forward with emerging technologies.
/ NOAH Conference (June – Berlin, Germany)
If your startup is honing in on its business model or works with loads of data, NOAH Conference might be interesting for you. Since launching in 2009, the conference has grown into an event where more than 2000 Internet startup founders, corporate executives and investors come together to discuss emerging industry trends, gain insight on how others have overcome business challenges and tap into networking opportunities.
/ Tech Open Air (July – Berlin, Germany)
Unlike most tech conferences that focus only on certain digital and business topics, Tech Open Air stands out with its interdisciplinary approach to technology. Each year, TOA brings together thousands of top-tier entrepreneurs, artists and scientists to Berlin for three days of keynotes, pitches, live music and art installations in a bustling atmosphere.
/ South Summit (October – Madrid, Spain)
Started in 2012, South Summit concentrates on connecting leading innovators from Southern Europe and Latin America to the region’s largest corporations and investors in order to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
/ Startup Istanbul (October – Istanbul, Turkey)
With more than 4,000 attendees expected this year, Startup Istanbul is an important conference for founders and investors working between Asia and Europe. Previous speakers include 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure, angel investor Aurore Belfrage and Y Combinator Partner Michael Seibel.
/ Slush (November – Helsinki, Finland)
Slush is a conference “built for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs”. In the last five years, it’s grown into one of the biggest events for startups in the Nordics. In addition to networking, Slush offers startups a number of promising opportunities such as its Slush 100 pitching competition, Seedcamp accelerator pitching as well as one-on-one meetings with investors.
/ TechCrunch Disrupt Europe (December – London, UK)
TechCrunch’s Disrupt event in Europe gathers a slew of top entrepreneurs, investors and hackers to discuss industry trends, introduce new technologies and offer emerging startups the chance to launch their product or service.
/ DLD Conference (January – Munich, Germany)
Short for ‘Digital-Life-Design’, the DLD Conference is an event that brings over 150 speakers and 1000 to Munich each year to discuss innovation, digitization, science and culture. Although it’s an invitation-only event, startups can apply for a ticket for the chance to connect and exchange knowledge with key players in these realms. The latest conference brought out speakers like Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings and former European Commissioner of Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.
/ Mobile World Congress (February – Barcelona, Spain)
With more than 100,000 attendees at the latest edition, Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the world’s biggest mobile industry exhibition and conference combined into one. Part of the MWC program that might be particularly interesting for startups is 4YFN (4 Years From Now), a business and networking platform aiming to bridge connections between mobile startups, investors and corporations.
/ CeBIT Global Conferences (March – Hannover, Germany)
Once the world’s largest computer trade expo, CeBIT is now trying to makeover itself as a conference focusing on the digitalization of the economy and society. The five-day event hosted more than 3,300 exhibitors this year as well as a conference portion that saw keynotes, workshops and panels on a range of topics including startups, research & innovation as well as the Internet of things.