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Preparing a list of best European startup conferences to visit in 2017 turn out to be a real investigation. Almost every city in Europe has a bunch of events for startups to visit. Seems like founders need to spend all year going round Europe. If they want to visit half of them. It’s, for sure, good for a tourist exploring of Europe. But maybe not so good for business if you are traveling all year long.  Your solution is right here because we will help you to find the best events. And guide you through all the significant startup conferences at the “old continent”.

Best startup cities in Europe Europe is the diverse continent with many countries but at the same time one big startup ecosystem.  Cities in Europe are in constant battle to attract more and more startup founders. Everyone wants to be on Europe’s heatmap these days. European startup initiative conducted a poll to find out which city has the best opportunities to start a business. They interviewed 95% of startup founders on the continent. Therefore, it’s a relevant number. Especially considered the fact that they have estimated the total number of startups in Europe around 3 million.

Best startup cities in Europe

Last year several capitals were prominent as top destinations.  Authors of “Startup heatmap Europe 2016” asked entrepreneurs where would they build a startup in the case of restarting all over again. Can you assume which city won the title of the next big thing in the European start-up landscape?

Here is the list of top 10:

  1. Berlin,
  2. London,
  3. Amsterdam,
  4. Barcelona,
  5. Lisbon,
  6. Dublin,
  7. Stockholm,
  8. Munich,
  9. Copenhagen,
  10. Vienna.

Just to have a better understanding of the list, it’s important to know that around half of all respondents would go to either London or Berlin. On the lower end, we can find Athens, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bucharest, and Manchester. The most exceptional findings are the rise of Lisbon (+20 ranks), Tallinn (+17), and Warsaw (+11). In contrast, Manchester and Milan both drop more than 15 ranks. Birmingham, Madrid, and Rome lose more than 10 ranks. And, maybe most notably, Paris falls 11 ranks from 2nd to 13th place.

Why should you go to European startup conferences?

First of all, you need to make a schedule of startup events that are important for your business. Otherwise, traveling to a large number of conferences will be a big waste of time (professional and personal). In a variety of similar events, you should choose wisely which ones are suitable for you.

What are benefits of attending these events?  They will definitely help you get noticed, expand your network, and meet prospective customers or investors. But in order to have a successful visit, it’s better to pre-planned meetings ahead. Look at the list of speakers, sponsors, relevant customers and other attendants to find your target persons. This way you can expand your network of industry experts and mentors, potential customers. But also and entrepreneurship-oriented media, who can be valuable.

Most of the startup founders are looking for funding, especially if they are in early stage phase. Another good thing that you can find on these events is recruiting. Take your chance to get in touch with highly talented tech and business students. They will be eager to talk about career opportunities.

On European startup conferences, you can step into the world of innovation. Get an exclusive environment to work on your products and ideas – coached by independent industry and experts.

The important thing is rather to be very selective about what events you choose to attend and the reasons therefore. And don’t overdo it. Think about what you and your organization most need right now.

Events recommendations 

In order to write this article, I wanted to ask as many people as I can about their events recommendations. So, I set aside one day and send e-mails to the addresses of 20 organizers, founders, and investors. Unfortunately, the response was very poor. But nevertheless, I will share with you those who responded.

The first and the greatest was lovely Victoria Blechman-PomogajkoDüsseldorf Chapter Director of Startup Grind. She’s representative of the global community for entrepreneurs with 200 cities in 98 countries. The best and the most important startup event in Europe, for her, is the Pirate Summit in Cologne, Germany. 

“The Pirate Summit is the most interesting and diverse Startup Conference in the Cologne Area. The audience is international, startups are pitching on a very high level and it’s very well organized. Especially the location – the so-called Odonien – gives an awesome atmosphere to the event. The Pirates Spirit is amazing and everyone is becoming part of the ARRRsome network immediately.”- Victoria pointed out. And her expectations from this event are “international, selected crowd, cool startups, interested investors, interesting keynotes and cool pitches”. 

NearIT startup from Italy, with their contextual mobile engagement platform, recommended two events. “SLUSH in Helsinki and the web summit in Lisbon.” – are adventures that they do not miss.

Europeans love to hang out

While precise numbers tracking all European startup conferences can be difficult to find, Openers, a Berlin-based communications firm, maintains a list of 237 global startup and tech events scheduled for 2017. Much as 58 percent of them scheduled in Europe and 31 percent scheduled in North America. Isn’t it surprisingly. Seems like Europeans love to hang out, even more than American’s. 

Cities like London, Berlin, and Paris can lay claim to being fully formed tech ecosystems. Most secondary tech hubs need to build bridges across the continent to attract the ingredients needed, such as investors.

Keep track of the crowd

Although there are no precise numbers regarding all European startup conferences in one year, we have some interesting facts to share. Large size events, with a huge number of participants. Such as Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress, which says it attracted 108,000 attendees in February 2017. With professionals from 208 countries and the event was covered by approximately 3,500 members of the international press and media.  They highlight more than 2,300 companies participated in the exhibition.

The second one is Web Summit, which decamped last year from its hometown of Dublin to Lisbon, with 60,000 attendees in November 2016. They had more than 650 speakers from 160 different states. And media coverage was pretty impressive too. Slush, the Helsinki event, ballooned to 17,500 in December last year. 

europe-meetup-communities

Brussels has two things that are important to the European technology community: the European Commission … and Tech.eu. Tech.eu is one of the only pan-European publications that covers startups on the continent. Think of it almost as a TechCrunch for the European startup scene. 

The best European startup conferences in 2017

Because of the fact that we are in the middle of the year, our list of European startup conferences will focus only on the events that will take place in second half of year. When making your attending plan consider some of these conferences held earlier.

Like DLD17, organize in the middle of January in, Munich, Germany.

Also, Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona, Spain. The world’s largest annual gathering of mobile and related industry C-Level executives place in late February. 

In March there is CeBIT, Hannover, Germany.  One of the largest global conferences that bring together entrepreneurs interested in big data, digital transformation, Internet of Things and social businesses.

Several interesting events conducted in April: SeedStars Summit World in Lausanne, Switzerland and WEBit Festival, in Sofia, Bulgaria. The second one is the most influential digital & tech gathering for the markets of Central & Eastern Europe. Startup OLÉ 2017 in Salamanca, Spain, connects startups and tech/digital talent with corporates, investors, accelerators, universities and media from all over Europe.

In May consider traveling to Netherlands or Iceland. You can visit Amsterdam for The Next Web Europe Conference, a global event where business and culture collide. Or Nordic Startup Awards Grand Finale, at the end of May in Reykjavik. Maybe you can visit Tallinn, Estonia, and it’s Latitude59, flagship tech conference.

European startup conferences guide for 2017

June

The first European startup conference that is coming soon is Enterprise Digital SUMMIT 2017.  It’s a great excuse to visit Paris in June (from 17-18th) and hear more about social collaboration and digital transformation. Listen to insights and practical experiences on both the future trends for the digital enterprise as well as on the how-to enable a 21st-century organization. 

You can rest for a day and set out to Heureka Conference in Berlin, Germany.  If you are a founder looking for a way to accelerate your company, don’t miss this event. 

EdTechXEurope is the leading summit bringing together executive level investors, innovators and industry influencers from European and international education companies. And that is why you need to be in London from 20-21st of June. 

July

It’s summer time, and the calendar of Europe’s startup events is not so full when the days are sunny. While others rest London is a host of Women Startup Competition Europe. July 1st is the final demo day where the finalists will participate in the 5-days-training session and pitch their ideas. This event is an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to meet the investors of their dreams.

In August you can rest a bit because there are no startup conferences planned for that month. 

european startup conferences

September

A unique event where you can meet a wide range of interesting people, like brain scientists, activists, marketing experts.  And they will cover topics like UX, psychology, ai, marketing and so on. It all comes down to exploring three main themes: human behavior, new technology and how to make it happen. A place to be is Malmo, Sweden, from 4-5 September, and you need to visit The Conference 2017.

Europe’s craziest startup conference is definitely Pirate Summit, which is located in Köln, Germany. From 6-7th September entrepreneurs can meet and link with venture capitalists and business angels. This is Europe’s largest invitation-only conference for early-stage startups, investors, and corporate executives.

Os!o Innovation Week is held in Oslo, Norway, at the end of September 24-29th. It’s the largest innovation convention in Europe, making it a significant meeting place to discuss opportunities and practices for growth and innovation every year. So, mark these events in your busy calendar.

October

Especially relevant event for all IT folks in Europe is IP EXPO EUROPE, held in London, of course. At the beginning of October, for two days you can hear the latest news about cyber security, AI, cloud and open source, networks, and infrastructures. This event is for those looking to find out how the latest IT innovations can drive your business forward. 

November

So the Web Summit is a must have for everyone to visit. The largest tech and business convention in Europe will hold from 6-9th November in Lisbon, Portugal. You can just read the reviews, and it will be easy to decide. “Web Summit will increase your appetite, your inspiration, and your network.” is one of the quotes on their website. So, this event is a must!

Hub conference is Europe’s interactive business festival for digital movers and makers. It brings disruptive trends, smart technologies and the people behind them to Berlin. Global players and startups, CEOs and CIOs, science and politics establish networks and shape the digital future.
At the end of November, there is one interesting conference in Finland. It’s called Slush, and you need to visit Helsinki in order to participate. Slush brings together the leading actors of the global tech scene. The event has grown in just a few short years to 17,500 attendees and 1 million live stream viewers. In addition to over 2,300 startups, 1,100 venture capitalists, and 600 journalists from 120 countries. 

Finally, it’s time to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit and startup ecosystems of this colorful and diverse region. Central European Startup Awards 2017 is a series of events where 10 countries are competing in 12 categories. And each country will provide a national winner for each category to the Grand Finale at the end of November. Hope you’ll be on the winner’s list until then.

December

While the year is coming to an end the European startup conferences are not ending up. One more left to consider and travel. And it’s in Paris, again. LeWeb or #1 European Internet event, organized for digital innovation and internet-driven businesses.

Conclusion – startup conferences in Europe

So, as you can see our guide is not too long. But if you want to track all European startup conferences all year long look at startup calendar. Our advice is to search and find events that are suitable for your business growth.

If we missed any other interesting events, let us know in the comments below. Or if you want to add interesting facts about the event you visit, leave your feedback.

European startup conferences guide for 2017

Ljiljana Bjeličić

Educational consultant @MVP Workshop I enjoy helping young people achieve great careers in IT sector.

Category: EventsThoughts
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