Blog post Sara - A day at The Next Web conference

A day at The Next Web conference

On the 24th of May, I decided to volunteer for one of the most prestigious tech conferences in Europe, TNW (The Next Web). Ever since 2006, professionals in the business and tech area have come together in order to discuss how new technologies will affect the way we do business.

You can find a variety of events in TNW every year – from stages with speakers from the leading firms (including Google, Nike, Bloomberg) to workshops, startup exhibitions, and the Pitch Tower. This latest one is where I volunteered – a gathering of startup representatives, motivated to deliver their own three-minute pitch to introduce their business ideas. A panel of judges (including the founder of Casetify), had the opportunity to ask questions and assign points to each startup after listening to each pitch. The pitches were divided across themes (e.g., ‘market place’ or ‘machine learners).

Needless to say, it was inspiring to see all these companies that had started their business operations not longer than one year ago already experiencing growth of up to 70% in terms of sales. Most of the pitching companies had not invested a large amount of capital in their startups. Instead, they had created a business model that leveraged the sharing factor by bringing together both supply and demand. For example, Deliberry had created a platform that allowed people to order their grocery online, and a freelance ‘shopper’ would carry out the order according to his/her availability. The order would then be delivered by a freelance driver who owns his/her own van. Hence, the company has been able to make profit without owning the main assets of their business activity.  

As a volunteer, I could say that it was an extremely busy day, trying to manage the large crowd interested in watching the pitches and probably connecting with the startup representatives. However, it was a great learning experience, and also the easiest way to be a part of such an event and be up-to-date with the technological driving forces that will follow all of us who aspire to work in a company – or even better, set up our own.