14 International Events and a Startup Exchange For Your Calendar

[Originally posted on Memeburn]

The last post I wrote featured seven, which later became nine, South African events worth attending to grow your startup. If you have started building a product or platform that you deem worthy of international exposure, which I’m sure it is, then you may want to attract the attention of investors, mentors and innovators worldwide.

Here is a list of 14 events and a startup exchange programme you may want to consider:

1. South by Southwest (SXSW)

One of the most talked about conferences is SXSW, whose focus is in music, independent films and emerging technologies. It is renowned for being one of the most viable launching pads for content that spreads and presents invaluable learning opportunities for startups.

It was held this year from March 9-18 in Austin, Texas. Register for the next one and stay informed.

2. The Next Web (TNW) Conference

The Next Web Conference brings together startups, investors, speakers, developers and even a hack battle to create an environment that puts you on an international playing field. Speakers this year include:

  • YouTube Co-founder and CEO of Delicious, Chad Hurley
  • Reddit Co-founder, Alexis Ohanian

The Next Web has 20 pre-selected startups that will launch at TNW2012: this could be you. The conference also has two Startup Rally presentation sessions, where startups get five minutes each to present.

It will be held in Amsterdam from 25-27 April and the organisers are offering discounted tickets if you book online.

3. Startup Conference

The Startup Conference provides a launching pad for startups and the first outdoor startup festival that will have a crowd of more than 2 000 entrepreneurs, investors and software developers. What could be better than launching in Silicon Valley?

If you are launching your startup, this conference also hosts a Demo Pit at its outdoor festival called Startup Village, which will have over 1 000 investors, entrepreneurs and journalists. If you are still working on your product and need to raise money, then you can enter the Elevator Pitch Competition where you stand a chance to pitch to a panel of investors.

The conference will be held on 2 May at Mountain View, California.

4. The Guardian Activate Summit

Some of the world’s most influential minds will convene in New York City on 3 May to discuss and examine the influence of web technologies. Their speakers include Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman and Arianna Huffington, President and editor-in-chief at The Huffington Post.

5. TechCruch Disrupt

TechCruch Disrupt gathers some of the leading tech minds in New York, San Francisco, CA and Beijing who range from startups to coders.

This event kicks off with its popular Hackathon on Saturday 19 May running through to Sunday 20 May. May 21-23 sees this year’s first TechCrunch Disrupt New York, where the organisers also crowns the winner of the Startup Battlefield Competition.

DISRUPT San Francisco takes off from 8 to 12 September, where they host the Startup Battlefield and once again bring 500 coders to build something new.

6. Mashable Connect

Mashable connects its online community offline for the second year with its signature conference aptly called Mashable Connect. It has a wide array of speakers ranging from the Founder and CEO of Klout, Joe Fernandez to Hilary Mason the Chief Scientist of the URL shortening service Bit.ly and Mashable’s CEO & Founder, Pete Cashmore.

It will be held on May 3, 2012 – Saturday, May 5, 2012 at Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

7. TED Global

This year’s TED Global is titled “Radical Openness” and will address topics of increased openness ranging from open source to open science. TED conferences present learning and networking opportunities like none other.

The conference kicks off in Edinburgh, Scotland and runs from 25-29 June 2012.

8. 500 Startups

500 Startups is a fund for early-stage companies that provides funding from $10k to $250k through seed investment. It also has conferences throughout the year that bring together VCs, startups and advisers.

Its Demo Days stand out the most, from a startup’s perspective, and are invitation-only events. It has two coming up in July; the first in California on 17-18 July and the second in New York City on 23 July, 2012.

500 Startups is a fund for early-stage companies that provides funding from $10k to $250k through seed investment. It also has conferences throughout the year that bring together VCs, startups and advisers.

Its Demo Days stand out the most, from a startup’s perspective, and are invitation-only events. It has two coming up in July; the first in California on 17-18 July and the second in New York City on 23 July, 2012.

500 Startups is a fund for early-stage companies that provides funding from $10k to $250k through seed investment. It also has conferences throughout the year that bring together VCs, startups and advisers.

Its Demo Days stand out the most, from a startup’s perspective, and are invitation-only events. It has two coming up in July; the first in California on 17-18 July and the second in New York City on 23 July, 2012.

9. DEMO

Are you looking for a place to launch your product? DEMO is the conference you should attend, where you can also meet people who are likely to transform the tech scene as we know it. The popular CRM software Salesforce was also launched at DEMO. Will yours be next?

The next the DEMO in Silicon Valley takes place from 17-19 April followed by another from 1-3 October. It also hosts events in Asia, Brazil and China.

10. Seedcamp

Apart from being an early stage mentoring and investment program, Seedcamp also hosts events that bring together prominent entrepreneurs, investors and startups. Its events are held in New York, Berlin and Paris

Have a look at the Seedcamp calendar. Or apply to attend one by clicking on the event.

11. Wired Business Conference

Wired brings together some of the leading minds in business and tech to discuss some of the most disruptive business practices. Speakers range from Yancey Strickler, the Co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter — the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects; the New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Startup, Eric Ries and Shantanu Nayarean, the CEO of Adobe.

This conference kicks off on 1 May, 2012 and offers discounted tickets until April 27. Have a look at the rest of their speakers and book your tickets.

12. Techweek Conference

The Techweek Conference takes entrepreneurs from Idea to Scale in a five day event that connects startups, VC’s, Angel Investors and has talks by some of the world’s most successful tech entrepreneurs. This conference takes place from 22-26 June in Chicago.

Within five days, you will learn how companies like Groupon, 37Signals and Threadless emerged from idea to scale. The CEO and founder of 37Signals, Jason Fried will give a keynote on new business and lean startup methods.

13. TechCity UK Entrepreneurs Festival

2011 saw the launch of the Entrepreneurs Festival in London, which was hosted during the Global Entrepreneurship week in November. It included mentorship, pitching and connected entrepreneurs with both VC’s and established business minds.

They haven’t updated their website with details for the next one yet, but keep an eye on the site and be the first to know.

14. The BarCamp Tour

 

BarCamps are community organised events where people post what they want to do a session about and attendees check what sessions they would like to participate in. The BarCamp Tour kicks off on 14 April in Florida.

If you would like to attend one, or host your own, go to this website for details and guidelines.

Startup Exchange

The Startup Exchange provides you with opportunities to test your ideas and concepts within an incubator, and gives you access to international mentors. The Startup Exchange doesn’t take any equity from your business, while giving you 2–3 months of incubation and mentorship in a foreign European country.

Visit the site for details and to apply.

What are your favourite tech conferences? Add them in the comments.

NetwebTV Tech4Africa Special

I recently wrote about the Tech4Africa Conference, which actually turned out to be amazing. More awesome than the conference itself were the organizers, who gave me an all-access blogger pass. Emerging Media and the Tech4Africa team are rockstars.

We interviewed some of the speakers, delegates and Seedcamp participants.

The Tech4Africa Special

In this NetwebTV special, we spoke to:

  • Gareth Knight, the founder of Tech4Africa, about how it was received and whether the change he foresaw ago when we spoke was achieved.
  • Gareth Ochse – the founder of iSigned and one of the competitors in Seedcamp Africa. I heard they are also one of the companies who qualified to attend Seedcamp Week in London

Speakers and delegates

We also caught up with some of the speakers and delegates who gave us their views on development in Africa as a whole.

Erik Hersman, the co-founder of Ushahidi spoke their development and how it’s changing lives. It is also one of the most talked about projects on the web.

Mark Kaigwa, a Creative Director and Entrepreneur shares his views about the conference and what it means for Africa. Kenya is 4 to 5 countries away from where conference was, so Mark came a long way.

Clay Shirky was the keynote speaker at the conference and he also took a moment to speak to us. In a nutshell – Clay is a professor, speaker, thought leader and an icon in all things economics, community and open source.  He is the author of 2 books and shares his expert views on how social phenomena were started small and grew globally.

Take a look at the video below and share some of your views with us in the comments.

Learn from the best at Tech4Africa

In the third episode of NetWebTV, I was fortunate to interview Gareth Knight. His views on building a business, I have followed since (with a bit of tweaking for context). Now, any opportunity available to hear him speak I cease every time.

The episode is more about how he built a company that got acquired and a project he was developing at the time called Tech4Africa. As he put it then, it was meant to be a conference that brings global viewpoints to the African context. The chicken in me at the time thought it was overwhelming and impossible. Fast forward to over a year later, the idea has spread online and tickets have become more coveted than a black BMW M6 convertible in Soweto.

More accessible than the shiny M6

This conference, being the first of its kind in South Africa and possibly Africa, might have been inaccessible for people in South Africa. Mostly the entrepreneurs who need to attend it. That’s one of the questions I asked Gareth off camera.

Seemingly he gave that a lot of thought to that and worked it into the package. Not to mention having tickets that are discounted to make it even more worth your while. The caliber of speakers and topics they have challenge current thinking. I find that a significant influential force in contemporary business ethic.

Is it for everyone?

No. And like all things that are really worth your time and investment, it shouldn’t.

The conference is very focused. It is about technology and how it affects you as an entrepreneur. The knowledge of speakers like Clay Shirky, is definitely for people who want to make real and rapid progress. Fortunately, not everyone is that person which means there is only a few of you out there. Otherwise there would not be such a great demand for you.

I was meant to tell you more about the learning prospects at the conference.

Tech4Africa Scholarships

One of the major things lacking in Africa is the skill needed to develop globally competitive businesses, but the conference also addresses that. The discounted tickets already make it easier to attend, but in partnership with Old Mutual, the conference also has tickets for people who need to need learn.

Below are some workshops and what they are about:

1. A masterclass in Usability and Accessibility

Gain expert knowledge from a global leader in usability and accessibility

Usability tests are an excellent way of discovering problems with a product or service.

2. Google University

A deep dive into Google Analytics and Adwords

Google Analytics is a powerful web analytics tool, AND it’s free, and Google Adwords is a great way to drive traffic to your site. However, you get the most out of them when you understand how they work, and how to customise for your needs.

3. A Masterclass in Architecting applications and Advanced Javascript

Learn best practice for developing applications that enable you to work fast and agile, whilst being robust and secure; and learn advanced features of the JavaScript language to create complex applications

4. Successful digital projects

A strategic look at the digital project implementation lifecycle, for decision makers and programme managers.

Whether you want to or not, you are now project managing a group of (hopefully) willing people to create a product that you are attempting to get done in an (un)reasonable amount of time, within an (in)sane budget.

For the entrepreneur there is Seedcamp.

Seedcamp is a programme created to jumpstart the entrepreneurial community in Europe, and now Africa, by connecting next generation developers and entrepreneurs with over 400 mentors from a top-tier network of company builders; including seed investors, serial entrepreneurs, product experts, HR and PR specialists, marketers, lawyers, recruiters, journalists and venture capitalists.

The scholarship applications close tomorrow.  Go on, signup and read more here.

Aside: No BMWs were dreamt of during the writing of this post.