Startup Creator attended Germany’s largest tech conference – Bits & Pretzels! Here are our key insights and takeaways!
The past three warm and sunny September days attracted to Munich more than 5000 entrepreneurs, investors and startup enthusiasts, who all shared the vision to be part of the greatest tech conference in Germany – Bits and Pretzels. Originally established as a “veal sausage breakfast” for startups in Munich, the event has become probably the largest founder breakfast in the world. With the activities involving inspirational talks, practical workshops, networking at Oktoberfest and get-togethers with fellow startup people, we definitely had a great time! And also got some important business stuff done.
International stars in Bavaria
Every successful event needs brilliant stars. This year, the opening speech was held by Stefan Raab and if you invite him to the startup conference, this can be for two reasons. As a presenter, Raab is one of the Germany’s most successful entertainers, so he can be an entertaining performer. As an entrepreneur, the TV-producer has celebrated indisputable success, so it can be instructive for founders. And so it was – the audience was celebrating Raab’s presenc, when he told anecdotes about the failure of his career, calendar remarks, or played songs from his time as “MC Behämmert”.
In addition to Raab’s great speech, the Hollywood-star Kevin Spacey, who last year held the opening speech, was this year in charge of interviewing Trivago founder Rolf Schömgens and investor Lukasz Gadowski, as well as he announced his entry as the fourth partner of the Bits & Pretzels organizing team. On the stage, Spacey revealed that he is personally inspired by new technologies, especially in the entertainment industry. Sometimes, however, he said that it is simply the individuals themselves in who he sees the potential worth investing in. His own enthusiasm was also hard to miss as he inspired the audience with his life-philosophy, “I get up every morning and ask: What’s next?”
Startup Creator’s 4 Takeaways from #bits17
Events such as Bits & Pretzels are often huge with massive amounts of noise, activity, and people being thrown at you in rapid succession, and it might be challenging to stay focused and maximise your time. However, for a start-up that wants to succeed in the tech world, it is important to be on such events and get a feeling of the market and like-minded people. We learned our lessons and are happy to share 4 tips for startups planning to attend any similar tech conference in the future:
1. Attend with a minimum of 4 people!
During large events as just Bits & Pretzels was, your two-man team won’t have energy left to grasp everything that the conference has to offer. We had three people at the stand – two of them talking and other grabbing more people to listen in! Also, you probably want to spread the news: tweets, blog posts, Facebook updates and Instagram photos. However, if you are talking to people all the time at the event you won’t have time to create social buzz. Not to mention, having a bigger team helps to get a better attendance on the parties and networking events in the evening!
2. Make connections prior the show!
This year, Bits & Pretzels had a matchmaking app designed to connect people. With this app, it was possible to contact other people that you wanted to meet and set up private meetings. However, the app required an Internet connection and that might not be always the most stable during large-scale events. Our solution? Use LinkedIn to get in touch with people, and connect with them before the event. LinkedIn was a great choice for our team in terms of new networking opportunities!
3. Follow the hashtag!
That’s right! Social media was a great real-time source of information at Bits. The official hashtag #bits17 was extremely useful in centralizing the online discussion about the event. It brought all the information, multimedia and conversations together. Throughout the conference we were actively part of the #bits17 conversations, which helped to make our posts visible to people who weren’t already in our audience, providing an opportunity for us to meet new prospects and influencers.
4. Don’t miss out on the side events!
On September 25th startups across Munich opened their office and created a night full of networking, learning, inspiration and founder’s spirit. We also took part of the Startup Night and organized a Startup Speed Dating event that brought together a variety of outstanding startups, investors, and industry leaders. So, make sure you attend the side-events and interact with everyone. And have fun! There’s no place better to connect with people than the place where everybody is relaxed and open to conversations. Last but not least, be open to discussions about your product/company anywhere you go!
Note Bits & Pretzels 2018 to your calendar