That the Copenhagen-Malmö region is more or less exploding right now there is little doubt of. Recently we had Tradeshifts major funding round, Airtame managed to have biggest crowdfunding in the nordics and we have the first #CPHFTW meetup approaching, with no less then 300+ guests and a long waitlist. Of course, building startups takes time and even great traction now does not mean instant success – it will still take years to build the community to the level it could be. However, the strongest indicator that there is a lot going on is the amount of conferences that are happening here.
Plenty of conferences
The region has always been a strong contender in the startup / tech / media scene when it comes to conferences, with big events such as The Conference and Øredev as well as Social Media Week being internationally renowed conferences. And already in 1998, the Reboot conference set things in motion.
However, this year there is a spike in newer conferences, many with an explicit startup or entreprenuership theme. All of the below are single or multiday conferences. These are not just small meetups, of those we have plenty enough, regularly more then 20+ separate events in a single week.
List of relevant conferences – spring 2014
- 11th March – #CPHFTW Meetup (#1)
This is the first meetup for Copenhagen entreprenuers, a grass-root movement to gather the important entrepreneurs and key players. Will be held at Børsen, and promises to be an event unlike others. Currently “sold out” (it’s free) at 300 participants, and the guest list is said to be 100+ names already.
- 25th March – Internet i Fokus
Internet i Fokus has been a long-run conference, being held twice a year, aimed mostly at small and medium businesses. However this spring edition is going to have a special startup section, which makes it even more interesting for us. Looking forward to how that will be, although most of the program unfortunately is in Swedish.
- 28th March – Nordic Startup Conference
This is the first time this event will be held, and it has set the ambitions high. A solid list of entrepreneurs, business angels and VCs on stage, as well as a pan-nordic pitch contest.
- 24th April – Doers Event
This is a conference with the focus on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship – both tech but also outside the ICT scene. It also has a different aim: this event is not about funding or inspirational talks, instead it wants to focus on sharing knowledge between entrepreneurs. We look forward to it – only drawback: it will be held in Swedish.
- 20th May – TechBBQ: double up and extra spicy
Even if it sounds like a BBQ party, this is actually a startup conference, organized by the great people at Trendsonline. Last years it was held for the first time, and regarded as a great success, managing to bring especially the Danish startup scene together. This year the event will be in English, which we believe is the right choice, and hopefully broaden the appeal to even more guests.
- 21-23rd May – Nordic Game
This established conference is one of the major in the gaming scene. This years event will have a long list of speakers, from companies such as Massive Entertainment, Kickstarter, Microsoft and Frontier Developments. Should not be missed if you are in the game scene.
- 28th May – Internet Discovery Day
The second time the IDD event will be held in Malmö. The concept is the same: DIY monters for startups, with a focus on getting business angels and early investors into contact with new startups. Easy and efficient, without all the fuzz. As it should be.
- 4-5th June – Nordic Next
This investor summit is problably the smallest of the conferences here, but the most high-profile guestlist is to be excpected. Last years event has only received praise from business angels and VCs present, so we look forward to what the 2014 event will hold. Bummed that you did not make the guest list lasts year? Vidoes from the sessions can be found online.
- 20th June – Forge
The first Forge event was held last fall. With over 200 attendess there, and it being organized by grass-root startup people, this conference/meetup mashup will surely evolve even further in the spring 2014 edition.
Of course, the biggest ones, The Conference and Øredev, will be held in 2014 as well – but those are in the fall, and therefor not listed here.
More events then Berlin?
These conferences are really only the biggest events in the region – besides them there is a plethora of regular and irregular meetups and events. StartupDojo‘s, Raspberry Pi Jams, Silicon Drinkabouts, VIP over VoIP and Creative Mornings, to just name a few. A thought that comes to mind is of course – is this sustainable?
A quick comparison of the startup scene shows that the Copenhagen startup digest lists 23 events for the region during all of march, which can be compared to Berlins startup digest that lists 22, and the Silicon Valley startup digest which lists 31 events in March. Of course this is by no means an exact measure as not everything is included in any of the areas, but it holds up over several month, and gives an interesting perspective.
The scene is maturing
I personally think there are two major factors. Firstly, the influx of conferences recently is largely because the startup scene has been growing steadily for a long time now, but mostly ‘in the shadows’. Only during the last year have entrepreneurs really realised that startups being build in this region are on par with what happens anywhere else. This has given rise to entrepreneurs and other ‘doers’ getting together and hosting bigger events here, instead of needing to travel to other places for getting to know other entreprenuers or VCs.
Another factor, mostly behind the high amounts of weekly, smaller, events, is that the region still is not very connected. If you would look at the events and the attendees, you would be surprised how diverse the audiences and participants are. Not even the bigger entrepreneurs or business angels in the region have been heard by everyone. This is to me a sign that the amounts of events we have is sustainable and will probably increase even more. If it would be the same 30 people on all events I would be worried, but right now the overlap between them is remarkably low – even people who attend a lot of events are rarely seen at more then 3 or 4 events a week.
Brad Feld but it nicely on the first VIP over VoIP meetup: event saturation is a good thing. I agree with that, as a plethora of events forces them to remain meaningful and become better – and more crucially, realise that the events need to give value to the participants, otherwise they will simply choose one the the many others instead.
We are looking forward to all the great events, both big and small, that will be held under 2014. If you want to keep updated on events, we recommend to subscribe to the Copenhagen Startup Digest which Nick Hawtin keeps up to date, and of course keep an eye on our event calendar!
Transparency: Øresund Startups is a media partner to Nordic Startup Conference, and myself, Karsten Deppert, will be in some way involved in both the #CPHFTW meetup, Nordic Startup Conference and Internet I Fokus. However, no transactions have been made with regard to any of these. If you want to know more about how we operate and the financial situation, check out the about us and advertisement pages.