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These Events Will Help Founders and Investors Rebuild Community

Startup founders and investors lost more than banking partners when Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic went into receivership. They lost important pillars of the community. For innovation to continue at the same pace, the industry will need to rebuild the vibrant community that surrounds emerging, new technologies.

In-person events can help founders and investors do just that.

Community has always played an outsized role in the development of new technologies. It’s the cornerstone of new economies that emerge as new digital tools change the way the world lives and works.

Company founders, just like the investors who serve as their economic engine, rely on communities of their peers when it comes to getting inspired, taking risks and persevering in hard times. And when startups succeed, they cite a supportive community as one of their most important motivators.

That is why the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and troubles at First Republic were far more than bank failures to the people who develop and fund new technologies. They represented the loss of one of the strongest pillars of the startup and venture capital community.

These banks were far more than financial institutions to tech industry insiders. They were supportive partners – and now those partners are gone.

But the community that underpins all tech development is not gone. In fact, it is rebuilding itself. It’s an exciting thing to watch, and to take part in. With the removal of important pillars, tech creators are now creating new ones.

One of these pillars is a renewed emphasis on the events that bring the startup community together. Founders and investors need to make the most of them.

With Small Business Digital Ready, you gain access to free events hosted by industry experts. Plus, get opportunities to network with peers in your area.

Top Events

In-person events give founders and investors the chance to experience some of the most exciting products and services while they are still in their nascency. And even more importantly, they create communities that can continue to grow long after the event concludes. Here are some of the industry’s most important events:

TechCrunch Disrupt set the standard when it comes to bringing the community together for both mutual support and friendly competition. This year, artificial intelligence will undoubtedly be the headliner.

Startup World Cup is both a conference and the world’s largest startup competition. Launched and hosted by Pegasus Tech Ventures, the competition consists of 70+ regional startup competitions in more than 20 different countries leading up to the Grand Finale in Silicon Valley. The top startups from each regional event will fly to the U.S. to compete for a $1 million prize.

WorldFestival is a global conference held in San Francisco that supports worldwide technology innovation. At the center of WorldFestival are the WorldFestival Awards, where more than 30,000 participants from more than 130 nations discover and vote on the top 10,000 emerging innovations of 2023. This year’s event will feature more than 100 speakers covering the newest innovations in 24 industry verticals: from AI to virtual reality to blockchain to cloud computing.

Other top U.S.-based events include South by Southwest, the Consumer Electronics Show and Black Hat USA. Collectively, these bring together tens of thousands of innovators with investors, potential business partners and the always curious public. They are also events where exciting new technologies sometimes debut publicly for the first time.

International Events

StartUp Grind is a global community comprised of some 4 million startup companies in 125 countries. In addition to the Global Conference it will hold next year in Silicon Valley, and which will bring together some of the industry’s top thought leaders, the organization holds a series of regional pitch battles and other events in cities around the world all year long.

Web Summit is an annual technology conference held in Lisbon, Portugal. Its partner organizations range from Fortune 500 companies to startup companies, and so do its attendees.

Slush bills itself as the most founder-focused event in the world, and is known for bringing in a good showing from the VC community. Its next event, to be held in Helsinki, Finland, will bring together 5,000 company founders with 3,000 investors and hundreds of journalists.

In September, the AI & Big Data Expo will take place in Amsterdam, bringing together dozens of speakers from across various industries to discuss the latest developments in the world of AI & big data. The event is a showcase of next-generation technologies and strategies and an opportunity to explore the practical and successful implementation of AI in driving business forward.

On the healthcare front, Intelligent Health UK will be held in London in September and will bring together AI developers and the healthcare community, including clinicians, hospital directors, data scientists, startup companies, academics, and investors. Discussions will focus on how to collaborate to bring AI further into healthcare.

Rebuilding Community

There are numerous other events that bring together key opinion leaders with founders, technology company executives and investors who back emerging companies at all stages.

Anywhere you live—and anywhere you launched a company—likely has a pitch competition or other startup event that probably shouldn’t be missed.

The startup ecosystem runs on a sense of community, and the past months have seen some of the biggest pillars of that community removed.

But the community surrounding the launch of new technologies does not have to suffer from that. In fact, bank failures, valuation write-downs and other economic challenges give the tech community the chance to build back stronger.

Events are among the most powerful ways to do that. Meeting others face to face, and competing for mindshare (or prizes) gives us all the chance to remember and celebrate the things that motivate us.

None of us chose tech development because it’s easy. Rebuilding community is only the latest challenge, and the newest hurdle we have to surmount. There is no doubt that we will do it, and that our community will be stronger than it has ever been.

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