Every year in February, hundreds of founders meet in Riga to kick off the startup season. The biggest city of the Baltics is growing up to become a welcoming meeting place of young talent and bright minds from across the region, with investors flying in to meet startup teams from the Baltics, Nordics and CEE. But TechChill is more than just a tech event. At the very heart of the Baltics, we bring together the community for inspiring stories, intimate networking and great parties. The tech scene in the Baltics is booming, and we are growing together.
This February, our number of attendees more than doubled from previous year, and we had to close down sales because the venue was overbooked. Next year, we expect to host 1500-2000 awesome tech people, investors, students and friends at a brand new location VEF Kulturas pils for two full days of agenda on February 8-9, a place we hope to call our home for years to come. Today, as we launch the first early bird passes for TechChill 2018, here are the few things to expect!
Meet everyone who matters
Size matters, but quality matters more. That’s why our priority this year is not the size of the event, but the people. We will focus on bringing here around 350 of the most interesting startups from the Baltics, Nordics, CEE, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to Riga in February. We will also be changing the Pitch Battle format to give stage time to more early stage startups from the region. Working together with our partners and advisors, we will hand-pick 50 most promising teams to pitch directly to investors during TechChill both from recommendations as well as an open call for applicants, starting in September.
Besides the official agenda programme, there will be bountiful opportunities to meet, chat and network with just the right people you are looking for. Investors and startups will be up for personally selected matchmaking, the event will host a Startup Expo showcasing the best ideas and products, as well as a Job Fair showcasing the best tech companies in the region looking for talent. Expect to meet some of the 100 investors from across Europe and beyond flying in, including such our friends from Startup Sauna, Startup Wise Guys, Index Ventures, InReach Ventures, 500 Startups, Hoxton Ventures, Techstars, StartupBootcamp IOT, Hardware Club, Change Ventures, and many more.
Stories that challenge the status quo
The world of tech and startups can be exciting, surprising, ambitious and exhilarating. It can also be dysfunctional, self-absorbed and sometimes disillusioned. TechChill agenda will keep the balance between both sides of the story, celebrating real, raw and true superhero stories from the road. You will hear entrepreneurs, some just starting out and others with plenty of battle scars to share, opening up on what it takes to be a founder, what are their experiences, challenges, failures and lessons learned. You can meet our first speakers here!
TechChill agenda will devote time to discuss trends and and the future, as well as in-depth discussions on the present and future of tech communities, the role of investors and mentors, differences in the tech ecosystems and their growth, as well as the biggest challenges startups face – growing, selling, hiring, scaling. You can also expect to abandon your comfort zone, as we will aim to give stage time to the “elephants in the room” as well. The hard stories on diversity, mental health, founder disagreements, overvaluations and bubbles, arrogance and “bro culture” are just as big a part of the tech scene as ping pong tables and energy drinks, and these stories need to be told as well.
The value of different experiences
TechChill is a meeting place, that is why it’s natural for us to bring more international stories that reflect the challenges and unique experiences of both emerging and established tech communities from Europe and beyond that have their unique insights. Not just the speaker and startup list will include more people from different parts of the world, but TechChill will, as always, also welcome numerous global volunteers to will experience the other side of creating a tech event. It’s also very important for us to meet and include the new tech generation grow, which is why, with the support of our partners, we will continue the tradition of offering 100 free passes to qualifying students who see the tech world as part of their future.
And while the official agenda is important, do expect a long list of exciting side events for every taste, because that is where the main networking happens! There will be parties and afterparties, open meetups, informal meetings and more – so we suggest you to fly in early and get a late Saturday flight to make the most of our informal side events, as it’s the best way to experience the event to the fullest.
Catch the early bird pass and see you in Riga!