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5 Tech Conferences to Watch Out for in 2023

Jehan | Jan 13 2023
5 Tech Conferences to Watch Out for in 2023

Conferences are a great way for industry professionals to stay up-to-date on the latest innovations, network with their peers, and learn from industry leaders. Tech conferences in Pakistan are on the rise, while the team at Katalyst Labs gears up for +92Disrupt happening later this year, let’s take a look at the biggest tech and entrepreneurship conferences in the world and what you can expect to find at each one.

1. Web Summit

Here’s what you might already know about one of the most well-known tech and innovation conferences in the world!

Web Summit was founded in 2009, held annually in Lisbon, Portugal. Since its inception, the conference has grown from a humble 150 attendees to attracting a record number of 71,000 individuals from 160 countries around the globe.

The 2022 iteration of the conference boasted a range of 1,050 speakers including entrepreneurs, executives, world leaders, and notable individuals such as Noam Chomsky and Jordan’s Queen Rania Al-Abdullah. The event covered 26 tracks, with nearly 2,300 startups and 1,000 plus investors in attendance, namely Y Combinator’s Geoff Ralston and 500 Global’s Christine Tsai.

The 2023 iteration of the conference will take place in November, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to host 10,000+ attendees.

Ready, Set, Pitch!

One of the highlights of the Web Summit conference is the Alpha Pitch competition. This gives early-stage startups an opportunity to showcase their products or services and compete for a chance to win prizes and gain visibility.

An AI startup from Georgia, Theneo, made waves at this year’s Alpha Pitch competition. The API tool has broken the three-year streak of MedTech startups winning the competition. With the 2021 winner Smartex, going on to raise a whopping $25 million in Series A funding!

And that’s not all! Pakistan-based startup Social Champ was the only MarTech from the country to secure an alpha booth at the summit in 2022 and pitch on the main stage.

Women take Tech by Storm

To further encourage female participation at the conference, Web Summit gave a 90% discount to female attendees as part of their Women in Tech campaign. As a result, 42% of the attendees and 34% of the speakers were women, and 400 women-founded startups were present at the conference.

Tech for Humanity

Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine delivered the keynote address at the Web Summit 2022’s opening night. We have seen the dark side of technology in times of military crisis. However, Zelenska urged the audience of tech experts and enthusiasts to use technological innovation for humanitarian aid.

“You are the force that moves the world…You have potential and technologies that can help, but not destroy. I am certain that, by helping Ukraine, you can move the world in the right direction.”

2. Collision Conference

Dubbed, ‘Coachella for Geeks’, Collision is the North American chapter of Web Summit held annually in Toronto.

One of the things that set Collision apart from other conferences is its focus on creating a truly global community. Renowned founders that have been in attendance include the minds behind Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix, Skype, Zappos, Tesla, Dropbox, GitHub, and several others.

Collision Conference 2023 in Numbers

After the overwhelming success of the 2022 conference, Collision made an in-person comeback. Here are some of the numbers behind it!

  • Over 36,000 individuals from 118 countries were in attendance
  • 1490+ startups in attendance
  • 230 partner organizations pledged support
  • 865 + VCs, angel investors, and major funds attended the conference
  • 920+ journalists covered the event

Love in the Digital Age

Tech knows no bounds, spanning across all industries and touching the lives of all individuals in one way or another. The winner of the 2021, Collision PITCH competition, Couply is proof of how tech can help you improve interpersonal relationships.

The relationship app which aims to help couples deepen their connection has maintained its momentum by raising CAD 300,000 in 2022.

3. Slush

How do you convince 12,000 people from all over the world to fly to Helsinki in the midst of a cold, dark, Nordic winter?

The students spearheading Slush managed to do just that! With the goal being to rehabilitate the Finnish startup ecosystem, what started as a grassroots initiative has taken the world by storm.

The entirely student-driven not-for-profit initiative has snowballed from a 300-person event in 2008 to over 12,000 attendees in 2022 – becoming a massive global festival. With multiple stages and numerous side events, the fun begins weeks in advance. This year’s conference saw 4,600 startup founders and operators and over 2,600 investors in attendance.

Entrepreneurship Redefined

Throughout the years, the Slush mission statement has remained constant; how best to serve startup ecosystems across the world. It centers around the concept of Entrepreneurship Redefined. At its core, Slush aims to connect founders with the right people in a more purpose-driven, inclusive, and innovative manner.

Slush has gone on to become a global movement, keeping in line with its values of inspiring, driving change, and creating impactful networking opportunities. In 2020, Slush also launched Node, an online community for startup founders, providing them with resources, mentoring, and matchmaking with investors.

The Slush Mafia

There’s no doubt about it that Slush has completely transformed the Finnish entrepreneurial landscape. There are several success stories emerging from Slush, with startups that have participated in previous iterations going on to raise 1.2bn euros in funding.

Slush alumni have also developed a taste for the startup ecosystem. Notable examples include CEO, Miki Kuusi who went on to start the biggest food delivery startup in Finland, Wolt which was acquired in a 7bn euro valuation by US-based DoorDash.

Get Slush’D!

Slush has expanded its global community in a massive way through international offshoots dubbed Slush’D for local ecosystems. Previous iterations of this include Tokyo, Shanghai, UAE, and Dar es Salaam amongst others.

More tech conferences in Pakistan? Yes, please!

All of us Katalyst Labs were beyond excited to host the Karachi iteration of Slush’D in August 2023.

4. TechCrunch Disrupt

“TechCrunch? That sounds like a candy bar.” – Overheard at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022

You’re probably familiar with the name TechCrunch, but did you know the media platform holds an annual tech conference too? With 10,000+ people in attendance in San Francisco in the last year, this one should definitely be on your list.

The 2022 iteration of the conference included celeb speakers such as Kevin Hart who discussed his multifaceted journey from comedian to VC and Serena Williams, Founder and MP at Serena Ventures.

TechCrunch 2023 is slated to start in September, bringing their stand-alone session events to eight different industry-specific programming tracks!

Startup Battlefield

Arguably the most exciting aspect of TechCrunch is the Startup Battlefield pitching competition. The competition puts 20 selected startups to the test to compete for a 100,000 USD equity-free prize.

Over 900 businesses have been part of the pitching competition, with 121 successful exits, going on to raise $9.7b in funding. Notable past alumni include Dropbox, Fitbit, and Cloudflare that have since then made huge waves in the startup landscape.

5. Startup Grind

If you work at a startup, with a startup, or are looking to invest in a startup – this conference is for you!

Startup Grind is an initiative of Google for Entrepreneurs and is focused on helping startups grow and scale. The organization runs a startup accelerator program, which provides mentorship, resources, and support for startups all year round.

Founded in the heart of the startup ecosystem – Silicon Valley – in 2010, the movement has since spread across 600 chapters and 125 countries.

Startup Grind already has a Karachi chapter, click here for more details!

Celebs of the Startup World

In addition to their annual Global conference, Startup Grind events host monthly fireside chats. Previous speakers at the conference have included Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel, Accel’s Steve Loughlin and Tomer Cohen of LinkedIn.

The events also include networking opportunities, allowing entrepreneurs to connect with other business leaders and potential investors.

What Others Are Saying

Whether you’re a startup, business, or investor, Startup Grind has the right networking opportunities for you. But don’t just take our word for it, hear it from the attendees themselves:

  • “Invaluable networking with other teams in the startup-tech world” – Coca-Cola
  • “The place to discover startups I may never have met elsewhere” – Jim Scheinman, Maven Ventures

To learn more about what goes into building premier tech conferences in Pakistan, catch up on our 2022 +92Disrupt roundup content here!