© Featured Picture: Andreas Gebert
At this time of the year (September) Munich is full of people from around the globe where Lederhosen or Dirndls – it is the time of the traditional Oktoberfest. A festival rather known for beer, Volksmusik, celebrities, and traditional Bavarian food – but there is also the largest and one of the most impressive Startup Events happening alongside this event “Bits & Pretzels”. The founders, three successful entrepreneurs from Munich, claim they want to host the coolest Startup Festival in Europe and they do.
Where else do you find so many international top speakers, but a limited number of guests (around 3.000) in a loose atmosphere inspired by a Volksfest like Oktoberfest – this is hard to beat. We simply love the concept and proud partners for this event.
Bits & Pretzels still was a little bit of an insider tip to the Austrian Startup Ecosystem – but this radically changed. We have seen a large delegation of fellow Austrian Investors and Entrepreneurs at Bits & Pretzels. It was amazing to see that our ecosystem organized themselves very fast through WhatsApp – sharing impressions, tips where the cool things are happening or simply gathering everyone together for a small “after work” beer. We have met great people and hope everyone is coming back next year.
The highlight of this year’s conference besides a great lineup of Corporate Venture Capital Players (among them Raiffeisen Bank Internationals – Elevator Lab) was definitely the announcement of Kevin Spacey (Opening Keynote Speaker 2016) as new Partner of the event. He will open his network and secure more international speakers out of his personal network and I am sure 2018 will move the level up a notch again. Kevin Spacey was all over the event, engaged with startups and took selfies with a lot of fans – much more open and easy going like someone would expect.
This year, opening Keynote was held by German Godfather of Soft-Comedy and Self-made multi-millionaire – Stefan Raab. He was funny, yes – he is a star, yes – but IMHO he did not rock the stage. I did miss him at the rest of the event. Famous soccer stars like Philipp Lahm (World Champion & Business Angel) and Oliver Kahn where all over the place and open to speak to random visitors. I was more impressed by those who spoke excellent on stage and stayed for the rest of the show … this is what such a festival is about. Be open and network – built relations and get inspired!
Startups did also profit from this years event – Dealmatrix (one of our Portfolio Companies) was a partner of the conference and busy for two days at their booth. “Something changed – everybody this year realized that they need a smart tool to manage deal flow and improve scouting capabilities. We signed more than 60 new clients at the conference and we will follow up with more than 100 contacts”, explains Christoph Drescher (Founder of Dealmatrix).
And our European Super Angels Club – selected the smart butler “myAlfred” (currently in NEXTAmsterdams Accelerator) out of all 70 Bits & Pretzels finalists. Read more here.