The biggest European startup conference of 2016 will be held in Munich’s International Congress Center this Oktoberfest. Branded “The Founders Festival” – a suitable label indeed – this September’s Bits & Pretzels promises to connect its 5,000+ Participants with over 300 Speakers and Table Captains, alongside more than 400 Business Journalists. This would mean that the upcoming edition will be almost two times larger than the previous (which was quite a big one itself.)
The Biggest? The Best!
Among its multiple attractions, Bits & Pretzels lists the appearance & presence of numerous businesspeople, “these rich and these famous,” both entrepreneurs and investors, from Kevin Spacey (!!!) to Richard Branson (!!!) to Leila Janah (Sama & LXMI,) from Daniel Graf (Uber) to Larry Jasinski (ReWalk) to Stephan Schambach (NewStore,) all through Steve Hefner (Kayak,) Christof Mascher (Allianz,) Michel Baker (Mozilla,) Dan Maag (Pantaflix,) Heiko Hubertz (Bigpoint,) and Riccardo Zacconi (King Digital,) as well as all the 300+ others. All these bosses, chief-editors, CTOs, CEOs, executives, founders, co-founders, investors, managers, professors, presidents, and partners will be available there for participants during the masterclasses, expert-hosted table sessions, and workshops, not to mention the press conference and random encounters throughout the center. If that’s still not enough, there’s an indie-rock gig in the plans, too: one of the most popular German indie bands, Sportfreunde Stiller, known for its songs “Independent” and “‘50, ‘74, ‘90, 2006,” is going to give a one-hour long, full-blown concert at the festival’s main stage.
To make Bits & Pretzels’ easier to navigate, all the festival’s attractions were divided into six categories, dubbed “Clusters”. Each Cluster will cover a specific content slot on one of the stages. These categories are BIG MONEY, FAST MOBILITY, FUTURE COMMERCE, HOT LIFESTYLE, SMART COMPANY, and SOPHISTICATED IOT. This categorization comes as a welcome addition, one that will surely make the festival, as a whole, a better networking experience for all the attendees, as the categories are designed to make it easier for them to find their kin in the crowd of over 5,000.
Though Bits & Pretzels’ main targets are the tech and startup people, one can be sure to find it inspiring no matter their interests. The program, though 100% coherent, is full of surprises, the aforementioned concert being one of these most remarkable ones. The most interesting points of the festival’s agenda include:
- An opening speech and Q&A session with Kevin S. (of course!)
- Lectures (with an impressive list of charismatic lecturers.)
- Masterclasses, with topics ranging from “How to start a startup” to “How to deal with challenges,” “How to become great at selling,” and “How to go global.” (And there’s quite a lot more.)
- Numerous workshops. Four Amazon’s, two Sage’s, and one AirBus’.
- Sir Richard Branson’s press conference.
- Six pitch contests for the best startup (one contest a Cluster, with unique prizes for each of the six winners.)
- Table Captain meetings: a chance to sit and talk with an expert at the original Oktoberfest (the list of the captains including all the hottest startup names.) “For networking and fun.”
- The Oktoberfest itself. This one needs no explanation.
To sum it all up: it’s quite a business, this one. It is.
The festival’s full agenda can be found here.
Bits & Pretzels is 25-27 September 2016, Munich’s International Congress Center.