The best annual tech events for 2015
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General manager of Microsoft Ventures Global gives you the lowdown on which events startup entrepreneurs should be marking down on their calendars

As an active participant in the global startup ecosystem I usually attend quite a few events every year. As fun as it may seem from the outside, make no mistake, events are hard work, but it does pay off. If you are a young startups you can probably use events to pitch your product or idea, participate in competitions and meet potential investors. More mature startups would enjoy networking opportunities with potential customers or meetings that could set the ground for an acquisition. I’m happy to share the list I made for 2015 tech and startup events, I hope you’ll find it useful.

DLD (Digital Life Design), Jan 18-20 2015, Munich
DLD is an invitation only conference, but you can apply to get a ticket. This event was referred to as “Europe’s hottest conference” mainly for bringing together the most influential opinion-makers, industry leaders, start-ups and digital giants.

SeedStars world, Feb 4 2015, Geneva Switzerland
SeedStars world is the only global startup competition in emerging markets and fast growing startup scenes. TechCrunch named it one of the best European events for startups.

StartupGrind Feb 9-11 2015, Redwood, California
This is more on an educational experience (no startups competition) and a networking event with speakers from Lyft, Stripe, pebble, Product hunt, Air bnb and Andreessen Horowitz. Topics include Enterprise, Online Marketplace, Social Impact, IoT, Sharing Economy and Funding.

LAUNCH Festival March 2-3 2015, San Francisco, CA
At their own admission this is the best place to launch your startup, raise money and learn about building a company. There is a startup competition with a $250K prize (past winners include stack overflow, FitBit and DropBox).

SXSW Interactive March 13-17 2015, Austin TX
This is by far one of the biggest events you’ll attend (about 32K people).The SXSW conference has 3 pillars: music, film and interactive, with separate events for each. Startups should focus on the interactive part of the conference that includes a pitch competition and a startup village where you can exhibit. The opportunities are endless, but you might want to come with someone who attended before and knows what’s going on…

Global Entrepreneurship Congress Mar 16-19 2015, Milan Italy
Bringing together members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem from nearly 60 nations to unleash their ideas and transform innovation into reality—in turn growing economies and expanding human welfare.

CEE Digital Summit April 20-22 2015, Sofia Bulgaria
The most influential Digital & Tech gathering for the markets of Central & Eastern Europe.

DEMO April 22 2015, San Francisco, CA
Focusing on emerging technologies and new product innovations, the DEMO conferences have earned their reputation for consistently identifying tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies, and have served as launchpad events for companies such Palm, E*Trade, Salesforce, Webex, Tivo and VMware. Topics include: product, mobile, IoT, Growth hacking and more.

TechCrunch Disrupt May 4-6 2015, New York, NY
One of the most anticipated tech events featuring panels and one-on-one chats with TechCrunch writers and editors, special guest speakers, leading venture capitalists and fascinating entrepreneurs as well as a startup competition – the battlefield (winners take home $50K).
Remember that TechCrunch disrupt San Francisco will take place in September.

Think Next May 5, Tel Aviv Israel
A festival of ingenuity, Think Next has become a prestigious and leading event in the Israeli high tech industry, providing a center stage for industry leaders, mind provoking speakers and ground breaking developments. This celebration of innovation brings together dozens of demos and offers a highlighted view of everything that is new from Israel and around the world.

Collision May 5-6 2015, Las Vegas
The American version of web summit.

Pioneers Festival May 28-29 2015, Vienna, Austria
“Making Europe a hub for the best minds in tech” – Forbes. This is the place to learn from the ones who made it through the roller coaster ride of the startup world. With up to 2500 participants it’s also a great networking opportunity.

SXSW V2V July 19-22 2015, Las Vegas
SXSW V2V is a 4 day event for startups and entrepreneurs featuring educational panels and discussions, intensive hands-on learning and great networking as it brings together startups and venture capital communities.

RISE July 31 – August 1 2015, Hong Kong
The first major Asian tech and investor conference, by the people who brought you web summit. Early stage startups can apply to exhibit for free.

Global Webit Congress Oct 6-8 2015 ,Istanbul, Turkey
Webit Congress is an international event for the digital, technology and entrepreneurial ecosystem with special focus on EMEA emerging markets in Central-Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

SLUSH Nov 11-12 2015, Helsinki, Finland
Slush is the focal point for Eurasian startups and technology talent to meet with top-tier international investors, executives and media (with more than 7000 attendees it’s also a big event).

Dublin Web Summit Nov 3-5 2015, Dublin
It’s been called “the best technology conference on the planet”, and it’s also one of the biggest with 20K attendees ranging from Fortune 500 companies to the most exciting startups in the world. World class speakers and “simply legendary” networking.

Le Web Dec 2015, Paris France
The international digital innovation conference where you can join visionaries, startups, tech companies, brands & leading media to explore today’s hottest trends and define the future of business. If you are interested, they have a startup competition.

This post was originally published on Tzahi Weisefeld’s LinkenIn blog

Photo Credit: Shutterstock/ Blue pins mark the at 7 on your calendar

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Tzahi Weisfeld

About Tzahi Weisfeld

Zack Weisfeld is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience working with startups, investors and large corporations. Zack is responsible for Microsoft Ventures activities across EMEA, as well as the Microsoft Accelerator global blueprint. He holds an EMBA from Kellogg Business School and Tel Aviv University, as well as a B.A. in Economics with Honors from Tel-Aviv University.

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