27 May Webit – Global Boost for the Startup Scene from Sofia
A global community, and a series of events fascinated by technology and fostering the digital transformation in the business and the society. Having annual events in Istanbul, Dubai, Singapore, and New Delhi, it bridges the digital Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. Webit foundations itself grants large amounts of money to startups, in order to improve innovation and boost the entrepreneurial ecosystem in EMEA and Asia.
Talent Design had the opportunity to visit the European event in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event itself was a at a central location in a beautiful park, where the Palace of Culture in Sofia is located. It was packed with notorious international speakers, startups, investors, panel discussions, large sponsors, laser and fire effects, sunshine, rain, laughs, smiles and everything you could expect from a global event. Speakers included the President of Bulgaria, European Commission / Commissioner Digital Economy and Society, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, Senior Partner & Founder of Digital McKinsey, Global Head of Strategic Partnerships and Innovation from Visa Inc., Chief Cybersecurity Officer of Siemens, Chief Scientist of McAfee, Managing Partner of Global Strategy, Offerings, Digital Innovations, M&A, GBS of IBM, and approximately 450 other speakers.
The amount of innovation present was just as remarkable as the industry leading speakers of their fields, including Cybershoes revolutionizing virtual reality, hover bikes and man carrying drones, the newest innovations on unmanned drones with inflight charging, cargo drones, AI powered robots, mapping drones, and hundreds of others. The carrying themes seemed revolve around AI, VR/AR, drones, analytics and big data.
The event hosted a pitching competition as well for startups, the Founder’s Games, with a $1 million prize pool. This had drawn startups from all over Europe, but the strange part was, that the Nordics were really poorly present. Only two startups from Finland approximately the same amount from the other Nordic countries. Considering the huge potential of Eastern-Europe, with extremely talented and driven workforce and fast-growing economies, would have expected more presence from the Nordics. The winner this year was WeFarm, creators of the world’s largest farmer to farmer digital network.
Sofia in Bulgaria, is a booming startup hub of Eastern-Europe. The city has changed a lot and is constantly evolving with a busy startup scene. With extremely talented tech people, not only are new innovation coming from Sofia, but also large corporations are investing in Sofia and Bulgaria in general to take advantage of the superior talent they have to offer. The price level and wages are still at reasonable level, making it an extremely alluring investment.
Overall a great event, definitely attending in the future as well! There should be more events like this one, taking a more global approach and supporting a startup ecosystem, by building global awareness for startups and talents around the world!
Startups for life!