Events in Europe
Our team at GFR Fund was fortunate enough to travel to some of the key industrial events across Europe before the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent travel bans that took place.
Here's a recap of our experiences:
Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
aka "Barcelona Tech Spirit 2020"
“Nothing can stop us now!”
This was the spirit of the Barcelona Tech Community despite the last-minute cancellation of one the mobile industry's largest conferences, #MWC2020. But the community rallied, and with only a week’s notice, organized a fringe event - Barcelona Tech Spirit 2020 - to substitute in for the cancelled conference. Many individuals still chose to travel into Barcelona despite the coronavirus outbreak and looming restrictions on travel and large gatherings. Those who made it there were later rewarded with the many outlying events still happening. Here's a few highlights from our experience there:
1. Barcelona Tech Spirit Conference - showed growing interest in marketplace investments in the Spanish B2C ecosystem.
2. Networking Lunch w/ Spanish VCs - a special thanks to Manuel Mates Garcia from Big Sur Ventures for including us and giving us a crash course on the Spanish ecosystem.
3. Roca Gallery event where our portfolio company YBVR pitched their work.
4. Last but not least, the evening party hosted by Wayra!
This has got to be one of the most eye-opening events of the year! Just being there presented a whole new perspective of the startup ecosystem in the region, and more importantly, allowed us to discover the up and coming buzz-worthy opportunities in the Baltics as well as the Nordics. Some highlights include:
- Did you know Estonia is one of the best places in the world for startups? It is the birthplace to a couple of unicorns, including Skype, gambling software Playtech and the money transfer service TransferWise.
- 5G is coming and when it comes, it will hit us hard! But this is good news. Despite concerns and conspiracy theories about it being a health risk, the faster speeds will make connections so much better for streaming content!
- TechChill has got one of the coolest line-ups with a mix of opportunities for work and to play! The parties were great, as were the connections we made there.
We got to see how the eSports experience differs across various countries. While some countries are happy watching tournaments under the hot sun, others prefer fanciful event venues with all the bells and whistles. Will be interesting to see how the latter group adjusts to the online-only format we are now living in! We saw some interesting startups here as well.
Teppei shared the stage with fellow investors in Berlin discussing global expansion. Adam Street Partners presented their insights on VC investments in the US and Europe - finding the European VC market is quickly catching up the US market.