Copenhagen & the Øresund Region (what some of us now calls “Greater Copenhagen 🙂 ) has seen an impressive progress in the strength and breath of the tech scene in the last few years. International recognition has come from companies that have established leading, international positions (JUST EAT, Zendesk, Unity, Sitecore), but plenty of other companies big and small are also getting funding and attracting talent like never before. No need to mention any names, but there is plenty.
However, there is no need to rest on the laureals. The best way to keep growing our industry is to participate directly in building great companies with great teams and products. But there are elements around the eco-system which also matters a bit. One of the things I felt was missing some years ago was a big conference where everybody could meet once a year, celebreate successes, learn from failure and the international investors knew they could meet everybody in one go. Therefore I teamed up with Martin Bjergegaard, Esben Gadsbøll and Daniel Laursen to create such a conference, which we decided to call TechBBQ.
We were ambitious from the beginning, though we had no money, but with a free venue (thanks to Dansk Erhverv for letting us use Børsen!) and a lot of volunteers we managed to get 300 people gathered to a great day in Copenhagen in May 2013, our beta product had been well received. That was the start – lots of positive feedback, an event like this was definitely needed. Paris has Le Web, Helsinki has Slush, Madrid has EEC, etc. and Copenhagen should have TechBBQ as the one day a year, where we would all be together in the real, physical world.
In May 2014 we had an improved program and 600 participants, but still not with international swung. Then May of this year we raised the stakes and rented the magnificent Opera House in Copenhagen – an iconic building at the waterfront built and funded by one of the biggest Danish entrepeneurs 10 years ago. This, together with a great program including speakers and investors from all of Europe, did the trick. It was no longer a skunk-works event but an “almost” fully fledged conference that really gave a good impression of what happens in Copenhagen/Denmark/the Øresund Region.
TechBBQ is not the only piece of infrastructure that has seen the light of day in the last couple of years, other notable mentions should go to e.g. CPHFTW, various new co-working spaces, a big increase in volume of meet-ups, increased activity from smart angels, etc., but in it’s own way I believe TechBBQ can play a role in making the community stronger, connecting people, facilitate learning and ultimately support better companies in the future.
We are looking forward to organising TechBBQ 2016 – even though it is really a pain and a logistical nightmare, but what the heck!