Europe’s top tech startups showcase talent in London
TechCrunch has launched its Disrupt Europe conference in the capital, highlighting some of Europe’s top tech talent.
TechCrunch opened the European leg of its Disrupt conferences in London last weekend, highlighting the capital’s top tech startups and the huge amount of potential both in the UK and Europe as a whole. Here are just a few of the events that will make this celebration of European tech one to remember for London.
Saturday and Sunday saw the 24-hour Disrupt Hackathon, where 89 teams of talented programmers had a single day to put together a brand new product or startup as part of the exciting kick-off to the event. The winners were the group behind Infected Flight – a website established to model how diseases will spread by analysing information from flight paths and common journeys. They walked away with prize money of £3,000, as well as serious bragging rights.
The centrepiece of Disrupt is the pitching contest Startup Battlefield, in which a group of young companies with lots of potential will all have the opportunity to showcase their efforts and pitch to a team of experts from across the tech and investment worlds in the space of just six minutes. Not only does the European Disrupt Cup go home with the winners, but they will also receive $50,000 (£31,000).
The entrants for this year were whittled down to 16 from more than 600 applicants, and they cover an impressive geographic and industrial spread. From Austria to Israel, Russia to Ireland, the competing startups range in scope from financial technology – an area in which London excels – to medical diagnostics.
The point at which the tech competition and trade show formats intersect, Startup Alley will allow a wide range of young tech companies to showcase their products and services and try to drum up some interest – or even investment. The sheer breadth of the companies on display here is impressive, ranging from news aggregation to subscription billing, music recommendations, content curation, learning and skills, an online farmer’s market, gaming and travel booking.
In keeping with the high profile of London’s tech scene, Disrupt Europe is playing host to speeches and presentations from some of the biggest names and leading lights in the industry. They range from Tim Armstrong, chief executive of TechCrunch owner AOL – who took to the stage to dispel rumours that his company could merge with Yahoo – to Adora Cheung, chief executive and co-founder of Homejoy Inc., which allows users to book cleaning services for their homes.
TechCrunch moved Disrupt to London this year from its original home in Berlin, which also has a promising startup scene. In an interview with CityAM, TechCrunch editor-at-large Mike Butcher explained that London’s expertise in niche tech fields is growing fast.
“London doesn’t have a Silicon Valley, we have multiple Silicon Valleys,” he explained. “There’s a potential Valley for design, fashion technology and wearables, we have a potential Silicon Valley in finance tech, and we have another in music and media startups.
“London has an excellent ability to produce companies in these big verticals instead of trying to be the platform for social networks, which has been done elsewhere.”