Backstage with Tech.eu’s founder Robin Wauters, we delve into the growth of the Tech.eu Summit and unveil his projections for the future of the event industry and the role that Tech.eu Summit will play in it.
As a media organization, how do you see the future of the event industry? Would you say media companies like Tech.eu are better positioned to monetize events like the Summit?
As we’ve learned from the Covid-19 years and its aftermath, people are always going to want to connect with others in real life. Online events have proven to be merely complementary to physical events, not a replacement by any means, even if strong hybrid elements have upped the quality of certain events in remarkable ways.
From a media point of view, in that sense not much has changed, even though you can feel that the bar has been raised for people to still want to physically travel to an event. You have to make it really worth it for them - and I think being in the media business (especially for trade publications such as Tech.eu) just helps to keep the fingers on the pulse about what people want to hear about, and who they want to hear from.
At the end of the day, great events will always have a strong enough value proposition to make the numbers work. Being a media organisation does not necessarily put us in a better position than others in that regard, only putting on the best events we can possibly organise will do that.
It also depends on things like market downturns and economic challenges which the industry as a whole are currently grappling with, making it easy for no one.
Tell us about the growth of the Summit this year and what you’re projecting for the future. Are you aiming to become THE Tech event in Belgium?
When we started organising the Tech.eu Summit last year, Belgium was still in complete lockdown, so there was more uncertainty, and less time. For this edition, we had more time to prepare, but are faced with other challenges such as the general market conditions, energy crises, geopolitical turmoil and the general slowdown in European Tech.
But the event will be bigger and better than last year, despite not having changed anything format-wise (same venue, one day, two stages, etc.). I expect in the next 2-3 years we’ll be able to grow attendance to 4-5,000 people, after which we’ll likely want to stop growing and double down on consistent content quality. I don’t think it would work if it was any bigger than that.
What role is politics playing the programming of the event, if any? Will there be an opportunity for founders to connect with the elite from the European Union? What is your take on policy making in tech?
When you organise a technology event in Brussels, you have to be careful not to make it too much about policy unless of course that is your goal. There are tons of events related to digital policy in this part of the world, so we differentiate by making it a clear-cut technology industry event featuring Europe’s foremost innovators, founders, investors and operators.
That said, there’s no conversation about the future of the European tech ecosystem(s) without touching on crucial policy issues, so we’ll have people from that ‘world’ as well.
Last year we were joined by Belgian PM Alexander De Croo and EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel for the opening ceremony for instance, and by the Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter and Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close at the VIP reception the evening before.
This year, we’ll have people like European Innovation Council head Jean-David Malo, European Investment Fund CEO Marjut Falkstedt, Secretary General of the European Tech Alliance, Victoria de Posson, and plenty more.
And last but not least, what about the networking platform for this 2nd edition of the Tech.eu Summit? Are you still using your own tool and if so, why?
That is a good question, and the honest answer is we are not sure yet.
We want to maximise the experience of attending Tech.eu Summit in person, and if a certain networking application helps us in that sense, we will not hesitate to have it in place!
Check out who else will be at Tech.eu Summit this year 👉 smrs.link/TES23