A few days ahead of Startupcon 2016, we sat down with initiator Christian Weis to discuss Cologne’s startup potential and highlights of the upcoming event.
Give us a short elevator pitch: Why is Startupcon a must for startups?
“That’s because we turn Germany’s largest indoor arena into a startup hotspot. Our event condenses 150 top speakers, 50 workshops, lots of networking, a startup expo and up to 500 pitches with the chance to win a prize on-stage.”
Maybe this is unfair, but tell us: What are your three highlights in this year’s program?
“I’m excited to see Marcell Jansen who ended his career as a pro soccer player to start founding startups. Also, I’m looking forward to hearing Arun Pudur deliver his insights. He’s coming from Malaysia for this speech. Another clear highlight will be Bibop Gresta’s talk on the Hyperloop. Looking at our grid of speakers I’m absolutely sure there’s something thrilling for everyone.”
How do you see Cologne’s position as a startup city?
“Cologne is catching up. Our cosmos of startups is developing quickly. The city is offering support wherever it can. Also, universities are putting in a lot of commitment. This has led to Cologne having a lot of cool founder locations that deliver value. Things are moving ahead in Cologne.”
You don’t just feature big shots and new teams, but also the good old Mittelstand. How does it fit in?
“It’s our opinion that startups are lacking good connections with the strong small-and-medium-sized business driving our economy. At the same time, these often traditional players can learn a lot from startups. Based on this it makes sense to start connecting both sides and help establish partnerships.”
Startupcon took place at the Gürzenich event location last year, grew to Lanxess Arena this year – where can we expect you to lead us in the future?
“Well, in terms of location, we will remain and grow in that very large framework during the next few years in order to prove our position in the startup events sphere. The arena offers a great many opportunities to establish a diverse and meaningful program. Not every venue could cater to our demands as we mix a conference, an expo and a pitching event. So to answer it: Lanxess Arena is the ideal spot for us.”
Startupcon is a Cologne-based startup conference. The event features lectures, workshops as well as tremendous networking opportunities for startups, VCs, business angels and middle class companies.