Tech Open Air (TOA) Berlin took place over three days (July 13-July 15). With more than 150 speakers and 11,221 attendees, the event shaped up to be one of Europe’s leading interdisciplinary technology festivals. Attendees participated in a two day conference and more than 175 satellite events took place where collaborations led to growth and innovation.

The Location

With its creative feel and history, Funkhaus Berlin gave TOA the perfect venue. Designed by Bauhaus architect, Franz Ehrlich, the building served as a broadcasting station for radio programs with several studios and recording rooms. Many artists, musicians, and producers found their inspiration through the unique spacious interiors of the venue.

The Conference

In 2012, Berlin startups came together with a vision to create a festival which bridges the tech, music, art and science worlds together. TOA has now emerged as the world’s first crowdfunded festival which serves as a platform for others to build on. Through collaboration inside the startup community and technological changemakers, the event has been given the opportunity to help disrupted industries anticipate the future and to make technologists understand the world they change. Over the first two days, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs gathered to experience stories, panels, art, music and more at TOA. Both days consisted of talks about a variety of topics ranging from blockchain,entrepreneurship to music which took over Funkhaus Berlin. The organisers had accounted for both indoor and outdoor activities including speeches, discussions, and art exhibitions. Speakers from companies such as Flickr, Guardian, Max-Planck-Institute, KAYAK, Kickstarter, Airbnb, and FinLeap presented at the event.

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Notable Satellite Events

As TOA provided a combination of a conference and festival, a variety of satellite events were planned to create an interactive hub for technology. The events had a goal to bring together like-minded individuals and present inspirational talks from numerous diverse companies.

Women in Tech Breakfast – With the support of FinLeap, Carolin Gabor hosted a breakfast to connect and foster female entrepreneurs to combat the lack of female employees in the tech sphere.

Kayak Pitch Challenge and Party – The pitch challenge gave entrepreneurs the chance to present their ideas to global tech executives and investors for the chance to win a residency at KAYAK Berlin. At the party, the pitch winners were announced and everyone had the opportunity to celebrate!

European Innovation Hub & Universal Music: “Music X Tech X Creators” – The special satellite event was designed to showcase leading audio tech startups who presented their products to an audience of music creators, audio-techies, and the startup community.

Adidas x Urban Sports Club Run & Rave – The 5k run through the streets of Berlin-Kreuzberg finished with a workout session on the dancefloor of the electronic club IPSE.

Reply Moonshot Party – Some of the best and brightest minds from Berlin’s tech community got together for some networking and some dancing. Among the attendees were some incubators and accelerators.

Slush X Jobspotting Festival – With over 20 DJs and great food, the festival was one of the best tech parties of the year.

Kickstarter Block Party – As a celebration of creativity, Kickstarter hosted a networking event where one could see some of their projects, meet the creators and the team, and enjoy the entertainment.

Ars Electronica exhibition “Human Factor” – The exhibition aimed to show ways in which creative humans can encounter entrepreneurs and executives to confront issues and challenges that call for alternative approaches.

Big Data Berlin, v 8.0 – An evening with exciting talks from Data Science industry leaders and experts followed by some food and networking.

Hangover breakfast by Axel Springer – With a venue with an amazing view of Berlin, Axel Springer invited TOA participants for some good talk and food.

Meet & Pitch – Diversity Edition – Speakers focused on the issue of improving diversity in the Berlin startup scene, discussed their work, and answered some questions from the audience.

Startupboat – Startupboat hosted an intensive workshop session in open water where they discussed problems of everyday life of migrants and how the tech scene can solve social challenges.

TechCrunch Meetup + Pitch-Off – TechCrunch’s legendary event included food, great conversations, and entrepreneur pitches in front of a judges panel.

Overall, TOA turned out to be a great event focused on collaboration and innovation. The event allowed highly experimental startups from all spheres to get together and not only discuss the future, but also enjoy each other’s creativity. Musictech startups such as Weav turned heads with a dynamic and fresh way of approaching the industry. The disruption of the financial world was shaped as a ground breaking revolution while virtual reality demonstrated to all attendees the future of media. Last, but not least, for the first time ever TOA configured a way to combine the tech world with humanitarian aid that will help people in need. With its unique atmosphere, TOA represented Berlin as a tech-hub ready for its next challenge!

image credit: TOA 16 Highlights

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