The real west coast, as seen from Techcrunch

BY TRACY KEOGH, PROGRAMME MANAGER, STARTLAB, GALWAY

Sir Alex Ferguson speaking at Techcrunch

Sir Alex Ferguson speaking at Techcrunch

TechCrunch is an online publisher of technology industry news.. TechCrunch Disrupt is an annual conference hosted in San Francisco, New York City, London, and Beijing. It’s where technology startups launch their products and services in front of venture capital potential investors, media and other interested parties. I travelled with my team and Gene Murphy, E.I.R at Bank of Ireland on his 4th trip to a TechCrunch event, I took the lead from him on how to navigate the conference.

What differences did you see between TechCrunch London and TechCrunch San Francisco this year?

This is a European wide event versus a San Francisco focused event one of the major starting points of cutting edge tech globally. You can see the difference in the level of focus on FinTech at this European event versus a consumer wide tech such as major Virtual Reality demonstration area that took place at San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt.

Do you think this is a place startups need to be?

Like all things you need to know your customer and the reason for being here. If you want to expand into European markets then this is a good jump off point. My own belief is that far too often event attendees don’t put in enough time into research ahead of the event and waste a lot of time and never really get the most from the event they attend.

What’s your top tip for making the most of Techcrunch events as an attendee?

Three tips:

Research why you’re going there, who you want to see, and what you want to learn.

Prepare to succeed. Make sure you’ve got the business cards, business meetings in place and get there early.

Hustle, hustle hustle. Always keep your eyes open.

That last point is my favorite. You never know who you might meet in the lunch queue. There were big names like Postmates, AOL, Alex Ferguson and Klarna on stage but as is often the case, the real gems came from one on one conversations. Beyond the mentions of the big tech hubs, came various conversations on Galway.

First, William Shu - founder of Deliveroo, a startup that lets you order high-quality takeaway online from top Irish restaurants, fast delivery straight to your home or office. I asked him why he chose to move to Galway straight off the back of raising their latest round of €100 million. Far from hearing about our great talent or tech, they took to Galway because of population density and the quality of our restaurants.

Next, Ryan Kuder, MD at Techstars (a global tech startup accelerator program ) and programme manager and the Virgin Media Accelerator had a different reason for mentioning our regional city. Ryan is from San Diego, close enough to San Francisco to be compared to it, but not close enough to house the startups taking an IPO. He knows all too well that the best of innovation does not just happen in main centres. When we tell stories abroad of what’s happening in Galway, it really is fresh news.

Finally, Maren Lesche, editor at a German tech journal, as well as a myriad of other startup jobs. I assumed that the conversation would go the same as the others, with me having to point out Galway on a map. That was not the case and news of the Innovation District had traveled all the way to Germany and she was able to excitedly brief me on it fully. The startups on show were excellent. But a key takeaway for me was that our little city was so well known at a big tech conference. Way hay!

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