The NOAH Conference is one of the top European events for Internet companies of all sizes, from startups to conglomerates. Having started in 2009 with an annual event in London, this year’s conference was the biggest ever.
NOAH conference was held on the 13-14th of November 2014. 1709 individuals attended, including 911 C-level and 402 investors. 57 countries in total represented, 36% of them was from Germany, 24% from UK, 6% from Switzerland, 4% from Spain and 4% from the USA. 29 startups was pitching their ideas, 7 of them pitching for the Seven Ventures Pitch Day competition and 22 startups pitching on the Pitch Stage.
Highlights from the main stage
Given the European orientation of the audience, many of the speakers wanted to voice their opinion on Peter Thiel’s view on “slacker Europe” from a few days earlier at The Web Summit in Dublin. While most recognized that his words should not be taken out of context, some (like Mike Lynch, founder of Invoke) used them as a rallying cry: “Let’s prove Peter Thiel wrong!”.
One of the emerging success stories in Europe has been BlaBlaCar. Nicolas Brusson, co-founder & COO, reiterated the company’s expansion strategy, and shared an interesting statistic: more than 2 million people travel via BlaBlaCar per month across its footprint.
As he has done many times in the past, Michael Jackson from Mangrove Capital Partners urged entrepreneurs and investors to see the big picture, and cited the need for increased focus on things like apparel and cars.
London’s Tech City UK CEO, Gerard Grech, praised his city’s startup-friendly profile and reinforced the importance of the entire ecosystem it provides. Beyond the 40+ accelerators (!) operating in the city, London offers strong access to finance, a predictable and investment-friendly tax environment, and a deep pool of skilled workers ready to take the plunge into entrepreneurial ventures.
Lastly, in one of the most anticipated fireside chats of the conference, Rocket Internet’s founder & CEO Oliver Samwer, talked about his company’s recent roadshow and IPO. His most tweeted statement? “Bankers didn’t teach us anything!”.
Seven Ventures Pitch Day competition
The competition is a key part of the event, with 7 startups competing for 3 TV media prizes: €4M to the 1st, €2M to the 2nd and €1M to the 3rd winner, from Germany’s largest television network corporation, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group.
This year’s competing startups were:
• Flaviar (USA)
• Roomlr (Netherlands)
• GetYou (Israel)
• SquadRun (India)
• Cashboard (Germany)
• Pico (USA)
• Showroom (Poland & CEE)
The big winner was Cashboard, which aims to bring a new paradigm into online investment.
2015: a double feature with a Berlin event!
NOAH has always been an international event with a growing interest and number of attendees from Germany. It came as no surprise that 2015 will bring an additional event, this time in Berlin.
NOAH Berlin (9-10 June, co-hosted with Axel Springer Verlag) will be a platform for digital challengers and industry leaders in automotive, energy, healthcare, education, finance, travel, TMT, retail, gaming, wearables, home automation and advertising.
NOAH London (12-13 November) will be continuing its focus on connecting capital with great entrepreneurs and helping service providers to find relevant customers.