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TNW Conference 2024: Collaboration, Community, and the Future of Tech

By Rachel Gilley

The TNW Conference 2024 offered a glimpse into the myriad directions technology could take in the near future. As I reflect on this year's event, several key takeaways stand out for Europe's tech community as it navigates contemporary challenges and opportunities.

Tech Growth in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges

We live in unprecedented times; a phrase that's become somewhat of a cliché since the COVID era. The world is juggling numerous crises: shifting away from fossil fuels amid sluggish economic growth, rising global tensions, and contemplating humanity's role in an AI-driven world. Amidst these challenges, Europe’s tech scene must elevate its game if it doesn't want to be left behind.

In his talk on redefining sustainability in the fashion industry, Vinted’s Thomas Plantenga, known for his provocative style, highlighted a significant question: What's stopping us from building our own Google or Amazon? This serves as a wake-up call to Europe's tech community, that continuous economic success is not guaranteed, particularly in a fiercely competitive, global landscape.

Gary Shapiro, CEO of CES, offered an intriguing perspective on global innovation during a debate on AI ethics. He divided the world into three regional blocks: China, where innovation thrives with minimal regulation; Europe, where regulation takes precedence; and the U.S., striving for a balance between the two. This underscores the unique challenges and opportunities Europe faces in fostering tech innovation.

The European tech scene has yet to match the astronomical growth seen in other regions. However, I had the pleasure of interviewing Aron Gelbart, CEO of Bloom and Wild, who transformed £30K in savings into a business generating £120 million in revenue across multiple European markets. His success wasn't built on rapid capital spending but through a steady, multi-year international expansion strategy attuned to each market's nuances.

Uniting to Propel Tech Innovation

Even within the European single market, rapid growth can be elusive due to a mosaic of languages and cultures. Overcoming these barriers is a substantial challenge for every European business on its growth trajectory.

Events like the TNW Conference are crucial. They not only enable entrepreneurs to forge connections across the continent but also help present a unified front to investors. Nurturing a community of investors who understand and believe in the European market is increasingly important.

Effective communication is vital for fostering this understanding and belief. Promoting our shared success stories can enhance the visibility and reputation of the European tech scene, attracting both talent and investment. Take, for example, the success story of Mistral, which recently secured over €600 million in funding at a €5.8 billion valuation. Highlighting such achievements can inspire European entrepreneurs to dream bigger, making more Mistrals possible.

Europe cannot rely on the U.S. or Asia for innovation. We must accelerate our own inventive potential and attract the necessary capital to flourish. This is achievable by banding together, not just at conferences and events, but within an international ecosystem that celebrates a unique blend of talent and potential.

Let's Shape the Future of European Tech Together

By coming together as a community, we can foster a thriving tech ecosystem across Europe. Let's continue to support, innovate, and inspire, ensuring Europe's tech scene not only keeps pace with but leads global advancements.

Rachel Gilley, CEO - Clarity

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