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Tech Open Air: Bringing everyone together in Berlin


For the sixth time now, the national and international startup and tech world met at the unique Funkhaus Berlin on the Spree banks for Tech Open Air (TOA). The festival united the most diverse branches of technology, music, art and science and promoted exchange and collaboration beyond the scene.

TOA entered its largest edition to date with four days, more than 200 speakers, 200 satellite events and 20.000 participants. Satellite events took place simultaneously, hosted and organized throughout the city by national and international corporations, startups and scientific institutions, among others.

“We have certainly taken one of our biggest development leaps forward with TOA this year which is not least thanks to our World Tour stops in L.A., Tokyo and Austin”, stated TOA founder Niko Woischnik. “I am very happy to say that our Berlin edition in 2017 didn’t lag behind in diversity and internationality among speakers and participants”.

Besides the outdoor area as well as the halls where panels, keynotes and workshops took place, TOA introduced The Haus of Tech – a 3.000sqm exhibition space located in a former industrial warehouse divided into five theme areas focusing on AR/VR Entertainment, Mobility, Energy/Cleantech, Life Sciences/Social Impact, Data Infrastructure and Fintech. The clear focus of this: B2B Matchmaking.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin secretly attended TOA and listened to a talk given by ClearAccessIP founder and CEO Nicole Shanahan. Brin also spoke on one of the conference’s smaller stages, taking part in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session that was attended by 20 people who happened to be around by chance.

But he wasn’t the only one big name to be there. NASA Image Coordinator Rebeca Roth, Kilele Global founder Yaël Eisenstat, artist Richie Hawtin, Germany’s former Vice-Chancellor Phillip Rosler, Soundcloud CEO Alex Ljung, Babbel founder Markus Witte, Shazam CTO Richard Sharp, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo and WeTransfer President Damian Bradfield also attended.

The festival is significantly based on collaboration and puts emphasis upon the exchange of knowledge between technology entrepreneurs of all levels, from small start-ups to companies of a more established stance. For the less tech-savvy attendees, the chance to try out some of the latest VR hardware was one of the experiences available.

TOA represents Berlin’s uniqueness and contributed to the success and development of the city’s tech and startup ecosystem. Within the past five years, the festival grew from being a crowdfunded festival to international grandeur. For its first investment round, it managed to win over big names like the founders of SoundCloud, Native Instruments, Hello Fresh, Zalando, OneFootball or Berlin startup veterans like Christophe Maire (Atlantic Labs) and Project A.