By Pere Duran, Event Series Director, 4YFN
We are looking at some awesome changes in the startup ecosystem. Although some technologies and segments have slowed in recent years, we are seeing vertical growth curves in others. The pace of change is speeding up and our ability to make sense of it all diminishes if we don’t organize ourselves accordingly. The verticals behind the vertical growth yields deserve our increased attention – and that’s exactly what they are getting at 4YFN 2020.
Each year 4YFN is growing dramatically. 4YFN 2019 hosted 760 exhibitors and sponsors. In 2020, we want to go far beyond that. To give a sense of scale, we started in 2014 with 2,000 attendees. Skip forward to 2019 and that number was 23,000.
That presents significant challenges in terms of organizing the exhibition, presenting the right startups to the thousands of investors and corporate innovation executives that attend, putting the right stage content together that is powerful without being generic, that’s specific and useful but without being too niche. How can we connect communities from around the world on the issues that matter to them and make sure startups get the right pitching opportunities and coaching?
To try and be all things to everybody at this scale, there is a real danger of disappointing some of the people that we care most about. And it is our mission to support the whole ecosystem and help to develop it – it is why we are not only about mobile technologies, despite being the startup platform of the world’s biggest event for the mobile industry.
The world of tech is big and beautiful and we want to support it in all of its diversity and quirkiness, to help rapidly growing fields of innovation to develop and push forward the areas we believe are ripe for change.
The establishment of the Health & Wellness Hub with ECHAlliance is a step in that direction. It is part of a strategic move to present 4YFN more in the form of verticals, to help attendees navigate more easily and create more meaningful connections between stakeholders in specific interest areas.
4YFN Barcelona 2020 is also home to xside, the ground-breaking gathering of creative communities powered by 4YFN, Sonar and GSMA MWC that is the creative hub of 4YFN Barcelona 2020. Digital art, gastronomic delights, cutting-edge music and keynotes from leaders from the creative industries promise to bring the future of culture into the world of technology.
And there is much more to come. There are more verticals to be announced, as well as initiatives that cut across them. It is part of the process of growing and evolving as an event, but also a reflection of how the ecosystem is maturing and our renewed ambition keep innovating to lead the charge.
Please do get in touch if you want to find out more. We always want to hear from you and welcome all your thoughts.