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TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2017

Last week Ad and I were at TechCrunch’s annual Europe event: Disrupt Berlin 2017, listening to panels featuring top figures in tech and, of course the Startup Battlefield competition.

Throughout the event many important topics facing today’s tech landscape were discussed. The topics included everything from artificial intelligence to automation to cryptocurrency. Some of the interesting points to share were:

  • Slack CTO and co-founder Cal Henderson noted that they’re still working to figure out how Slack can fit into many company’s culture and how to keep Slack discussions from going off topic despite the existence of GIFs and emoji. We are quite addicted to Slack and GIFs at Clay as well!

  • Banking alternative app Revolut announced that they stepped into the cryptocurrency movement by boarding the list of delivered services with crypto trading.

  • At the same panel with Revolut, N26 talked about their new premium debit card for ‘the digital customer’. With this card N26 customers are able to join the WeWork network and get credits to reserve workspaces and conference rooms. Shows once again that everyone wants a piece of WeWork regardless of the industry!

  • Ulrich Spiesshofer, the CEO of 125-year old automation giant ABB, argued that automation is nothing to fear. “AI will only make humans more productive, and in the end, you’ll still need engineers who understand how these machines function”. He pointed out that countries that embrace automation like China and India are doing a lot better than countries who resist. Read all about Clay's take on automation: Ten golden rules for Automation Domination.

  • The question of whether bitcoin is another bubble was answered shortly as; so what? The dot-com bubble gave us the modern internet! Bitcoin is the introduction of blockchain accounting and Ethereum is the beginning of blockchain computing. The next logical step is to build software on top of these.

The Startup Alley featured many startups less than two years old and had less than $2,5 million in funding. As part of the alley Volkswagen showcased MOIA, their cutting-edge bus that might be the ride of the future. MOIA is a concept that puts UberPool to shame. Like Uber, it’ll find you wherever you are, minimizing your wait time. Unlike Uber, it’s 100 percent electric, and dedicated to making ridesharing feel luxurious and productive—for less than the cost of a taxi. Looking forward to seeing MOIA in action.

Preceding the Disrupt conference, hundreds of engineers and designers combined into 45 teams for a Hackathon, during which teams presented creative hacks born during the 24-hour event. Quick Insurance was the winner of this year’s hackathon. Quick Insurance is an easy way to purchase and insure all your valuable stuff. Let’s say you go on a rafting trip with your team and you bring an expensive camera, you can insure that camera in just a few simple steps by using your phone. Check out this video to find out more about Quick Insurance.

The hand-picked startups taking part in Startup Battlefield presented their products to a number of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for an opportunity to win €42,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup. This year’s winner was Lia Diagnostics. The creator of the first flushable pregnancy test. Lia Diagnostics wants to improve the traditional pregnancy test which hasn’t seen any innovation in over 30 years, with the exception of adding a digital component. The Lia pregnancy test will be the first-ever flushable test to hit the market, offering a more sustainable, disposable, convenient and private way for women to find out if they’re pregnant or not.

Overall TechCrunch’s Disrupt Berlin 2017 was a great conference. It was inspiring to hear from the leaders in tech and to see the early stage companies at the startup alley and as part of the Startup Battlefield competition. We can’t wait for next year!

Check out our blog to read about all the other events we’ve attended this year.