Last week, together with my founder Justin, I had the rare opportunity to join the Founders Forum and Viva Technology. Held respectively in London and Paris, these events were centered around the possibilities created by startups and technology in Europe.
Founders Forum: Where the future unfolds
Founders Forum is a private network of the world’s leading digital, media and technology entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors. The brainchild of Brent Hoberman, founder of lastminute.com, the forum encourages debate and discussion at the highest levels. The first Founders Forum launched over a decade ago, and has expanded across the United States, Asia and Europe.
To say that Founders Forum is an eye-opening experience would not even suffice. It is special in attracting high levels of talent in attendance, bringing them together. I was really honored to stand among outstanding creators of our generation, to learn together across industries and boundaries. One highlight was the ‘Future of Tech and Innovation’ panel, moderated by Pete Flint. The conversation which centered around possibilities that new disruptions could create was highly inspiring. In particular, the panelists brainstormed ‘What to Build Next’, on how new technologies can be a force for positive change.
To hear such bold discussions outside of Silicon Valley was exciting, heartening and certainly motivating.
Viva Technology: Celebrating innovation
Viva Technology is an annual three-day event in Paris, spearheading meaningful partnerships between established companies and startups. The event invited thought leaders including Eric Schmidt, John Collison and Daniel Zhang to share their entrepreneurial experience.
The French government currently supports the burgeoning startup society with a series of government initiatives. For instance, the French Visa Tech program, a simplified, fast-track procedure for international tech talent to obtain a residence permit in France. In addition, startups at Viva Technology could pitch their projects at the innovation labs and accelerators hosted by market leaders.
It is exciting to see a great nation like France take such positive steps towards developing a vibrant startup ecosystem. The French has great historical strengths in quality and design, making it a top destination for luxury and fashion startups. Certainly, Viva Technology is a significant milestone for the French.
The trip ended off on a good note as Justin and I caught up with Tony Fadell, founder of Nest Labs. Still fresh from Founders Forum and Viva Technology, we looked back on the discussions on product, design and technology. The future is still an unwritten book – and we are excited to join the wave of tech entrepreneurs aspiring to shape the world of tomorrow positively.