Is it a festival? Is it a flea market? From a glance into the grounds of an old carpet factory in Berlin’s Treptow district it’s not immediately clear. This is Berlin’s home-grown technology conference, Tech Open Air, and the place the young and the restless of Berlin’s tech scene will be calling home this week.
Live music, deck chairs, beers and burritos make for a summer party atmosphere, even if some things are held together by duct tape.
TOA is now in its fourth year. The conference, or “unconference” as it bills itself, is a platform for Berlin’s tech start-ups to hear talks and panel discussions from over 120 international speakers, artists and musicians. They can visit the “ask me anything” booths or speed-pitch to venture capital firms in the garden.
Young disruptors meet the establishment via “Back to the Future,” part of an initiative by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Technology and Research, which brings startups together with some of Germany’s most successful companies, such as Volkswagen, Bosch and Pfizer.
The highlights in this year’s speaker line-up include: Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop Transportation, the company bringing Elon Musk’s super-fast train vision to life; Robert Gentz, Co-Founder & CEO of Zalando; and Christian Hardenberg, CTO of Rocket Internet. Two people from Forbes’ list of the top 30 of under 30s, Rand Hindi from Snips and Lauren Talbot of PVLL, are also making an appearance.