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Getting Back in the Game

We love that 4YFN 2023 chose “Humanising Tech” as the key focus for this event. How are you planning to inspire creative minds, founders & investors to start making this more of a priority in the year to come?

Humanising Technology, 4YFN 2023 event theme, speaks about startups as a force of disruption. The event will showcase and debate how entrepreneurs and their ecosystems can build a more humane technological playing field to solve society’s current and upcoming challenges. We believe there is a lot to gain by bringing this issue to the forefront of the discussion at 4YFN. In each of our conference sessions we will incorporate this angle, inciting the audience to reflect on how technology benefits or should benefit our society and our planet.

We will have inspirational speakers, like Felix Ohswald from GoStudent and Lady Mariéme Jamme from iamtheCODE, among others, who will share their journey towards making the world a better place using technology.

For those into an even-deeper dive, our “Tech and Planet” programme, with superb partners like UNDP, Red Cross and Social Nest Foundation, aspires to harness the power of digital innovations to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. As part of the programme, a full day conference on Monday 27/02 will feature strategic high-level conversations around climate change, impact investing and diversity in technology. This programme also includes networking sessions and investor-startup speed-dating.

One thing we are extremely proud of in this context, is the delegation of the Women Innovators Programme – the mentoring programme we are running in partnership with the UNDP to support women innovators in the Arab region. 14 gifted innovators, working to achieve the UN SDGs through their digital startups, will be at 4YFN to meet their mentors face-to-face for the first time. This is a live example of our year-round commitment to supporting the innovation community in addressing global challenges. By the way! Any Sesamers who want to sign up as mentors – keep an eye on our programme page, the call for mentors for the 3rd edition will be open very soon!

UNDP Women Innovators Programme at 4YFN Howard Sayer Photography

For those who may not know, the 4YFN Awards is a global startup competition aimed at finding the best digital startups around the globe. Which startups are you most excited to see during the competition this year and are there any soonicorns we should keep an eye out for?

The 4YFN Awards will return in 2023 with an improved format that we are very excited about. For the first time, we’ve announced the Awards Top 50 list – 50 great startups that came on top in our evaluation. While these are all digital companies, they come from across the globe and from some very different sectors.

The vast majority of the Top 50 startups will be at 4YFN taking part in a range of networking activities, bringing them face-to-face with investors and leading corporations. Our audience is invited to hear them pitch at the pitching stage on Monday and Tuesday.

And, of course, the excitement will build up all the way to the grand finale on Wednesday, March 1st at 17h CET when our 5 awards finalists will take the stage to pitch for the win! If you haven’t yet had the chance to meet them, here they are:

  • Aircision (Netherlands) the company that connects more people at the lowest cost per Gbps of any wireless backhaul technology.
  • DeafTawk (Denmark) a mobile application that provides digital sign language interpretation and is available to 466 million deaf communities across the globe.
  • Microverse (USA) an online school for remote software developers where students pay nothing until they land a life-changing job — no matter where they live.
  • Payflow (Spain) is a B2B2C platform that allows employees to access their income on demand. Employees can use the mobile app to instantly receive a fraction of their earned salary, whenever they want or wherever they are.
  • Unmanned life (UK) have developed the leading autonomous robotics orchestration platform, which leverages AI, 5G and Edge Computing to deploy drones & mobile robots powering autonomous applications for Enterprises, Industries, & Smart Cities.
4YFN 2022 Awards winner: HumanITcare Howard Sayer Photography

For the third consecutive year, the 4YFN Investors Program is back and will be experiencing some major updates for 2023. Can you tell us about some of these changes and how they will improve the investor experience?

Definitely! Our investors club members are telling us they are ready to get back in the game big time and are keen on getting more possibilities within 4YFN to network with one another as well as with relevant startups. We’ve heard them loud and clear. This is why at 4YFN 23, we are significantly stepping up the investors programme, adding spaces and activities for investors.

For example, one new activity we are offering, is the exclusive investors roundtables, giving investors the chance to hold in-depth discussions with other investors and connect around topics that are of interest to the investment community as a whole. In fact, it wasn’t us who created the roundtable agenda, but the VCs themselves who came forward with the topics and speakers for each session.

Another example are the curated speed-dating sessions where we will be connecting investors with relevant startups in areas including Digital Health, EdTech, FinTech, Frontier Tech (Quantum, Web3, advanced materials) and Tech & Planet (social impact and sustainability). In addition, during the 4 days of the event, investors will have a 1-to-1 area available where they can hold meetings with startup founders.

Lastly, we added more speaking and jury opportunities for investors. On top of choosing the 4YFN Awards winner, investors will also be choosing the winners of our new vertical competitions: the pitch battles! We are looking forward to the participation of well-renowned investors such as Anis Uzzaman, Pegasus Tech Ventures, Jim Adler and Toyota Ventures. You can see a full list of investors confirmed for 4YFN here.

There are some great speakers lined up for this year. Which speakers are you most looking forward to hosting?

We always try to bring into the 4YFN conference a good mix of unicorn founders, inspirational innovators, experienced industry leaders and tech visionaries.

For example, Dominic Williams, Founder and Chief Scientist at DFINITY, will be giving a keynote on “Internet Computer: blockchain singularity”. Dominic leads a pioneering project developing disruptive blockchain and crypto concepts. It’ll be a real treat to have him share his vision with us on stage at 4YFN.

Another must-attend session with great speakers is “Driving Growth Worldwide: Secrets from Global Leaders” where we will be hearing from Anna Schlegel, VP Global at Procore Technologies, and Michelle Klein VP Global Business Marketing at Meta. Both are exceptionally successful business leaders who will be sharing their experience and invaluable advice with our audience.

One thing we recommend to anyone at 4YFN is to use our conference to “break silos” – attend at least one conference session on a topic you’re not too knowledgeable about and with speakers who are not directly from your field. You are bound to discover new things, as well as make some great connections. Have a look at our full list of speakers here.

Howard Sayer Photography

In 2022 MWC and 4YFN attendees were required to wear a mask and respect social distancing practices. This event this year will finally be mask-free. Tell us what that means for the dynamics we can expect, are networking activities finally back?

We are definitely excited towards a mask-free event! Networking activities were always a key pillar at 4YFN, but the reality was that COVID practices limited how much we could do on that front. Now, we can finally go back to hosting 1-to-1 meeting areas and programmes, indoor and outdoor networking cocktails and our famous 4YFN happy hours, where all our attendees are invited to wrap up a long day with a beer and some great networking.

Check out our full networking agenda here


Speaking of Sesamers not only can you check out who else is planning to be in Barcelona for #4YFN23 but you can also sign up for your free Sesamers profile to start booking meetings with them in just 2 clicks!

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