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#RaiseYourSails @ PIRATE Live 2021

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With PIRATE Live 2021 fast approaching, we sat down with Laura Koliska, Head of Product at PIRATEx and the boss of PIRATE Live 2021 to discuss the magic of the event. Adding fuel to the fire, Laura invited our CEO, Ben Costantini, to curate the Future of Events track. Read on to find out more about PIRATE Live and what this year’s Future of Events track is all about.

Credit: PIRATEx

While clearly not possible to recreate the magic of PIRATE Summit online, you’ve somehow managed to pull off this new PIRATE Live event that’ll be online, and FREE! Will there be any in-person gatherings we should know about?

While it’s not possible to recreate the magic of in-person events online, we really have the chance here to create a new kind of magic. There is something electrifying about putting on an event, online, that people from all over the world are attending simultaneously. I love looking down at the ticket registrations and seeing that we have the chance to make an impact in different corners of the globe. And to be the venue that can accommodate that– I love to see that. There’s a lot of power in that, and also it’s just not possible to do in a physical venue.

Our offline events are not going away– it’s just not safe, or prudent to do them at this time. PIRATE Summit will definitely be back.

Despite the limitations on large-scale in-person events, we want to stay close to the founders and build new connections in person. This year, we’re testing the waters a little bit, with a small gathering of founders at our Odonien location during PIRATE Live. It’s not a hybrid event though, just a chance to bring some members of our core community together –outside and fully vaccinated– to explore what the future of in-person events will look like.

What’s the story behind the #RaiseYourSails campaign?

#RaiseYourSails aims to capture the spirit of the moment, of those that, despite all that we’ve been through over the past 18 months, are still pushing forward and making the most of every situation.

Credit: PIRATEx

It’s a metaphor for the start of a journey, or for changing direction. It’s about taking action and about being entrepreneurial with your path. That could mean building a business or working to improve yourself.

It’s not passive. You might not know where the wind will be blowing. But you’re brave enough to #RaiseYourSails to catch it.

What topics are you covering with PIRATE Live this year?

This year we have 10 different tracks, each curated by a Track Captain that is close to the specific topic of interest. For example, Ben will be leading our “Future of Events” track. I’m particularly excited about Sonya Barlow’s track, which is Deep Tech.

Credit: PIRATEx

The tracks are all geared towards what’s contemporary and current to founders and startup enthusiasts right now– which is why we’ve dedicated Friday’s events to Sustainability, Cleantech, and Climate.

From Monday to Thursday, the #RaiseYourself track will focus on self-improvement, mental health, and resilience, which is something that’s particularly topical for entrepreneurs given the times we’re living in right now.

Can you tell us more about the ClimateTech Spotlight?

Credit: PIRATEx

PIRATE is known for our pitch competition, Walk the Plank, but this year, the Climate Emergency is impossible to ignore. Entrepreneurs are doing some incredibly inspiring things to solve the climate crisis. We didn’t want them to compete to choose a “winner”. Rather, we wanted to use this space to shine a light on how founders are making a meaningful change in this crisis that affects all of us.

Which key speakers are you most looking forward to hosting?

Speaking for myself strongly relating to the event industry, I am especially excited for Hugh Forrest and his perspective on “Keeping SXSW Weird.” I am a big fan of Loubna Bouarfa, the CEO & Founder of OKRA and who was named a “Forbes 50 Top Women In Tech”. I’m very much looking forward to having her join our Deep Tech Panel. And of course, Alexander Luik, because he has a beautiful success story from our local startup ecosystem to tell.

PIRATE has always been a special place for founders; how are you transitioning this level of attention and value-add into the online event?

One of the things we always try to champion at PIRATE events is one of our core values, “Everyone is a VIP”. In the in-person setting of the Odonien, it’s something that is apparent to everyone there. While we can’t replicate the Odonien in the digital space, there’s a lot that can be done with an online platform to create an open and inclusive environment for our attendees.

Like last year, we’re incorporating INTRO.chat, our spontaneous networking solution to bring founders together. Throughout the event, our team will be hosting the PIRATE lounge sessions that bring our attendees behind the scenes with our speakers (and our team!) for a more off-script perspective. Our Cabin sessions give founders a chance to discuss with other participants the main stage content in real-time. The entire goal is to create a digital event that feels very human at its heart.

What are investors most excited about at PIRATE Live this year?

One of the big observations over the past year of the pandemic and the tech industry was that, thankfully, deals were still being done, even in the absence of physical events.

Investors have gotten more comfortable with meeting founders remotely, something that’s really contributed to the chance of building a more level playing field for founders, no matter where they are. One of the things that I think that investors appreciate about the digital platform, and events like PIRATE Live, is the chance to connect with founders that they might not have the chance to bump into otherwise.

We have a great audience of startups attending this year, from nearly all corners of the globe. Our attendees are made up of the kinds of founder that says a lot about where the market and the tech industry is going right now– something that savvy investors are always on the lookout for.

How are you structuring the networking part of this event? Will there be time/space for spontaneous connections to happen as they did back in the good old days?

Spontaneous networking is something that is very important for us at PIRATE. So much so, we’ve worked with an entrepreneur in residence to develop INTRO.chat, a platform that facilitates spontaneous video conversations between a group of remote participants, whether they are event attendees or members of a meetup group. You don’t choose who you meet within INTRO.chat, it is completely random.

Next to that, we set up networking tables focusing on various topics where like-minded people can easily get together, share experiences and thoughts. We found this way most accurately represents what it is like to meet participants at an in-person event, in a digital way.

And finally, since you just mentioned meeting cool people, here’s another shameless plug to check out Ben’s Future of Events track on Sept 2nd:

Credit: PIRATEx

Curated by our CEO, Ben Costantini, the Future of Events track will cover a wide range of topics that give insight into the future of events.

Credit: PIRATEx

Want to be a part of this magical event and #RaiseYourSails?

Grab your FREE ticket today!

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