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At the Center of Innovation: WAIFC 2024


Even though the South of France is known as a summer holiday destination, Cannes offers more than just the famous film festival, but rather a hub for leaders and enthusiasts across various industries. Two weeks ago, we participated in MIDEM+, IPEM and a few days ago I visited – World Artificial Intelligence Cannes Festival (WAICF), which occurred for the third time. Music, VCs and now Artificial Intelligence? Almost everything is there in Cannes! 

As a South of France lover, I am happy to capture all of these different events and give our community a sense of what they could expect. So, if you are curious about visiting Cannes and going to Midem next year, check out this article and for the Artificial Intelligence Festival – keep reading because this recap will give you an overview of what it’s all about.

What is the World Artificial Intelligence Cannes Festival? 

This is the global event dedicated to AI; its tech leaders, and the economic, human, and societal issues that will soon impact our lives. The festival is catered towards experts and companies, in addition to the general public through a rich program

The festival aims to be an observatory of market trends and a place for AI professionals to meet and exchange ideas while offering the general public a vision of how AI could transform their daily lives. For AI enthusiasts, this event is a unique opportunity to take stock of what’s happening in their market, learn from the world’s leading experts and meet the decision-makers at the helm of the leading companies. 

With a huge crowd of attendees, 300 international speakers, 250 sessions and 230 exhibitors –WAICF 2024 was all about tackling every different aspect of a sometimes terrifying but exponentially growing industry.

This event could be a perfect opportunity for anyone interested in AI products and future innovations, looking to invest in AI startups, or finding an investor with a portfolio in AI. Besides that, since the event was open to anyone, together with founders, investors, or industry experts, exhibitors had a good opportunity to pitch their technologies to students, teachers, and anyone else outside of the industry. As one of the startups, SongHunt said “Every time I pitch, I don’t know for whom, but this is why I like going to events – you get to know your product and audience even better.” 

WAICF 2024 exhibition with around 250 exhibitors.

I’ve visited WAICF for the full 2 days, and needless to say, it was not enough time to talk with everyone! There were 6 different stages and you could choose between: 

  • The main stage: exploring what AI can do today to imagine what future innovations will bring to tomorrow’s society and organisations. 
  • The AI applications stage: participants got an overview of the advances AI can bring toorganizations, through insights into different industries. 
  • AI technology and strategy: sessions were about learning from industry experts how to use technologies in the best way possible and shape your innovative mindset. 
  • Demo sessions: a chance to get tangible proof of how products work and make the best purchasing decision for future AI projects. 
  • Private VC Summit had an exclusive, invitation-only program to help AI investors make the best decisions. 
  • Pitches stage: it united +50 startups and new technology founders, which showed their innovations and concepts to the global AI ecosystem. 

Discussions that shape the future 

With the objective to be an event with global resonance, WAICF sessions touched on many different perspectives for the AI field and ecosystem. One of them was a debate on “Should we slow down research on AI?” with speakers:

The conversation delved into the nuanced complexities surrounding AI research’s pace and direction. The debate underscored a critical takeaway: the journey of artificial intelligence is not just about the acceleration of knowledge but also the wisdom to navigate its course responsibly. As we stand on the cusp of AI’s potential to reshape our world, the speakers highlighted the need for more informed experience from regulators and a balanced approach to AI research that fosters both innovation and ethical responsibility.

The main stage. Debate: Should we slow down research on AI?

Startup village: on the mission to accelerate technological advancement  

Besides all the sessions and future-oriented conversations, the festival accelerated connections between startups and investors. With more than 50 startups, CAICF was the place to explore future opportunities and innovation. Startups solving problems related to data, health, security, skincare, travel, music and many others, introduced public society and the entrepreneurial ecosystem to the unlimited capabilities of AI and its products. 

The Startups Village, where everyone shared a passion for innovation, was a good setting for founders to interact and work together. For 3 days, the exhibition area was like a bee hive full of meaningful connections, demos and learnings. 

As a community of founders, investors and entrepreneurship enthusiasts, we love to dig deeper in the life of startups. We want to understand founders’ needs, offer them the best opportunities from our partners, and, on the other hand, have an overview of the ecosystem. WAICF was not an exception! I’ve talked with many startups from various industries and at different stages of growth. All of them have their own success stories, which we are happy to accelerate, but this time we were most interested in one thing from their experience. How to prepare successfully for the trade show? 

Startups’ stands at WAICF 2024

The advice is simple: be brave and unique 

Our question for startups was simple: what should founders prepare before going to an exhibition like this? We were curious to hear their secret strategies or homework that they do before going to talk with hundreds of people every day, so let us introduce the top things and advice that founders do to attract an audience! 

  • Step 1: Prepare your stand – take at least 2 laptops, charge batteries, and have some posters and rollups. Every print must have your brand colors, and your outfit has to have a sign or at least a little detail so that everyone will know which company you represent. 
  • Step 2: Take your prototype, MVP or product with you and be ready to show how it works, let the guest experience your product and understand the features 
  • Step 3: Set up your LinkedIn and, just in case, have some business cards because not everyone is using social media, so having alternatives is a must!
  • Step 4: Be brave and attentive. You might see many people waiting to talk to you, so don’t ignore them – say “Hi!”, and let them know that you are seeing them and will be available soon. 
  • Step 5: Check the attendee list before the event, invite them to visit your stand if you feel that connection could bring you some value; or even post on your social media where your stand is going to be.
  • Step 6: Have some candies or music. Exhibitions make people tired, so if your could give them at least a little ease, they might remember you longer! 
  • Step 7: Do your research, take your time to analyze guests who are coming from your industry, and remember their faces. Sometimes personal interaction and attention could move the needle towards easier conversation! 

These are the short tips and tricks from tech founders – make your notes, and don’t forget that being authentic means being visible! Follow our social media to see those interviews first! 

More of our content 

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If you are looking for more information about AI and AI related events, check out our #AI library where you can find some articles like: 

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