Editor’s note: This annual conference does not appear to be taking place anymore.
Pathways to Exit was launched in direct response to a perceived need in the TMT sector for a platform for European Innovation that included entrepreneurs at every stage of development – along with the global investment community, large corporate and services firms that support the industry. Since its launch in 2009, “Pathways” has become recognised as the most exclusive event for European Tech Innovation. It gathers the “bright stars” from the European technology scene and connects them with global as well as local investment. Q/A with Elizabeth Perry & Farley Duvall, Whitebull Summits co-founders continues below.
What makes this summit different from any other conference?
EP: Our focus is on the entire company journey. We are not just targeting the hot new start-ups out there, and there are plenty of events for these younger firms. Also, we are not a “pitch fest,” though we do provide the opportunity for companies to present their visions on stage before potential investors. What we do is create an experience with all of our events, providing the intimacy we feel is the optimal environment in which to really connect with the decision makers -the people who will help your business thrive, and ultimately even change your life. It’s personal. We’re pretty sure that’s what makes it work.
What are your criteria when it comes to designing the panel of speakers?
EP: We look for industry players and speakers who will speak from personal experience, and share meaningful information with the audience, both on the entrepreneur side, as well as the investor side. The conference is designed to be helpful to the entrepreneur as well as to the investor and the services firm. Speakers are a part of that. Of course, the content has to be relevant to the firms in the audience, but we look for something personal… even fun! While we are not TED, we have seen incredible impact of the inspirational story.
What is the key to organising a successful Whitebull Summit?
EP: While organising an event is not rocket science, putting together quality experience takes a bit of foresight and effort. For us, the key is people. We spend the entire year nurturing and expanding a network of top-notch industry players. Of course, we are on the lookout for those “hot” new firms, but we also keep close tabs on the growth and success of firms we know well. We will continue to be successful because of the intimacy of the experience we create, and because of the calibre of the people who join us.
What do you see as the main challenges for startups in Europe?
FD: The biggest challenges for start-ups in Europe, and most of the world is finding funding as well as talent. Europe has had many incubators and accelerators launching over the last five years, and this is great for the ecosystem. However, it is still difficult to find investors who will put in seed or angel funding. Most European VCs focus on Series A or later and there is still a shortage of capital.
Making things even more difficult, many entrepreneurs in Europe do not look outside of their own cities and countries for funding or talent. We launched White Bull precisely to help solve these two problems, by connecting European entrepreneurs with global investors and Big Brands. We want to connect the fragmented ecosystems across Europe. There is a lot of power in knowing who your European counterparts are and what they are doing. Silicon Valley’s Angel List recently announced it received $24 million in funding from a huge syndicate of investors. It provides a pretty effective one-stop shop for entrepreneurs to go and get information and funding. In Europe, there are similar local sites for start-ups/funding, but there does not seem to be a pan-European version. Maybe this is a business idea for White Bull!
What is next for White Bull, yourselves and the summit?
EP & FD: We will continue to build on the success of our anchor Pathways Summit, always expanding our network, while maintaining the intimacy we have created. We are also working on expanding our reach even more into the US, Asia, and Canada – continue to provide not just events, but support for the entrepreneur – connecting them with the resources that can help them reach the next levels of success. Stay tuned for more news on our website!
10 Reasons not to miss White Bull
Whitebull Pathways is one of the most intimate conferences we attend on an annual basis but by far one of the most impactful in terms of calibre of attendees and startups. (And no were not paid to say that!). So without further ado, here are 10 reasons why entrepreneurs and startups shouldn’t miss Pathways in Barcelona:
We were blown away last year by the sheer calibre of startups and entrepreneurs at Pathways 2013, you could throw a stone in any room and hit dozens of successful entrepreneurs and investors. If you’re looking for a conference that is careful with attendees both in quantity and quality, look no further.
It’s not all about work!
The parties are rather spectacular, from drinks by the pool to DJ’s using advanced Japanese tech and some epic cocktails, the evenings are great to meet interesting people and relax/ work. (Let’s face it, for most entrepreneurs this tends to blend.)
Farley and Elizabeth
Farley and Elizabeth, the organisers of Whitebull Pathways, are great hosts and are experienced entrepreneurs in the own right with a serious network in the tech community. Their events run incredibly smoothly, and this is in no small part down to brilliant organisation.
If you’re looking to raise and meet one to one with some of Europe’s top investors, this is the place to do it. Web Summit, Slush and other large conferences in Europe are brilliant in their own right but in terms of getting face to face with viable investors, Pathways rules the roost.
It’s bloody interesting!
Similar to most conferences the day is packed with lectures, breakout sessions and more. We couldn’t fault the content last year and this year’s line-up is looking even better with Accel, Qualcomm and Salesforce attending to name a few. If you want interesting, breaking and disruptive ideas/ innovation, it ticks all the boxes!
You might win something
The bully awards are respected around Europe, a mark of achievement for your startup. If you’re lucky enough to win, it’s a good badge of honour. Most of these startups also go on to seriously disrupt their industries, so as a good luck charm it doesn’t hurt either.
It’s a club
Your end up making friends, contacts and excellent business relationships with people from around the world. On a personal and business level the Whitebull club is a good one to be in.
It’s in Barcelona
A beautiful city with great locations and a sun that never seems to set, there need be no other reason to attend.
Because we’re judging
Our MD is one of the judges this year for the WhiteBull Bully Awards, come say hi!
One of the core reasons Whitebull works so well is the size, keeping to below 300 attendees keeps it intimate and allows people to make strong connections. Simply put, it’s our favourite conference to attend.