London Tech Week 2024: A Launched Recap

London has attracted more new international tech companies than any city in the world in the past decade. According to data from London & Partners, London has attracted 1,700+ tech foreign direct investment projects which is ahead of other innovative cities such as San Francisco and New York. So it’s no surprise that London Tech Week 2024 was absolutely buzzing. London Tech Week brought together inspiring start-ups, enterprises, and investors all under its new Olympia location to network and discuss creating the technologies of the future.

The Launched team was happy to team up (especially because we are a remote first company!) to tackle LTW by doing a mix of attending the headliner talks, interviewing attendees, mingling with prospects, and of course, grabbing some free merch where available.

Let’s dive into some of the key highlights and hear from some of the start-up founders we met during the Launched team’s journey as media partners for London Tech Week.

The Social Impact That Tech Can Make

It was a busy third day, with several people having attended all three days with others just popping in after work to catch the last of a fruitful three day conference.

It was exciting to hear about how technology is being used for good for XPRIZE competitions, competitions created with the goal of doing good for the world in sectors like biodiversity and conservation, climate and energy or food, water and waste. The competition is quite interesting as it motivates people to make a difference, and only gives the prize to the group or individual who builds the solution and demonstrates it, rather than just have it based on theory.

Steve Blank, Co-Founder of 8 Silicon Valley start-ups and known as the father of modern entrepreneurship, was speaking about the potential of social entrepreneurship. He spoke about the difference between ventures that ‘feel good’ and ones that truly make a significant social impact.

There was a big entrepreneurial spirit at this conference

It was interesting to see vendors who we use every day at work, like Personio and Canva, take the stage on panel discussions or headline keynotes. 

I loved Co-Founder and CEO at Personio, Hanno Renner’s thoughts on company culture. He felt strong about getting the right people on your team, elevating them, and aspiring to live up to their mission. Their company is consistently repeating why they are here, and repeating their mission. 

Empowering Entrepreneurship in the Tech Industry

The Launched team met so many entrepreneurs attending London Tech Week from around the world. It was great to see this reflected in the speakers on stage, in the attendees networking, and the exhibitor booths that had companies hailing from Palestine, Malta, and other countries making strides in the technology sector.

I had the pleasure of interviewing a couple of founders including Edward Borg Greg, founder of Bluefort, leaders in smart subscription management and automation. Edward’s key takeaway came after attending a panel session titled, “Unlocking Success: The Pre-Scaling Opportunity”. 

Edward was excited to hear from that session that the UK government, along with other leading countries are very interested in investing in the advancement of technology. He said, “The public sector is much more willing to take higher risks when it comes to technology than the private sector. They’re willing to give innovative entrepreneurs the support they need, and it’s not just about the money, it’s also about the community needed for founders to feel supported. It is a big selling point for the UK.”

Edward’s business is based in Malta, so when asked if he also feels supported, he said, “The world now is a smaller place to work in. Finding like-minded people with similar passions, following that path leads to creating a team that will then lead to more success. It’s a key part of pre-scaling and when you get to the point to scale.” He said his company is establishing more of a presence in the UK, where they hope to tap more into the UK’s innovation, talent, and community.

I also spoke to the Founder of Focused Futures Consultancy, a people centric end to end IT talent solutions provider, Eldon Davis. Eldon really valued the networking opportunities that London Tech Week has offered him and the 45,000 conference attendees.

His biggest takeaway was, “What I’m seeing, compared to what I’ve seen a few years ago…It feels to me that there’s a bit more confidence with both the end users and also the clients as well. I think what’s different now is that with AI and machine learning, it feels like there’s finally some solutions that can be solved and it’s not just a case of how it was going back a few years ago or even a year ago where these things were being suggested but they weren’t necessarily packaged. It feels like we’re a bit further with solutions that are more evolved.

So I see that there’s great opportunities with solutions that can save time, money, and effort. The amount of change we’ve had in the last 3 years…It feels like we’ve had 10 years worth of change in the last 3 years. The rate of change is just so phenomenal.” 

Growing Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence, unsurprisingly, was something everyone was talking about during the talks as well as while networking. There was even an AI powered dog that drew several crowds in the exhibitor hall.

One of the highlight keynotes for me from the day was by Canva’s Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Cameron Adams (Of course I might be biased with a background in graphic design!). 

His whole talk was centered around the impact that AI will have on the future of creative work, and takes a look at how the way we define creativity is going to continue to evolve at the same speed as the technology itself.

He believes storytelling is still first and foremost when it comes to visual design. Cameron said, “I’m a technology optimist. AI will enhance, not replace human creativity.”

I was impressed by the whole presentation, and how they used their own tool to showcase what their tool looks and feels like without technically doing a product demo. I love tech companies who believe in their own product enough to do this, and am proud to also be doing the same by using the Launched platform for my own marketing efforts.

Although AI is incredibly powerful, Cameron believes that the human hand still plays a crucial role in being able to guide AI to stay unique, ethical, and high-quality. AI is a central part in how we will visually communicate in the future. Cameron’s talk did a brilliant job of demonstrating creative briefs that are possible now, and were not before AI made it a reality.

Eldon from Focused Futures Consultancy said, “For some people, they’re very afraid of AI and machine learning but I look at it in a way that it’s all about evolution and trying to learn these applications and tools to give us an advantage in the jobs that we’re doing. If we can embrace these things earlier, it’ll give us a competitive advantage as a business. So–not to be afraid. Experiment. As business leaders and founders, we should be spending maybe even 10, 20% playing around with tech, new ideas and new concepts. If we keep on doing it, that will keep us fresh, ahead of the trends and ahead of our competitors at the same time.”

Looking Forward to the Future of Tech with London Tech Week…

The tech scene in London is an incredibly vibrant one, that attracts innovators from all around the world. London Tech Week provided a great platform for exploring the transformative potential technology has in several different areas – from the impact it can have on social good, to the entrepreneurship that this city is so supportive of, and to the unique ability that AI has to speed up workflows and ignite creativity.

It’s apparent that we are at an inflection point of science and technology, and it is an incredible privilege to be actively contributing to the future of tech. What we’re building today in tech, will shape our tomorrow.

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