Tech events around the world worth traveling to

Calling all entrepreneurs, investors, and technology lovers! We’ve profiled some of the most exciting upcoming tech events, in some of the world’s coolest locations.

The next six months are jam-packed with amazing tech events around the world. Image credit: Django/iStock
The next six months are jam-packed with amazing tech events around the world. Image credit: Django/iStock

Techcrunch Disrupt, San Francisco – Witness the startup world in motion

Watch aspiring startup founders go head to head on the Techcrunch Disrupt Battlefield, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges, in a bid to win the much-coveted Disrupt Cup, a $50K cash prize, and most importantly, investor exposure.

While the Battlefield may be the most well-known and publicized aspect of Techcrunch Disrupt, it’s actually just a small part of the event as a whole. Take a stroll down Startup Alley, featuring exhibits from more than 1000 pre-series A startups, discussing and demoing their products for the benefit of the press, investors, and the wider tech community. Attend talks by industry leaders, which for 2019 includes Google Security Expert Heather Adkins and CEO of Impossible Foods Patrick O. Brown.

While it’s hard to beat attending Techcrunch in San Francisco, the U.S.’s most well-known startup hub, the event also runs smaller versions in both New York City and Berlin. Comprehensive passes for Techcrunch in San Francisco are priced between $1,100 and $2,000, with discounted rates for students, non-profits, and multi-ticket purchases.

Dates: October 2nd to 4th, 2019

Gitex Technology Week, Dubai – See how tech is shaping our world

Dubai is one of the world’s most captivating megacities, the business capital of the future-focused, technology-obsessed United Arab Emirates, and host of one of the world’s largest and most impressive tech events – Gitex Technology Week.

Part trade show and part conference, Gitex Technology Week has been running for a solid 38 years, giving attendees a taste of how we might experience life in the future. The event is structured around key technology trends, and hot topics for 2019 include 5G technology, smart cities, future mobility, and retail technology.

Ticket holders gain access to 26 different exhibition zones, each packed with cool, interactive displays, and can attend tech talks by industry leaders, as well as scheduled X-labs, where new technologies and concepts are demonstrated live. Speaker highlights for this year include RoadBotics CEO Mark DeSantis, who will discuss the role of AI in roadway infrastructure, and ADDO AI co-founder Dr. Ayesha Khanna, who will speak about human requirements for future smart cities.

One of the nice things about Gitex Technology Week is the relative affordability of tickets compared to other conferences and tech events. A five-day pass costs approximately $75, while a single-day ticket is a steal at just $36. The 2019 event also includes an interesting and diverse range of free learning sessions and workshops, which can be attended by non-ticket holders.

Dates: October 6th to 10th, 2019

World Summit AI, Zaandam – the AI ecosystem under scrutiny

The world’s leading artificial intelligence summit is even bigger and more comprehensive this year, with event organizers adding additional areas of focus to its already impressive program.

The 2019 World Summit AI event will see ethical AI, and AI for earth innovation take center stage, as the industry grapples with the growing concern regarding the rapid adoption of AI ecosystems in both private and government sectors. As per usual, the fast-paced two-day event is jam-packed with tech talks, deep dives, and special presentations, showcasing the latest AI technologies. 2019 sees the addition of hands-on training workshops for developers, as well as a Q&A stage, where attendees will be invited to pick the minds of AI’s movers and shakers.

Thanks to the event’s ethical focus, speakers for 2019 are a diverse and interesting bunch. Former vice president of the European Union, Neelie Kroes, will be speaking about AI’s role in government, and Lego Group CTO, Jesper Soegaard, will discuss the data-driven future of one of the world’s most loved toymakers.

World Summit AI takes place in the charming Dutch town of Zaandam, which is 30 minutes by car from Amsterdam. Standard and VIP tickets cost approximately $1,300 and $1,700 respectively, with highly discounted rates for startups, academics, students, and charitable organizations.

Dates: October 9th and 10th, 2019

Web Summit, Lisbon – the ultimate networking event

If the incredible seafood, exquisitely tiled buildings, and fascinating history of Portugal’s capital aren’t enough to consider a Lisbon getaway, then the exciting agenda for the world’s largest tech event – Lisbon Web Summit 2019 – might be the extra push you need.

The focus of Web Summit is as broad as the name suggests, and the event covers a wide and diverse range of topics, welcoming speakers and attendees from all corners of tech. With more than 70,000 attendees, and more than 1,000 exhibitors, attending Web Summit is the best way to see, feel, and experience, the latest tech trends and perspectives. The speaker lineup for 2019 is impressive and includes politicos such as Ghana president Nana Akufo-Addo, and Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier, as well as savvy young entrepreneurs including Lime Scooter CEO Brad Bao, and Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins.

Tickets cost between approximately $950 and $22,000,  depending on benefits and access to special events. Those who purchase Executive-level tickets can enjoy Night Summit and Sunset Summit events, and discover some of Lisbon’s most famous attractions and best kept secrets.

Dates: November 4th to 7th, 2020

Big Data LDN, London, UK – data security in focus

Data security is one of 2019’s most hotly debated topics and with Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie positioned as the event’s headline speaker, Big Data LDN is set to be one of the year’s most interesting tech events.

Incredibly, the event is free to attend! All you have to do to sign up is to fill out a few online forms, surrendering information such as your address, email, occupation, as well as your political affiliations and medical history… (just kidding). Those who secure themselves a spot will spend two days with their heads firmly in the cloud, mingling with other data enthusiasts, and participating in the event’s many workshops and learning sessions. Aside from data world superstar Chris Wylie, the event has a solid speaker lineup, which includes Data Architect for SEGA Felix Baker, and Head of Product for Revolut James Gibson.

Since there’s no need to fork out for tickets, you can spend any pennies and pounds saved on a luxury London hotel suite, and explore London in style. However, if you or your organization are looking to exhibit in the event, then fees do apply, with range of exhibition spaces to fit a variety of budgets.

Dates: November 13th and 14th, 2019

AI Assistant Summit, San Francisco – Alexa is listening

Whether its a weary office worker programming their Google Home to play “Eye of the Tiger” at max-volume every morning at 8 a.m., or a busy parent who relies on Alexa to let them know when they’ve run out of milk, there’s no denying the popularity of AI assistant and smart home technology is growing fast.

AI Assistant Summit 2020 is a must-attend event for anyone interested in learning more about the future role of AI assistants at home, in the workplace, and in government. During the two-day event, attendees will discover the latest technological advances in the field, learning from experts in predictive intelligence, voice recognition, data mining, and anticipatory computing. The event is limited to 800 attendees, and offers a balanced mix of workshops, discussions, and speaker slots, with plenty of coffee breaks and evening mixers for networking. While the full speaker list for 2020 is yet to be released, it’s been revealed that Conversational AI Manager for Facebook Rushin Shah and Senior Research Scientist for Uber Alexandros Papangelis have a spot.

Purchase your event pass before September 13th and you will benefit from early bird prices, picking up a Standard Pass or Pass Plus for $895 and $1,295 respectively. The event website states a $600 price hike for any tickets purchased after this date, so the sooner you commit, the better.

Dates: Jan 30th to 32st, 2020

Mobile World Conference, Barcelona – The best in mobile technology

Considering 81 percent of Americans are now connected 24/7 via their smartphone, mobile technology is BIG business. Mobile World Conference Barcelona, referred to as MWC, is the world’s largest mobile event, welcoming more than 109,000 attendees from 198 different countries and territories. If you work in the industry and are only going to attend one event this year, then make sure it’s MWC.

The conference consistently attracts some of the biggest names in tech and the 2020 lineup does not disappoint. Senior research fellow for Google, Jeff Dean, will explain how the company is harnessing mobile technology to advance the healthcare industry and the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel will be discussing ethics and diversity in tech. The schedule for MWC 2020 is massive, with as many as 10 different events to pick and choose from each hour.

Registration for MWC 2020 won’t open for a few months, but going by last year’s ticket prices you can expect to pay between $900 and $5,500 depending on the access level and benefits. Book a few extra days in Barcelona on either side of the conference, and you can make the most of the city during the mild winter months. The temperature is perfect for exploring Barcelona by foot, with the added bonus of reduced tourist numbers.

Dates: Feb 24th to 27th, 2020


Grace Catherine

Grace is a freelance writer and digital project manager from New Zealand currently based in Mexico City. She is an avid traveler who loves destinations with an eclectic history, a bike-sharing scheme, and plenty of cool animals.