Oct 31, 2018 Rasmus Ekholm
Slush Small Talks have so far been to London, Stockholm, and Berlin. The talks have covered many topics, but we are bringing the same core principle to Paris too. The idea is to host a smaller, intimate gathering compared to the Helsinki event, so startups and talent have a better chance to meet top investors, executives, and community veterans. Basically, anyone who shares their passion for further empowerment of the local startup ecosystem.
This year we’ve had one in Berlin and Stockholm and we couldn’t be more excited to set our foot in Paris for the first time for an evening that gathers the local AI ecosystem under one roof.
Why Paris, Why AI?
If you’ve been actively following tech news lately, you’ve probably run into plenty of AI news centered on France. You haven’t? Don’t sweat it. here’s a short recap on the chat.
Earlier this year, Emmanuel Macron stated that 1.5B€ will be invested into AI by 2022, to catch up with economic world leaders like the USA and China. Details have not been released but the sum includes €700M for research, €100M for AI startups, €70M annually through France’s Public Investment Bank, and €400M to industrial projects in AI. Techies definitely have the government’s ear right now.
Beyond the public sector, there’s been impressive progress on the private side as well. Starting from Facebook expanding it’s AI research center in Paris with 10M€, and Google launching it’s AI center in Paris earlier this year, followed by Samsung’s and Fujitsu’s intentions to do the same.
There’s no doubt that these type of investments wouldn’t have a spill-over effect on France in its whole, which means that there’s a lot of new talent moving to France, and new companies being built. This in return increases the number of foreign investments into the French tech scene. We want to play our part in this story and that’s why we are thrilled to do our first event in Paris around AI, a field that has the potential to change everything.
Startup & Corporate collaboration in AI, why?
When initially wrapping our heads around an event in Paris around AI, we saw that big corporates haven’t been able to utilize current advances in AI. We know corporates can create value faster with the help of collaboration with startup companies. From the startups’ point of view, they can get valuable references, proof of concepts or clients by collaborating with corporates.
We’ve seen a tremendous growth in CVC in recent years, but for the most part, it’s tech companies either collaborating, investing or buying startups. Europe is the largest holder of non-tech cash globally, around $1.5 trillion. Many say, this is an opportunity for European tech to distinguish itself on the global stage. We’ve already seen a wave of activation of non-tech companies in Europe, for instance, BNP Paribas acquired Compte Nickel in 2017 in addition to Accor Hotels acquiring 49% of Squarebreak.
Our goal in Paris is to encourage collaboration between corporates and startups. The best way to reach this goal is to initiate new relationships between those two, and together with PwC and EQT Ventures, we feel we can accomplish that with Small Talks Paris.
What’s going to happen in Paris?
The event will be twofold: the first part is a reception exclusively for startups and corporates, where founders and executives get to meet and mingle. The second part is open for startups, corporates, and anyone interested in the topic. The program is filled with leading European venture capitalists, corporate executives, academics, and startup founders sharing their views and experiences on working with AI. The evening will culminate in a laid-back, open mingling session over drinks and music.
Our line-up consists of experts representing a broad picture of what the AI industry has to offer. We begin with Jaan Tallinn, the Founding Engineer of Skype & Kazaa sharing his insights on the existential threats of AI. Following him is Cedric Villani, one of the most highly regarded mathematicians in the world, telling about why AI matters. And of course, our startup session, which consists of three (3) from exceptional companies, including Rand Hindi of Snips.
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