Think barbeque just means Memphis, St. Louis, or Texas? Try Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark.
Or at least that’s part of the name behind TechBBQ, Copenhagen’s biggest tech conference. Grit Daily has been covering a lot of the tech conference circuit lately, from Webit to Web Summit to TechChill. But Copenhagen’s top tech conference brand marries food with its own invited cohorts of entrepreneurs. And its founders claim TechBBQ is “absolutely delicious.”
Fans of food that we are Grit Daily caught up with Katrine Arevad, who heads communications for the TechBBQ team, to see why 6500 people embark to the “city of spires” to talk tech, new ventures and apparently — eat barbeque.
GD: For the uninitiated, how did TechBBQ get its start?
Katrine Arevad: TechBBQ started out in 2012 as a small BBQ gathering of enthusiastic entrepreneurs in the Copenhagen area who felt there was a need for a summit with massive width to support and strengthen the Nordic startup-ecosystem.
TechBBQ has since its beginning been a non-profit, grassroots association that consist today of an amazing team of brave and passionate people with a desire to build communities and foster growth for startups and scaleups based on the Nordic values of overcoming egos and barriers and promoting openness, trust and inclusion.
GD: What associates Denmark with BBQ? Wouldn’t that be a Memphis or Texas “thing?”
KA: Of course when you think about Nordics and Denmark most people do not immediately think about a nice BBQ. But even though the summer time may be a little short up north we tend to make the most of it – and it is not a Danish summer if there are not BBQ’s everywhere you look! In parks, gardens, on the harbour and the beaches. There is a large Danish tradition for coming together in the sun for a beer and a grilled sausage. At TechBBQ we strive to create a sense of Danish “hygge” where the vibe becomes more laid back and the atmosphere automatically becomes more loose, making it easier for people to meet and connect.
GD: Let’s talk numbers. How big? What can people expect in 2019?
KA: Since its beginning TechBBQ has grown with incredibly high speed. From a 150 people in 2012 to 6.500 people in 2018. In 2019 we expect to reach max capacity for our venue of around 7.000 people. 2019 will not be as much about growth as about creating an even better and “hyggelig” experience.
We will have more than 10 different verticals focusing on each their own unique areas within technology and innovation showcasing startups and scaleups within each vertical. There will be an even bigger BBQ, 4 stages where 100+ speakers in the form of founders, leaders of tomorrow, politicians, investors and many more get a chance to inspire the audience with their stories, know-how and knowledge.
GD: What is “hygge?”
KA: Well there has been written thousands of articles and even published a book on the concept of “hygge”. In reality it is more a feeling than a word. And what it basically means is the feeling you get when you are enjoying the simple things in life to the fullest. Often it revolves around food and drinks, but it can also be the smell of rain on the asphalt biking home form work. Or it can be an unexpectedly nice conversation with a total stranger at a BBQ. All in all it is a feeling that is hard to describe but if you are curious to feel what “hygge” is – it can definitely be felt at TechBBQ.
GD: Why include art in a tech conference?
KA: Art and technology are maybe for some people two very different concepts. But in reality art and tech interact in a trans-disciplinary relationship because they have a lot in common. All over the world, people are engineering/creating our future.
The internet, digital fabrication, nanotech, biotech, self-modification, augmented reality, virtual reality and more, all of this is altering our lives and our view of the world and ourselves. So when you think about it artist and founders are not so different at all. They are brave people with big dreams and a desire to create and build things that they believe the world should not be without. That is why we would like to explore the relationship between these two worlds at TechBBQ.
GD: Has TechBBQ been solicited by other cities in a fashion similar to Web Summit, Collision, and Webit?
KA: No we have not, but who is to say what will happen in the future.