“Three days of inspiration networking and awesomeness” – that’s how ambitious the organisers are about the Shift Challenge and Conference, which will take place on 22-24 May. The aspiration is to bring regional and international tech startups, investors and journalists together in historic Split, Croatia, and to show them something new. Although the conference itself is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, 32 competing teams will be in Split with their startup projects already on Wednesday, 22 May. They will prep up to meet the 10.000-dollar worth Shift challenge, and will receive feedback on the ideas they present. Add some partying on the beach, and you’ve got the full package right there! For a slot in the conference, register here. Tickets are available for the price of 122 euros, students pay half.
A different kind of startup conference
Last year Split hosted Startup Live. Ivan Burazin, who was behind the event then and is organising Shift 2013, explained the idea for this year: “We want people to SHIFT their views on conferences and how they interact with speakers so we are slightly moving away from the standard conference format.” The venue might help in this effort – an 18th-century house protected by a 1700-year-old ancient Roman fortification overlooking the Adriatic.
Most of the conference talk will naturally whirl around IT, technology, innovation and business. The leitmotif of the Shift is glossier, though: music, movies and technology. “We have people from the music industry that are slowly entering the tech field, and the likes of SoundCloud – a tech company getting into Music. It will be something like the Cannes festival for startups, a bit of Hollywood mixed with Silicon Valley,“ elaborated Burazin on this year‘s theme.
The agenda for the two conference days consists of a combination of speakers, roundtables, interviews, networking events. The two stages will run in parallel and will host several pitching sessions for the Shift challenge participants. The end of the Day 2 will see the award of theShift challenge winner but all participants will get to celebrate – each conference night is crowned with a party in the Split night lifestyle (so promise the organisers).
Over 30 prominent international speakers will participate in keynotes and panels, including the technological companies, startup success stories‘ representatives, and seasoned investors. The organisers expect 500+ attendees: entrepreneurs, investors, press, future clients, mentors, and speakers.
The Shift Challenge
The competition for the best IT startup received an overall of 130 applications from four continents. The organisers together with a team of six mentors have picked 32 contestants based on a set of criteria, among which creativity, viability, team, project, market size and competition. The projects include a Portuguese football-scouting application, an Israeli article-translating tool, a freelancer job-search aid from Ghana, an Austrian sport activity smartphone app, and a domestic Croatian baby monitor, to name but a few.
On 22 May – and in seclusion from the common conference audience – the challengers will have their Mentors‘ Day. Assisted by four mentors, each team will prepare their presentations for the actual conference. All 32 contenders will pitch in front of the audience on 23 May, but only half of them will make it to Day 2 – 16 participants will be voted out by the jury at the closing of the Day 1. 24 May will see the second round of the challenge. The nine members of the jury will eventually choose and declare the winning project, which will walk away with a 10.000-dollar grand prize.