Building bridges between startup communities

TechChill 2017

Over the years TechChill has evolved from a small local meetup to an international event, but our core values remain the same. From the time when like-minded tech people in Riga came together for the very first TechChill back in 2011, it has always stayed an event organised by the community, for the community.

We are proud to work together with like-minded startup community movers and shakers from close and far away, who are working hard on a daily basis to make their own local, regional and global ecosystem a better place. These organisations are very different in their scope – local events and international conferences, hackathon organizers, co-working spaces, support organisations, incubators, acceleration programs, business angel networks, startup hubs and individuals who are at the centre of their local communities or work to bridge international partners. The startup community, especially in Europe, is highly interconnected, and the strong ties between all of these ecosystem builders are important because they give also our startups more opportunities to succeed across borders and regions.

Strong foundations in the local community

It all starts locally with the strong base of Latvian startup community that has supported TechChill through good and bad. The people and founders of the TechHub Riga startup community were the masterminds behind the birth of the conference. TechChill was – and still is – the reference point in the year to look back on what has been done and kick-start the new season with new ambitious goals. A moment to come together, celebrate the success and share the failures; to learn and get inspired to continue the hero journey.

Since then, the Latvian startup community has expanded to more coworking spaces, event organisers, incubators, more acceleration programs, universities and support organisations, and we are excited to work together with the Latvian Startup Association, Riga Tech Girls, Latvian IT Cluster, RTU Design Factory, The Mill and many others! Even some of our Estonian friends have relocated – or expanded – nearby, such as the Buildit acceleration program and Startup Wise Guys, our Fifty Founders battle co-organiser who have their 3rd Riga program on the way.

At the heart of the Baltics

Our core mission is to serve as a launchpad for Baltic startups, the place where Baltic founders gather once a year to learn from the global experts and to show to the international crowd what they have to offer. As we’re lucky to be in the middle, it makes sense to make the most of it! This year we are excited to have not just startups, but at least three whole startup buses to come to TechChill 2018 from Tallinn, Tartu and Vilnius.

As in all good friendships, nothing ends when the event is over, cooperation continues all year long – from projects and events made together, to visit each other’s events, co-host events and meetups, and just community gatherings. When friends are just a few hours drive away, there is no second thought about it! So special thanks for the support and help goes to our Baltic neighbours – sTARTUp Day, SPARK HUB and sTARTUp HUB in Tartu, Garage48, Startup Estonia, Startup Lithuania, Lift99, Spring Hub, Tehnopol, KTU Startup Space, Vilnius Tech Park and Rise Vilnius.

Between the North and the East

Riga is on the crossroads between North and East, and as the organisation grows, we are excited to welcome more and more partners from beyond the Baltics to Riga! The legendary TechChill afterparty couldn’t be complete without the sauna brought by the Finns all the way from Helsinki. Finns have been present at TechChill for so long, they’re now practically honorary Balts. Some of greatest supporters from Finland include Startup Sauna, Slush, Aaltoes, Maria 01 and Vertical Accelerator – and you can be sure to meet more than a handful of Latvians at any of their events. To bring even more Nordic vibes in chilly Riga in February, we’re happy to have friends like Nordic Made, SUP46, TechBBQ and many more on board.

And this year, we have made some friends in the East as well – looking forward to working together with the established communities in Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and more from the region such as UNIT.City, Imaguru, GrowthUp, Seedstars CEE, Skolkovo Technopark, DigitalK and many others joining on the way to TechChill 2018.

In the big picture of the European startup ecosystem

One of the trends we are most happy to see is so many of the startup ecosystems in different countries getting more and more interconnected and collaborating with each other. Partnerships like those mostly start from a personal level when motivated individuals meet, and one of the best parts of working at TechChill is the opportunity to travel to events across Europe to build bridges and meet so many diverse, passionate people with such similar goals. It’s great to have Startup Sesame, TechHub London, CUBE, StartupBootcamp Berlin and others as community partners, and we’re looking forward to having, even more, friends over before TechChill launches for the 7th time!

If you’d like to have a chat to become one of your community members, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

Ieva Upeniece, TechChill Community Manager

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