By @. We were delighted to be invited to Latvia to cover Tech Chill and Riga Venture Summit, which fortunately took place the same time. We have a series of cool interviews coming out with speakers from both events. Here is a review of TechChill, and here are six interviews we did with various speakers and supporters of the event.
First up, it was in February. This was significant, as it meant day time temperatures varied between -4 and -14 while we were there. That said it was sunny, no wind, no rain, and in many ways – 14, didn’t feel any colder than when the wind is howling and pounding you in West Cork at +4. We’re still trying to figure that one out! The organisers were actually happy that it was a proper chill for their TechChill event too.
Riga is small, all of the events that attended were in walking distance. Often in completely different directions, but even so walking can be an interesting way to learn more about the city, and if you didn’t want to walk then there were trams, buses, and Taxify, an app based taxi service so all options were good. Taxi rides too were often between €2 and €4 euros so they were a luxury you could afford. This was also a fair reflection of Riga in general, it is super affordable, which makes it an easy place to visit. The food in the restaurants is good, most people spoke English too. We quickly learnt to say thank you, to me it sounded like ‘bal – dias’, though google translate tells me it is ‘paldies’, either way it was a useful thing to know.
TechChill itself, after Slush in Helsinki (17,000 attendees) with 1,000 attendees seemed like a great number of people to have there. Locals and organisers said it has risen from less than a hundred over the last six years, to this level now by in 2017. Less (than Slush or Web Summit) levels of attendees still works for us. They had high quality speakers, Prezi, Mobile Iron, Dentsu, TechCrunch, awesome female founders and other interesting entrepreneurs and investors, who delivered good talks and were then also available for mentoring sessions and interviews. The evening events went well, again putting the right people into the room, without it becoming a free for all zoo either.
We found it a really useful event, both for getting a much better perspective on innovation and startups in the Baltics, and also for the access to interesting and relevant people from further a field too. If you get the chance we’d recommend going to the 2018 version.