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Tech Tour: A Journey to a better future
Tech Tour, one of Europe's largest investor-oriented communities, celebrates its 25th anniversary in March 2023. Over the years, Tech Tour has been connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate partners from across the world, investing together, driving innovation and establishing smart partnerships. This is the story of how it all began.
The Beginning: 40 Investors, 3 Days, 1 Bus Ride
It all started in 1998, when a group of visionary investors recognised the need to meet companies from different countries in Europe. With barely 5% of the European population having access to the internet, the only way to build bridges was in person. And so, the first Tech Tour was born.
Over 40 investors hopped on a bus and embarked on a journey throughout Switzerland to meet entrepreneurs. The first three days of the tour were spent together, with some of the pitches even taking place on the bus. It was a true bonding experience, where relationships were forged, and ideas were exchanged.
The first seven Tech Tours were organised entirely by volunteers and took place in different European countries. Some events, like the Tech Tour Health and the Nordic Tech Tour, stood the test of time and continued to be held year after year.
Tech Tour, as we know it today, started as two separate companies: Europe Unlimited, founded in 1998 by the former Secretary General of Invest Europe William Stevens in Brussels, and Tech Tour, founded in 1998 by venture capitalist Sven Lingjaerde in Geneva. Both organisations saw the need for a trustworthy and transparent environment where experts could share best practices and transfer knowledge across a network to identify and support the emerging technologies in Europe.
In order to stimulate innovation, the two companies paired the most active investors in Europe with the most promising entrepreneurs throughout the course of the next years. In 2013, Europe Unlimited and Tech Tour joined forces and merged into a single entity operating under the name Tech Tour. Gradually, Tech Tour became the largest investor community in Europe.
The Tech Tour Experience
Every year, over 1,000 tech companies are selected, and more than 1,000 investors take part in 25+ leading tech events and discovery programmes for both the selected tech entrepreneurs and the investors. The growth flagship event is Tech Tour Growth Europe, where a list of 50 chosen companies with the potential to become the next unicorns is announced, and the top three most promising for growth are awarded.
In 2020, and through the pandemic, Tech Tour took a major pivot and transformed its activities from an events-based to a programmes model. Each event evolved into a six to nine-month adventure, complete with multiple pitching sessions, both online and offline as well as contact exchange sessions and deep dives into specific sectors. The goal was to provide a comprehensive experience for entrepreneurs and investors, guiding them from the initial concept all the way through to valuation.
25 Years of Building Relationships
And so, the story of Tech Tour continues. Over the years, Tech Tour has facilitated countless partnerships and investments, connecting ambitious entrepreneurs with experienced financial and corporate investors who are passionate about supporting growth. Those like-minded individuals and thought leaders have played a pivotal role in advancing the tech ecosystems across Europe and its tech clusters, enabling new ideas to take root and flourish.
As Tech Tour has grown, so has its impact on the wider world. The community has become a powerful force for change, leveraging the collective expertise of its members to tackle some of the world's most pressing challenges.
Central to Tech Tour's mission is the conviction that collaborations between investors, entrepreneurs, and corporations are crucial for promoting progress. By furnishing a forum and many invitation-only sessions for such partnerships to thrive, Tech Tour has emerged as a dynamic catalyst of the European tech landscape.
Empowering Entrepreneurs and Investors
Tech Tour is more than just a network of individuals - it is a community of experts who share their knowledge and support each other in their journeys. Entrepreneurs are given the resources they need to bring ideas to life, while investors are provided with access to new technologies and the opportunity to make informed investments.
What sets Tech Tour apart is its unwavering commitment to collaboration. By bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts, Tech Tour has created a supportive and collaborative environment where new ideas and smart people meet and can thrive. This spirit of cooperation has enabled people to achieve great things, sparking a virtuous cycle of growth that continues to this day. We believe that tech entrepreneurship is the main driver to foster a more equitable and sustainable world and society.
A Bright Future Ahead
One of the keys to Tech Tour's success is the strong relationships it has built over the years. The relations formed on that first bus ride have grown and evolved, with many of the investors and entrepreneurs staying in touch and collaborating to fuel innovation.
In essence, Tech Tour is a movement that champions the power of partnerships to foster progress and create a better world. Its impact is felt not just in the tech community but in society as a whole.