5+ most important events of 2015 for the innovative Gdansk

2015 is over and 2016 is here! How was the passing year for the innovation ecosystem in Gdansk? The one word answer would be: fruitful. Our tech companies enjoyed steady development, important events took place, and meetings with key partners from Poland and other countries were organized. New institutions for boosting innovation emerged and many people put in a lot of hard work to improve innovation in our city and the region. Let’s sum up!

Infoshare, a great spot for CEE’s start-ups

From the left: Małgorzata Jasnoch (STARTER CEO), Paweł Adamowicz (Mayor of Gdansk), Bolesław Drapella (RoomAuction.com CEO). Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Infoshare is the biggest technology, new media and start-ups festival in the CEE region. Almost 5,000 guests attended the event in Amber Expo that gave an opportunity to meet face-to-face with VIPs such as, Ralf Herbrich (Amazon — Director of Machine Learning), Peter Vesterbacka (Rovio — “The Mighty Eagle” Angry Birds), Gary Whitehill (Entrepreneur Week — Founder), Mark Iwanowski (former CIO of Oracle — Open Source Software), or Frederic Mazzella (blablacar.com — CEO). An important part of the event was the Startup Contest, won by RoomAuction.com, which was awarded 20,000 EUR for the idea of a portal for negotiating discounts in hotels and B&Bs.

It is said that during the event deals ammounting to 1,000,000 EUR were negotiated between start-ups and venture capital funds.

The next Infoshare will take place during the 18th — 20th of in 2016. We’ll be waiting for you!

Infoshare 2015. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring
Infoshare 2015. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

Clipster, a place to live & work

Entrepreneurs Robert Różański, Tomasz Gabryś i Piotr Białobrzeski in Clipster. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

Can you run a start-up, network and live in one place? Why not! Clipster is a unique place for young entrepreneurs, where they can live for a few months in micro-apartments and cooperate with mentors and other entrepreneurs in a common room. Clipster, founded by Alfabeat and STARTER Incubator in the Culture Garrison, started in 2015 and has already attracted a few people developing their start-ups. If you have an idea for a start-up and you are ready to come to Gdansk, just visit http://www.clipster.pl and let them know!

O4, where start-ups rub shoulders with big companies

Common space in O4. Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

Already in Gdansk, a few places have popped up where your start-up can get support. The Gdansk Science and Technology Park would be a great choice if you are planning on cooperating with the science community of Gdansk. STARTER Incubator is famous for its events, for instance: Code Weeks, Creative Mornings and its acceleration program Starter Rocket. In 2015 the new business incubator O4 emerged in the Olivia Business Center. One of its greatest assets is its location; in the very heart of the Tricity’s business district where Allianz, Amazon, Bayer, Energa, Epam Systems or ThyssenKrupp run their operations. “We strive to be the best platform for business innovations”, say the founders of O4. The “4” in the name stands for things you can get there: funding, development to global markets, smart space and education.

Black Pearls VC in O4. Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

Polish Space Agency has launched

Prof. Marek Banaszkiewicz, CEO of Polish Space Agency. Photo: Jerzy Pinkas

The Polish Space Agency (POLSA) is a truly pioneering initiative. The first reason is because it is Poland’s first institution to support R&D in space technology and to spur businesses that see their opporutnity in the space industry. Of equal importance is the fact that it’s headquartered in the Gdansk Science and Technology Park; the first such case in Poland where a central government agency is located outside of Warsaw.

A few people, not very much into space technology, would ironically ask: “So you are going to build space shuttles in Gdansk?” Of course we won’t, but there are a hundred other ways to benefit from the space industry: manufacturing components for space companies in Europe and in the USA, doing business on satellite data, communication, researching new products, etc. POLSA began its operation in July of 2015 and we hope it will bring many new opportunities for business and science coopartion in Gdansk.

BAND — trees from the internet

Michał Kuchta is planting his tree at Václav Havel Avenue in Gdansk. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

www.bandgdansk.com (Bank Nasadzen Drzew - Bank of Trees) is probably Europe’s first application helping to plant trees. Launched in the beginning of 2015, it allows the inhabitants of Gdansk to pinpoint on Google Maps the best locations for planting new trees. Gdansk, as Poland’s leader in implementing open government solutions, is aiming at increasing the participation of its inhabitants in managing the city. The application supports more sustainable, eco-friendly development of the city. Of most importance is the fact that it has already went from online to offline. The first five trees were planted by the mayor of Gdansk in October. Approximately 50 new trees appeared in Gdansk in 2015 thanks to the application and new ones are expected to appear in the Spring of 2016.

Ready for planting. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring
Let’s do it together! Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

… and many other important things

To make a long story short, we would like to mention a few other things:

Central European Startups Award

For the first time, the national event for CESA took place in Gdansk. Black Pearls VC, Dr Poket and BlastLAB were among the finalists.

From the left: Alexander Lubański, Agata Kukwa, Małgorzata Jasnoch, Michał Bańka, Horváth Ádám, Anna Walkowska, Mateusz Mach, Sebastian Mul, ?, ?, ?, Mateusz Kuszner and Joerg Rheinboldt. Photo: Michał Skotarczak
From the left: Michał Bańka, Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, Daniel Dierkes and Joerg Rheinboldt (Axel Springer Plug&Play), Joanna Grandzicka (STARTER). Photo: Michał Skotarczak

Gdansk, the Leader of the City Innovation

Gdansk was awarded “the Leader of the City Innovation” prize from the Computerworld monthly. Our Open Data program was awarded for transparency, innovation and supporting business in the city.

Innovative Europe 2015

The conference took place in the European Center of Solidarity, attracting experts on innovation and development from around the world. New methods of cancer treatment, IT solutions for reducing traffic accidents and better access to potable water were discussed.

Innovative Europe 2015. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring
Michał Dżoga, Intel Corporate Affairs CEE during the Innovative Europe 2015. Photo: Grzegorz Mehring

Code for Poland

You probably know of Code for America and Code for Europe. In Gdansk, talented coders began to work on solving social issues and increasing the quality of life in the city with applications. The first idea to enter the development phase is an application for adopting pets from the animal shelter in Gdansk.

Code for Poland in the Crazy Room in STARTER. The leader of the Code for Poland Krzysztof Madejski (standing) is opening the event. Photo: Inkubator STARTER

The above list is by no means a complete one, since so many important events took place in Gdansk. It would be almost impossible to mention them all! Our innovation ecosystem gained momentum in 2015 and should follow this trend also in 2016. In 2016, first-hand coverage from events will be available on the Gdansk Medium channel! Stay with us!

Written by: Krzysztof Garski/City of Gdansk