Image | 4YFN
The Mobile World Congress has bid farewell, along with all the other events being held in and around it. One of the most interesting events was 4 Years From Now (4YFN) that aimed to connect startups and entrepreneurs from around the world. According to the organization’s data, the event’s second edition received 8,000 visitors, more than three times the number of last year’s in which 2,300 attended. There were 235 featured participants including startups, accelerators and companies, and 1,200 people who participated in the workshops being held.
For three days, Barcelona became the focal point of mobile technology, Internet of Things and digital media. This was the most interesting part:
Under the title ‘Disrupted by mobile’, the first day of the Congress focused on showing how the mobile revolution has changed numerous aspects of our lives in just a few short years: media, banks, tourism and even the world of event planning. Speaking on this last topic was Renaud Visage, co-founder and CTO of Eventbrite, which raised gross sales of 1.5 billion dollars (around 1.4 billion euros) in 2014. “We think the platform still has a long way to go,” said Visage. In his view, one of the major current trends in the sector is generating new mobile experiences for everyday actions.
Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Paypal Here NFC… Every year we have more and more services allowing us to make payments through our mobile phones, and quite easily at that. An example of this is electronic banking. This is the reason why 4YFN gathered experts in economy and technology to discuss new financial models.
Members of Nasdaq and Visa Europe concluded that new transactions will naturally become faster and more affordable and technology will force them to revamp their business models. This change also implies a cultural shift that means we, as a society, will have to get over the fear of purchasing things on the Internet and become comfortable operating with money online.
Image | 4YFN
The main theme on Tuesday was the Internet of Things (IoT), although it had to share the stage with women. In the Women in Business Congress — which lasted more than seven hours — the most debated topics included business leadership (women account for only 14.6% of the 980 high-level positions at major tech companies, as was stated during the day), technology and womens’ impact on the global economy.
One of the women who most stood out at the event was the founder of the tech group Marvell, Weili Dai, who presented her ideas on what is in store for the near future in technology. As the main theme of the day was the Internet of Things, the executive’s opinion on the subject was clear: “Numerous opportunities will be created, both for ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ companies,’” and she had plenty of reasons to back it up — connected objects have already become part of our daily life, as we can see with all the ‘wearables’ being showcased throughout the event.
Tuesday was also the day to talk about startup investment in Europe, and the event brought together industry experts from across the content to discuss the topic, including Philippe Botteri (Accel Partners), Krishna Visvanathan (DFJ Spirit), Mattias Ljungman (Atomico) and Davor Hebe (Fidelity). All of these company heads believed that Europe has a lot to offer and that money will continue to flow, despite the crisis.
Telefonica also participated in the conversation on investment. José María Álvarez, COO of the company, explained that it has invested more than 300 million euros in 500 companies across 17 countries, such as Israel, Colombia, United States and China. It has done so through Telefonica Open Future, which combines various accelerators, Wayra, Amerigo, Telefonica Ventures and China Open Future. Thanks to them, 13 innovative startups got to meet each other during 4YFN, such as FIrstv1sion that enables live sports broadcasting through jerseys with built-in cameras, and VTXBrazil that allows you to take photos of objects you like, and then send the image so you can buy it.
But those who can’t access these venture rounds will always be able to turn to crowdfunding. On that very same day, the founder of Indiegogo, Salva Rubin, was also present to talk about the reach of this global crowdfunding platform which is one of the oldest in the sector, created back in 2008.
And the day ended with a training session: Elijah Rabek, director of Spain Tech Center of San Francisco, gave a conference on what every company should know before crossing the pond.
The last day revolved around new trends in journalism and content creation on the Internet. Without a doubt, the key player of the event was Vice, the media outlet that is conquering audiences around the world with its original approach, mainly aimed at a young audience, and video production. Vice’s president, Andrew Creighton, and global general manager, Hosi Simon, were discussing these topics at 4YFN.
Creighton and Simon explained the two main ingredients for Vice’s success: offer content that doesn’t exist anywhere else and sign collaboration agreements with brands in order to spread the message: for example, with telecommunications companies AT&T and Rogers to promote the ‘mobile movement’ in the U.S. and Canada.
And to top it all off, the awards for two competitions were handed out: Caravelo, a company aimed at the tourism sector and travel agencies, enabling you to exchange plane tickets you will not use, was the winner of the startup competition; PhotoMath, an app that helps students solve mathematical problems using the camera of smartphones and Hanhaa, the winner of the IoT competition.