The Noah Conference – Like A School Reunion

The Noah Conference is like a school reunion for investors, explained a Munich business angel. The two-day, invitation-only conference in Berlin brings together VCs, successful startups and those that still need to prove themselves. It’s not without reason that this year’s motto for the conference is “Connecting European Champions and Challengers.”

Since 2015, the Noah Conference in Berlin has been able to establish itself as a kind of school reunion for roughly 700 VCs. Those who have a good nose for startups meet up every year in early June in Berlin to talk about their latest deals. They also discuss which promising “challengers” will be worth an investment in the future.

The participating young startups, on the other hand, have the opportunity to present themselves in the pitch area. Although the sponsor went somewhat over the top with its branding in the area, the pitching startups still do a convincing job. The only companies to pitch in the “hardware” field were Munich-based Blickfeld and ProGlove. The rest of the startups are quite a mixed bunch. There is something to please Al fans, healthcare enthusiasts  or mobility buffs.

You just need to know what direction you want go

Apropos mobility. There was an endless coming and going on the stage by those who are already further along. The first morning is dominated by mobility: The block on “Travel & Tourism” was followed by an interesting Fireside Chat with Uber, where things got a bit political. The focus then shifted to “Transportation”: Flixbus spoke about its internationalization, movinga talked about the unique character of its digital platform service and where the young company plans to go in the near future (perhaps towards Scandinavia) and blablaCar explained the particularities of the Russian market. And Chantal Amberd, General Manager at blablaPro, commented that “There is no ‘one fits all’” when it comes to market entry strategies.

The Volocopter
(Almost) ready to take off – the Volocopter.

One conference highlight is definitely the Volocopter parked in front of the entrance. Visitors are able to get in and test out how mobility might feel in the future. Actually taking off is not possible yet, although Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter commented:

“Next time you are in a traffic jam, look at the sky.”

Why? Because the second generation of the Volocopter has already been approved.

“It’s closer than you think,”

said the CEO.

Networking at Noah 2018
Good weather is great for the networking.

Taking a look at the sky will make most sense in Dubai in the near future, since its government is more open than Germany in terms of autonomous flight and air taxis. We have been told, however, that a 5-year-old could fly a Volocopter with how easy the technology is to use. You just need to know what direction you want to go… up, up and away in this case?! As local Munich patriots, however, perhaps Lilium could be a hot contender as the next big (air) taxi.

A brief summary of the first day: The Noah Conference has achieved its objective to put the most varied players from each vertical on the stage and give attendees a good insight into very different companies — be it a corporate VC in mobility or a transportation startup. Everyone knows nearly everyone’s name on the main stage and knows what the companies are up to. But it is still enjoyable to see them one by one and to hear what they have planned.

It almost seems like many visitors are not even here for the pitches or speeches — thanks to the bright blue sky and dazzling sunshine, the outdoor networking area around the Tempodrom seems to be a lot busier than the entire indoor portion of the conference.

Want to learn more? Click here for part 2.