Once upon a Plugg

A blast from the European tech conference past
Once upon a Plugg

With only two weeks to go until our first Tech.eu Summit (get your tickets pronto etc.) I started thinking about 15 years ago when I got the crazy idea in my head to organise a conference about ... European Tech.

I remember feeling unsatisfied with the big conferences in Europe at the time, particularly Le Web in Paris, which were fantastic events but were incredibly US-focused in my mind.

In hindsight, that was only partly true, and also completely normal - the European tech industry was nowhere near where it is today or even five years ago. But I wouldn't have it, so I set out to organise an event with exclusively European speakers, startups, sponsors etc.

In 2008, the first Plugg was organised while I was grinding in my first year as a full-time staff writer at TechCrunch, itself still young in those days.

Don't ask me where the name came from (I think Digg was having a moment and I wanted people to be 'plugged in' or something something?). The website was plugg.eu but the domain name is no longer mine - it still has some content from past times but it's also plugging Bitcoin Cash fyi.

I recall The Next Web live-blogging the first Plugg held in Hotel Le Plaza in Brussels alongside my employer-at-the-time TechCrunch. There's some coverage on Venturebeat and ArcticStartup and other places that lingers around the Web, and there's even still a video library - including old startup pitches - from the third and last Plugg I organised up on Vimeo!

Here's Saul klein, at Index Ventures back then, asking the question: 'Can Europe Compete? A VC Perspective'. I'm so delighted he's agreed to join us a decade later for the opening of the Tech.eu Summit!

But the real treasure, my friends, is hiding over on Flickr

Let's take a stroll down memory lane shall we (and potentially embarrass some people while we're at it)?


Remember eBuddy?

Is that Gary Cige checking in?

Is that a young "Mike Butcher from TechCrunch" hosting Forrester Research's Rebecca Jennings on stage?

We're so happy mr. Butcher is joining us for the Tech.eu Summit!

Who's this guy? Why it's veteran European tech investor Max Niederhofer (back then at Atlas Venture, now going Heartcore).

Speaking of veteran investors, remember Neuhaus Partners? Paul Jozefak (on the left) has since been walking down the entrepreneurial path.

This stylishly scarfed gentleman? Rodrigo Sepúlveda Schulz, still investing and enjoying wine.

In 2008, he was on a panel featuring legendary tech PR queen Colette Ballou as the moderator, and mister Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten (back then the guy from a startup called Fleck rather than the TNW empire).

The gentleman on the left is Andrej Nabergoj, who went on to run the incredibly successful Outfit7 company and is now investing in Silicon Valley.

A young Maarten Schenk hard at work. These days, he's battling disinformation.

On the left: Leen Segers, once upon a time COO of Tech.eu. On the right, Pieterjan 'PJ' Bouten who went on to start one of the biggest tech scale-ups Belgium has ever seen (Showpad).

The up-and-coming-then Reshma Sohoni, who had just set up Seedcamp.

And Eline Talboom, breaking ground in Belgium still, backing female entrepreneurs.

How many investor panels has Mike Butcher moderated in his lifetime?

Blogging on the floor where the plugs are located. Second from the left is the unstoppable Bart Becks.

Interviews by the legendary Vincent Everts.

Bart De Waele and Bruno Peeters

Jo Caudron in focus

More Mike B.

Futurist Gerd Leonhard on stage where he belongs.

Stefan Vandegehuchte + Sven Marievoet + Kris Hoet

Jon von Tetzchner, founder of Opera Software and Vivaldi.

A young mr. Matthaus Krzykowski jotting down thoughts.

Victor Henning pitching Mendeley (they went on to win the startup competition at Plugg 2009 and got acquired by Elsevier).

A young Fred Destin holding court with fellow investors Anil Hansjee (ex-Google, PayPal, MTG etc.) and Sake Bosch from Prime Ventures.

Dries Buytaert! He came up with Drupal and founded Acquia (acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $1 billion a few years ago).

Tom Henriksson - back then in corporate business development for Nokia; now making waves at VC firm OpenOcean.

A youthful Peter Arvai, co-founder of Prezi.

A young Felix Van de Maele pitching his then-tiny startup Collibra, now valued at more than $5 billion.

Vola Ventures' Frank Maene looking up.

Heikki Haldre pitching Fits.me (later sold to Rakuten).

Mr. Tariq Krim in the Jolibook days.

One more Saul Klein. Don't miss our fireside chat at the Tech.eu Summit.

Ilja Laurs in da house.

There's plenty more where that came from.

Let's make some more memories at the Tech.eu Summit on 17 May in Brussels, okay? Score your tickets here.

Oh and just in case you thought I wasn't going to embarrass myself...

So long, Plugg, and thanks for all the fish.

Now go get your tickets for the Tech.eu Summit 2022!

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