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VDS brings together over 12,000 tech enthusiasts from 91 countries at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

The international tech event, organised by Startup Valencia, has beaten its attendance record for the second consecutive year.
VDS brings together over 12,000 tech enthusiasts from 91 countries at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia

The sixth edition of Valencia Digital Summit has yet again exceeded all expectations by bringing together a staggering 12,000 professionals from 91 countries. This exceptional international turnout marks the second consecutive year that the event has broken its own attendance record. 

Valencia Digital Summit is committed to advancing the Valencian innovation ecosystem and driving the evolution of startups into competitive scaleups. The international tech event, organised by Startup Valencia and hosted this past Thursday and Friday at the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia, was attended by renowned tech leaders and experts from across the globe who, through a range of talks and panel discussions, shared their insights to inspire growth and build a better future.

A significant portion of the first day’s discussions revolved around the keys to facing the challenges of international expansion and startup growth. The session titled 'The DNA of Unicorn Leader' featured the President of Startup Valencia Juan Luis Hortelano, together with Ann Hiatt, a Silicon Valley veteran with 15 years of experience as the Executive Business Partner of Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, and as Chief of Staff for Eric Schmidt CEO/Executive Chairman of Google. They delved into the essential skills and traits that leaders can adopt to amplify their impact and trajectory. Additionally, Felipe Peñacoba, CIO & Management Board Member at Revolut, shared the success story of the company, adding depth to the conversation on unicorns.

The event further explored the journey from startup to scale-up with discussions led by by Anamaria Meshkurti, from Unorthodox Ventures, Juan González, from Armilar Venture Partners, and Nikolas Mastroyiannopoulos, from W11 Ventures, in the panel titled 'From Seed to Success: Navigating Early Stage Tech Investments in Startups'. Later in the afternoon, Adria Cortes of Amphora Logistics and Francisco Tormo of Singularu Trendy Jewels continued the exploration of this transition in the panel 'Winning Strategies'.

CEOs of leading international companies, such as Ángel Alberich of Quibim and Francisco Benedito of ClimateTrade, shared their insights on the challenges and opportunities associated with expanding operations into the United States in the panel titled 'How to Scale your Company in the US', held at the Innovation Stage by Banco Santander, Diamond Sponsor of VDS2023. The panel titled 'The Ecosystem and Investment Strategies in the U.S. and LATAM Market', delved into the key trends, regulatory considerations, and successful strategies for navigating the investment ecosystems across the pond.

Furthermore, Valencia Digital Summit hosted the session 'New Benchmarks in The Ecosystem: Premios EmprendeXXI Investors Day & Kick Off New Edition', featuring the 'Investors Day Premios EmprendeXXI'. CaixaBank and Enisa jointly organised these awards to identify and support the most innovative startups in Spain and Portugal. During this session, finalists and winning startups of previous editions, including Hotelverse, Arkadia Space, Iberbox and Libeen Smart Housing, presented their projects to investors, and the new features of the 17th edition of Premios EmprendeXXI were announced.

Institutional welcome

On Day 1, Carlos Mazón, President of the Generalitat Valenciana (Valencian Regional Government), María José Catalá, Mayor of Valencia, and Vicente Mompó, President of the Diputación de Valencia (Valencian Provincial Government), took part in the institutional welcome of VDS2023, held at midday on the main stage.

The three institutional representatives highlighted the event’s pivotal role in positioning the city as a benchmark for innovation and the celebration of tech events, and reaffirmed their pride in hosting such a prestigious gathering.

A few hours earlier, Juan Luis Hortelano kicked off the event, underscoring the role of VDS in promoting the Valencian Community as a leader in today’s social and economic landscape.

Innovation in the fields of mobility and ports

Exploring key sectors of the Valencian economy, a variety of thematic side-events took place within the framework of Valencia Digital Summit. Notably, SMV, organised by AVIA as part of Mobility Innovation Valencia, the innovation area of the Automotive and Mobility Cluster of the Valencia Region. The event brought together the entire innovative ecosystem in the field of intelligent and sustainable mobility.

Opentop also hosted the Port Entrepreneurship International Congress within VDS2023. Throughout the morning, this forum witnessed presentations and round table discussions analysing the current challenges and opportunities of port logistics, deliberating over innovation in the sector and the blue economy, sharing success stories, such as i4sea, and exploring the strategies used by key figures in the sector to grow hand in hand with the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Antonio Torregrosa, Managing Director at the Valenciaport Foundation, presented the conclusions of the congress and the roadmap to promote innovation in the sector.

International startup competition

Valencia Digital Summit 2023 announced the winners of its International Startup Competition during the closing ceremony of the event. Ender Turing secured victory in the Seed category, while Cafler triumphed in the Growth category.

Ender Turing. A company specialising in enhancing call centre operations by accelerating quality control processes, providing guidance to agents, and ensuring high customer satisfaction.

Cafler. A marketplace for professional drivers offering a variety of car-related services.

The winners were awarded various prizes, including an exhibition space for the 2024 edition of the Valencia Digital Summit, and will have the opportunity to leverage the networking and business promotion opportunities provided by an international event like VDS. 

A distinguished jury made up of high-level investors and global business leaders was tasked with selecting the winners. Quantic Brains, Autoscriber, Legitify, Spendbase, Welii, Zim Connections, Beynex and Bridgewise completed the shortlist of 10 finalists. 

These innovative tech projects were chosen from an initial selection of 50 startups, originating from a pool of over 600 submissions representing 48 different countries.

Of the 10 finalists in the VDS2023 international startup competition, only two were Spanish, namely Cafler from Barcelona and Quantic Brains from Madrid. The remaining six represented various European countries, including the Netherlands (Autoscriber), Ireland (Legitify), Estonia (Ender Turing), Ukraine (Spendbase), France (Welii) and England (Zim Connections). Additionally, Beynex from Turkey and Bridgewise from Israel added to the international diversity.

Furthermore, of the Top 50 startups that also participated in VDS2023, a significant 71 percent were from outside Spain. Specifically, only 14 of those selected were of Spanish origin. The United States led the representation with 12 percent of the startups, closely followed by the United Kingdom and France, each contributing 8 percent to the top 50 count. The Latin American region accounted for 6 percent. Overall, the competition garnered an impressive 600 applications from 48 different countries, underscoring its global reach and appeal.

About VDS2023

For its sixth edition, the event collaborated with prominent organisations including Banco Santander, HP, Damm, Opentop, EY, AVIA, DreamHack, Elewit, Wayra, Burda Principal Investments, Argentine Investment and International Trade Promotion Agency, Mobility Innovation Valencia, Banco Sabadell, CaixaBank, ADEIT, and GoHub Ventures. Furthermore, it enjoyed substantial support from the Government of Spain, the Generalitat Valenciana (Regional Government of Valencia), Diputación de Valencia (Provincial Government of Valencia),  and the Valencia City Council, and was funded by the European Union through NextGeneration EU funds.

During the week of VDS2023, the city was transformed into the global epicentre of innovation, solidifying the Valencian ecosystem’s position on the world stage. The event shined a spotlight on regional startups, such as Igenomix, PLD Space, Zeleros, Voicemod, Quibim, Internxt, Sesame, ClimateTrade, Sales Layer, ARTHEx Biotech, Fourvenues, and many more.

In the last few years, this international summit has experienced exponential growth: since its inaugural edition in 2018, it has witnessed a 1,500 percent increase in the number of attendees. This growth has played a crucial role in establishing the Valencian tech and innovation ecosystem as the third largest in the country in terms of investment volume, with over 1,200 startups and an investment of over €700 million in recent years.

About Startup Valencia

Startup Valencia is a private non-profit organisation that, since 2017, has represented and promoted the Valencian tech and innovation ecosystem with the aim of turning the region into an internationally recognised tech hub.

The entity has grown to include over 350 members and enjoys the support of GoHub Ventures (Global Omnium), BStartup (Banco Sabadell), Wayra (Grupo Telefónica), Elewit (Redeia, Grupo Red Eléctrica), Zeus, Plug and Play, HP, Helloprint, BBVA Spark, Fresh People, Tbig Finance, Marina de Empresas and Banco Santander as Partners; and Transparent Edge, Sales Layer, DWF-RCD, Damm, Aktion, Voicemod, Google for Startups, Sesame, Zubi Labs, OVHcloud, Opentop (Valenciaport Innovation Hub), Internxt and Next Tier Ventures as Supporters.

For further information:

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