Last week I volunteered my PR organisational skills to assist at the The Europas, TechCrunch’s annual awards for start-up technology companies. It proved a great place for PR consultants to network and find out about emerging technologies that can be used towards effective public  relations, corporate communications and reputation management.

The TechCrunch Europas are at the forefront of raising awareness and elevating the profile of unknown brands touting cool, new technology.  The event started with a bang as Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch rode into the Carbon Bar on the back of a Harley Davidson motorbike, wowing the 500-strong crowd —a real who’s who of Europe’s start-up scene – including VCs, angel investors, PR companies and of course, technology start-ups.

The event itself was more of a networking do, with everyone knowing everyone in this community of like-minded people. It was all about helping each other and promoting goals through knowledge-sharing. There was even a short welcome video recorded by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who encouraged start-ups to set up operations in the city.

It’s a great place for PR professionals to learn more about upcoming technology that can assist with providing digital PR services to clients; but it’s also a great way to meet interesting companies. Although many of these companies will have limited (if any) PR budgets, they are interesting and may someday grow into the Facebooks, Spotifys and Twitters of the world, so are definitely “ones to watch”. Of course, Firefly has a rich legacy with start-ups, having worked with bebo and launched and Give as you Live.

The awards were the highlight of the event, with winners determined through public voting and expert judges. The coveted Grand Prix award went to PeerIndex, the social ranking service, who showed market traction against larger competitors despite fewer resources, and demonstrated a clear appeal to both business and consumer customers. UK companies such as Conversocial, Pusher, OneFineStay and Mixcloud took home coveted prizes and there was also a clear sign that start-up innovation remained strong across Europe. Start-ups from Berlin (Amen, EyeEm, 6Wunderkinder), Belgrade (Nordeus), Copenhagen (Podio), Stockholm (iZettle) and Helsinki (Rovio, AngryBirds) won in their category or were highly commended.

Tech entrepreneurship is alive and well across Europe. While Silicon Valley is the undisputed home of tech industry behemoths, European tech start-ups are grabbing every opportunity to reach global markets. The awards were described by Ben Rooney in The Wall Street Journal as, “(a) bit chaotic, all a bit of a seat-of-your-pants thing, but executed with huge amounts of energy,
enormous good will and mutual support.”

In my view, there is no better summary for tech start-up culture, itself.

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