Discover the Rising Titan: How Collision Is Redefining the Tech Conference and Captivating Brands Worldwide
Collision Conference 2023
Earning a reputation comparable to RSA, CES, and SXSW, Collision is recognized for its rapid acceleration, dynamic community initiatives, and lasting impact among activators and attendees.
Collision Conference has become a beacon for the world’s leading technology companies and professionals, offering unparalleled opportunities for brands to activate and technologists to thrive. I attended Collision for the first time this year and noted what sets this conference apart, how it shapes the future of technology, and why leading brands should pay attention.
Meet Collision Conference
Since launching in 2015, Collision has become one of North America’s “most important technology marketplaces,” connecting tech companies, speakers, and industry experts from around the world in onstage discussions, networking sessions, and deal-making meetings.
In 2023, the conference returned to Toronto and brought together more than 36,000 attendees (41 percent of whom identify as women) from 118 countries. In attendance: 1,490 startups, 920 journalists, 865 investors, and 230 partners—all ready for the action.
Powered by Web Summit, Collision is touted as “the coolest tech conference on the planet” and “tech’s carnival for entrepreneurs” by BuzzFeed and BNN Bloomberg. The event has featured luminary speakers like Susan Herman, President, ACLU; author Margaret Atwood; actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds; Brad Smith, President, Microsoft; and many others.
The conference partners with global blue chip businesses like AWS, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft and new companies making big waves, such as Stripe, Trello, Uber, and GitLab. Content topics cover more than 15 industry tracks for the tech leaders tackling the industry's biggest challenges today, from data science MedTech to AutoTech and environmental sustainability.
Collision's innovative scale system categorizes attendees into Alpha (seed-stage startups), Beta (early-stage startups), and Growth (growth-stage startups). This system allows startups to connect with like-minded peers and industry leaders, fostering meaningful connections and potential partnerships.
Startups participate in the annual contest, PITCH, which brings together leading early-stage startups for a series of live, on-stage pitching battles. Syzl, a fast-growing platform aiming to revolutionize the food industry by connecting food makers with underutilized commercial kitchen spaces, was crowned the PITCH winner for 2023.
Around the perimeter of the show floor, curtains opened to vibrant LED stages where speakers delivered keynotes and joined in discussions around dozens of topics. Unsurprisingly, the leading topic for 2023 was AI.
Web Summit has celebrated rapid growth and increasing attendance at Collision, and the event’s massive scale enhances visibility, influence, and impact for participating brands. Surrounded by a culture of innovation and multiculturalism in the heart of Toronto, Collision attracts international attendees and fosters cross-cultural exchange between attendees.
Not Your Average Tech Conference
Like the RSAs, CESes, and SXSWs of the world, Collision gives technology companies a place to activate their brands, announce new products, and acquire new talent and partners. But today’s attendees and event leaders are hungry for something new, exciting, memorable, shareable, and innovative.
Collision Conference delivers. Focused on action, Collision empowers the next generation of tech innovators through special initiatives. This dedication is evident through its PITCH program and its Impact Startup program, which celebrates emerging companies within the Collision network that are dedicated to making the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) achievable.
The Impact Startup program is a platform to showcase startups striving to positively impact their communities, industries, and ecosystems. By recognizing these startups, Collision introduces them to leading investors, companies, and media, providing them invaluable exposure and opportunities. The program's focus on selecting impact startups based on alignment with the UN’s SDGs - 17 goals demonstrates Collision's dedication to fostering a better world through technological innovation. Collision defines Impact Startups based on four factors:
- Pursuing one or more of the SDGs through their operations
- Adapting enterprise objectives to be more sustainable
- Solving industry problems that could have a far-reaching effect
- Prioritizing social collaboration and idea-sharing over competition and profit
Community Engagement for the Future of Tech
At Collision Conference, the emphasis on community is at the core of its mission. Building on a legacy of Web Summit events, Collision deeply values the diversity of its communities. The conference takes pride in collaborating with local partners, bringing together a range of individuals, including political figures, cultural icons, and business leaders, who address the societal challenges of our time.
Recognizing the importance of inclusivity, Collision actively seeks partnerships with nonprofit organizations to foster a diverse and equitable space for all attendees. Collision collaborates with various organizations through special ticket initiatives to facilitate roundtable discussions, networking opportunities among like-minded peers, and enriching masterclasses. Community partners include community groups or meetups for entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts, global networks of individuals striving to make an impact, universities and colleges representing diverse academic disciplines, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to making a positive difference. Notable participants from the 2023 conference include Girl MOVE Academy, LSE Generate, and Black Innovation Alliance.
Event Equity through Special Initiatives
Collision's commitment to inclusivity extends to its special ticketing initiatives, which provide significant discounts ranging from 90% to 100% for underrepresented communities, fostering equal access and opportunities within the tech industry.
- Women in Tech: Collision offers a 90 percent discount to its Women in Tech network. The initiative promotes gender diversity during the event and empowers women globally by facilitating networking opportunities, designing mentorship programs, and nurturing a community of women technologists. In 2023, 41 percent of attendees at Collision identified as women, highlighting Web Summit’s commitment to achieving balanced representation.
- Scholarship Program: The tech industry evolves through fresh perspectives, and Collision’s scholarship program brings together 300 young people—students and recent graduates—who aspire to contribute to shaping the future. The program provides accepted applicants full access to the conference while empowering them to drive personal and professional growth through new connections.
- Developers: Collision extends its appreciation to the open-source community by granting complimentary conference passes to their network’s most active developers and contributors. Approved applicants immerse themselves in many experiences at Collision, including hundreds of talks, access to a private Developer Lounge, developer-focused masterclasses, roundtables, and networking sessions.
- Indigenous Attendee Program: Collision aims to foster respectful relationships with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada by highlighting the tech expertise of Indigenous entrepreneurs. The Indigenous Attendee Program contributes to a more equitable tech ecosystem by granting complimentary conference passes, including access to all ancillary events.
Why Should Leading Tech Brands Activate at Collision?
Both brands and attendees are hungry for new experiences, and as we approach 2024, we can anticipate new experiments, ideas, and concepts to take the stage. Third-party events are one area in particular where brands are looking for innovation. While RSA, C2 Montreal, Coachella, and SXSW have been the most popular tentpole events in third-party portfolios, there is an increasing demand for new options. Clients want events that exceed expectations, and Collision delivers.
Having closely followed Collision for some time, Kim Kopetz, President and COO of The Opus Group, expresses her perspective on the event, highlighting the anticipation and interest built around it.
“Brands are searching for innovation in their third-party events,” explains Kim Kopetz, President and COO of The Opus Group. “While RSA, C2 Montreal, Coachella, and SXSW have been leading tentpole events in third-party portfolios, there is a growing demand for new options. Clients are looking for visionary events beyond the most expected ones. Collision has become a can’t-miss industry event, and the world’s leading brands have taken notice.”
Tech companies that activate at Collision receive unparalleled brand exposure and awareness. With its international media coverage and global reach, companies have the opportunity to capture the attention of key stakeholders, potential investors, and target audiences on a massive scale.
Collision’s diverse audience of tech enthusiasts, investors, and industry professionals provides an opportunity for customer acquisition and engagement. Companies showcase their products through live demos and interactive exhibits, engaging directly with potential buyers.
Moreover, Collision is a talent magnet, attracting the world’s most highly skilled professionals and the hungriest recruiters. Activating companies tap into a pool of top talent actively seeking new career opportunities. Collision offers networking events, job fairs, and other platforms for talent recruitment and retention, enabling companies to build talent and diverse teams.
The event industry thrives on the power of peer influence and fast followership. Yet, the true catalyst for success lies in the willingness to take bold risks and venture into uncharted territories. It can be daunting to step outside the realm of familiarity, especially when financial prudence is paramount and the status quo provides event leaders a sense of comfortability.
But the winds of change are blowing, and innovation is gaining momentum. Activating at Collision Conference presents leading technology companies with immense opportunities for brand exposure, customer acquisition and engagement, and talent recruitment and retention—all within a deliberately diverse and catalyzed environment. The conference's extensive media coverage, global reach, diverse attendee base, and talent-focused initiatives make it an ideal platform to elevate a brand’s event portfolio.
Collision Conference has emerged as the ultimate technology activation hub, bringing together global leaders, innovative startups, and industry enthusiasts. Its unique initiatives, such as community partnerships, women in tech empowerment, scholarships, developer appreciation, Indigenous inclusion, delegations, job opportunities, and impact startup recognition, set it apart from its competitors. As the tech world continues to evolve, Collision stands as a beacon of inspiration, fostering connections and propelling the future of technology in Toronto and beyond.
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