The second international Magnetic Latvia Technology conference Deep Tech Atelier, organized by The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) and held in Riga during April 12- 13, is expected to bring in over 700 attendees from 26 countries. The event includes an extensive practical and educational programme, gathering together science-based startups, research organisations, entrepreneurs, industry and government institution representatives, and technology fans in one place. The Baltic Times sat down with Edgars Babris, Director of Technology Department at Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) to speak about the event.
Could you speak a little about the history of the second international Magnetic Latvia Technology conference Deep Tech Atelier?
Magnetic Latvia Technology conference Deep Tech Atelier (DTA) is a good example of how representatives from government and industry can listen to each other and in close cooperation create and develop a new initiative.
The Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA) was supporting annual the Ignition Event organized by the Commercialization Reactor for many years until both sides understood that it is time to grow and attract both - representatives from global industries and investors, as well as to invite authors of scientific technologies to create their projects here in Latvia. DTA was created as a practical annual international cooperation platform and results from the first event in 2018 clearly confirmed that there is connection and interest, because more than 500 attendees from 8 countries participated.
What is so special about this year's conference?
This year continues to delight because there is an unexpectedly wide range of participants, the geography of the event has grown to 26 countries, 24% of attendees have applied as start-ups, 11% are academicians, 13% are representatives from different industries, as well as investors, accelerators, students, government representatives, and many others.
How many top-seed science-based start-up companies will participate? Can you mention some of the names, please?
First of all, it is important to mention that we expect 10 - 15 new deep tech start-up teams to be created during two days of the Commercialization Reactor's 13th Ignition Event, where presented scientific technologies will be matched with business competence, respectively business leaders, who are ready to create a new business, will join scientists. Every attendee during DTA will have a chance to watch the semi-finals and finals of the start-up competition. The list of participants is available: https://deeptechatelier.liaa.gov.lv/start-up-competition/. Special attention should be paid to the VeritaCell team which was created during the DTA last year when Latvian entrepreneurs joined scientific ideas created by UK scientists and by working hard in a 43 startup team competition could already get into the semi-finals this year.
Could you speak about the line-up of keynote speakers at the conference? Were you able to attract some big names?
The conference is practical, but we are going to have an inspiring and informative opening. We are proud that economist and author of international bestsellers Dr. Kjell Anders Nordström and Benjamin Joffe, innovation leader with tremendous experience, partner at HAX, the world’s top accelerator, polyglot who will be in Latvia for the first time and is open for talks and questions throughout the conference, will take part in the event.
As far as I know, there are quite a few otherwell-known pan-Baltic high-tech events. What sets your conference apart?
We think Deep Tech Atelier has taken a free niche because besides start-up festivals and IT industry conferences of various scale, only Life Sciences Baltics in the region performs this difficult task of “marrying” scientists with entrepreneurs. Deep Tech Atelier wants to specialize in deep tech or the deep science area and to stand out with practical results - i.e. annually create new startups, promote commercialization, establish new companies in Latvia. It should be emphasized that due to tradition, the Commercialization Reactor experience, Latvia and Riga is the gate through which Europe can access post-soviet scientific technologies, whose development often lacks motivated business teams.
What is the message you want to convey to all the participants of the Magnetic Latvia Conference? 7 What do you see as the added value from participating in the event?
Organizers of the conference want to invite the participants to come and to get to know the deep tech field and make sure that it can be exciting and accessible to a wider range of audience members than it seems initially. A chance to become a founder of a deep-tech start-up and develop a science-based business is one of the added values of DTA.
Could you please speak about the thirteenth Commercialization Reactor Ignition Event that will be held within the framework of the conference?
The Ignition Event is a matchmaking event during which world-class scientists present their validated innovative inventions to an audience of potential entrepreneurs, who examine the commercialization potential of these scientific achievements. We bring together the worlds of entrepreneurship and science to enable startup creation based on the Commercialization reactor’s validated Science Commercialization Methodology. The entrepreneurs become the business leaders and scientists keep building the scientific excellence and core value of the newly formed venture.
The Commercialization Reactor ensures a full cycle opportunity for ambitious and smart entrepreneurs to merge with the pre-selected world-class scientific teams. After teams have been successfully formed, future startups will receive free pre-acceleration support from Commercialization Reactor and become eligible for the acceleration program, with up to 50,000 EUR of pre-seed investment and possible opportunity to obtain a follow-up seed investment of 250,000 EUR.
Is there anything else you'd like to emphasize?
Deep Tech Atelier has all the likelihood of becoming the most important deep tech event in its region and creating Riga as an internationally recognized deep tech start-up hub.