A New Kind of Procurement Conference and an Exciting Opportunity for Start-Ups

There’s a new event entering the European procurement conference playground this September – Digital Procurement World. It’s the brainchild of Matthias Gutzmann (formerly of Vizibl and Procurement Leaders) and we are supporting it because we believe it is innovative and rather exciting.

Digital Procurement World takes place this September in Amsterdam, marking the inaugural event in what is anticipated to be an annual programme. It’s different from many other procurement conferences because it will bring together the largest ensemble of digital procurement leaders ever to grace one venue, alongside representatives from the entire digital procurement ecosystem: from the big tech firms to start-ups, VCs/investors, industry analysts, media and press, and of course, CPOs and procurement practitioners from every sector of the industry.

The event promises attendees a completely new and exciting experience, so what does that entail?

Across two days, it has set itself the goal of attracting the leading voices and subject matter experts in digital procurement to discuss the latest trends, technologies, and best and worst practices. But that’s not what sets it apart – it is sprinkling the event with a bit of magic from another wand. For example, it has organised a hands-on ‘hackathon’ where designers, developers and programmers of yet-to-be-invented procurement technology solutions can get to be creative – an exciting opportunity and more on that to come later. Among its keynotes, breakouts and networking opportunities it has created interactive learning labs where, again, innovation will be the on the agenda. More on this to come too, but what really attracted our interest, and the theme for this article, is the Start-up Accelerator Programme it has put in place – called RiSE.

To find out how this works and how the idea came about, we had first to go back to the origins of the vision for the conference: so we talked to Matthias.

Filling the Start-Up Gap in Procurement Conferences

As marketing and business development director at Vizibl, he was tasked with creating and organising conferences to showcase their new product to CPOs. During this time, it became apparent to him that there existed no affordable, yet prominent platform for start-ups from which to display their wares. Equally, he noted, nowhere were there any investors in the mix of procurement-related conferences and events, to give feedback on the viability and potential funding of the product or service in the market.

As we know, start-ups have the creativity (and agility) to engage with and positively impact businesses’ competitiveness – they are inventing the future, we could say. Nevertheless, “it’s rare to get investors and start-ups in the same room at a conference,” said Matthias. Hence his idea to introduce that opportunity to Digital Procurement World.

He identified a threefold gap in the procurement conference market:

  • A need for procurement to calibrate the arena for start-ups – to make the conference more inclusive
  • The addition of some sparkle to the traditional procurement conference – to create a new attendee experience, where the magic doesn’t only happen during the evening event
  • A laser-like emphasis on the kind of ‘Quality’ content that feed an event’s growth

So DPW has produced a showcase arena for genuinely young start-ups (the more unique the better) with the ability to demonstrate how they can add value to procurement. They will be given:

  • An opportunity to demonstrate their viable product or service (not just an idea) on the keynote stage to CPOs and investors, but in 5 minutes, using no supporting materials – a real, live demo
  • A demo kiosk in Start-up Alley, a centrally located exhibition area
  • Dedicated sessions with investors

To add to the fun, these will form the basis for a competition too. There will be a substantial prize for the winning start-up, perhaps monetary, perhaps a sponsorship package – that is to be decided.

But the start-up programme goes far beyond the walls of the conference; it offers the chance to receive training, for example, on pitching to organisations, or connecting up with experts, in order to help accelerate their presence in the market and help them grow.

“We see our job as facilitating start-up meetings with CPOs, investors and others, to give start-ups a voice and a platform to speak from, to give them an opportunity to meet their peers and competitors in the market, and devising an opportunity for CPOs to meet and become more aware of the innovators in market with whom they could choose to partner. We believe our event will become the number one, and only, event on the planet to engineer this,” said Matthias.

There is space for 20 start-ups in this programme, split into two categories: early-stage start-ups and growth-stage start-ups (see the website here for definitions of those). But, Matthias assures us, for those that apply, even if they are not selected to join the top 20, it will be a worthwhile endeavour for them. They will become part of the DPW start-up community and promoted to a host of procurement professionals. “They can see us as their free marketing channel.” But there is an end date for applications – so do enquire quickly.

Clearly, this is a commercial venture, so there is a (very reasonable and, in our opinion, value-for-money) fee associated with this opportunity. See a comprehensive list of FAQs here to answer all your questions related to the start-up programme and other conference-related topics.

Of course there are more attractions at the conference, as we said earlier, but they are for another post. In the meantime, full details are here.

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