Digital Festival attracts 2,500 delegates

More than 2,500 technology professionals, entrepreneurs and investors attended the two-day Digital Festival at the Wales Millenium Centre last week.

Sponsored by fintech giant GoCompare, the event saw a range of world-class digital leaders deliver talks, including a Silicon Valley legend looking to invest in Welsh tech firms.

Keith Tear built and sold European internet service provider Easynet before moving to California to set up RealNames Corporation. Valued at $1.5 billion, the technology was later embedded into Microsoft software.

Currently serving as executive chair of Accelerated Digital Venture, Keth said: “We’re a £200m fund and our remit is to send 80% of our funding to the regions, like Cardiff.

“We get thousands of applications every year for funding but the single biggest thing missing thing in every application is vision.  What does this look like when it works? What are you aiming for? The second thing is execution.

“So if you can combine thinking big-vision with acting small-execution that persuades an investor that you can do this. And three – don’t get ahead of yourself, don’t think you’ve succeeded before you have.”

David Rowan, who is the founding editor of Wired UK, also conducted a keynote speech on the main stage. He’s currently travelling the world to explore different models of innovation. He told the audience: “Things will never move this slowly again”.

“You thought you were a particular kind of business, but if you break off a little bit and grow that, that could be where your future is at.

“Qantas made a record loss – $5bn – a few years ago. They had one good part, the loyalty programme where they have half of the population of Australia in it.

“So they now build businesses on top of this, coming up with new products and prototypes.  They’ve come up with a health insurance business, a golf club, a food delivery business and more.  It now accounts for 30% of the profits and by 2022 it’ll be bigger than the rest of the business.”

David Warrender, CEO of event organiser Innovation Point, added: “Now in its sixth year, the Digital Festival has grown delegate numbers to well over 2,000 people with visitors from as far afield as the USA, Japan, China and Ghana.

“Innovation Point continues with its core work of helping tech companies to find growth funding in areas such as 5G, Cyber, and supports tech innovators and entrepreneurs within the Welsh digital economy.

“The tech market is competitive and global but Digital Festival continues to open up great opportunities for this region.  That’s a good story for us all.”