Collision Conference – Everything You Need to Know

We can’t wait to attend this first ever Toronto based Collision Conference later this month! The Collision Conference is the brainchild of WebSummit Founder Paddy Cosgrave and it’s already known as the single fastest-growing tech conference in North America. As we enter the fifth year of the event, Collision has grown to over 25,000 attendees and this year Winfooz is going to be one of them, so make sure you stop us and say hello. As a sister event to the behemoth that is WebSummit, Collision has become a crossroads for the world’s largest buyers and sellers of technology, alongside many of the world’s most disruptive emerging technology companies.

Looking at what others have said we can see that Inc. has said they run “North America’s fastest-growing tech conference”;
The Wall Street Journal that “the giants of the web assemble” at Collision;
USA Today that Collision is “the anti-CES”. Big praise indeed, but what do you need to know about the big event? Let’s take a look…

When is it on?

First thing first, this years event is taking place between May 20th and 23rd!

We are genuinely very excited to attend their first conference in Toronto and luckily the cold weather of recent weeks should be a thing of the past. Not only is this a great opportunity to showcase the best of TorontoTech but it’s also going to be a fantastic opportunity for tourism for the area. That means they need to get the location right from the get go.

Where is it on?

This year’s event and their first since the Collision Conferences relocation is going to be held in the Enercare centre in Toronto. The four-day international conference is going to take place across six stages, with sectors including AI, automated and connected vehicles, data, security, design, investment, software development, marketing, music and sustainability.

We are thrilled to welcome Collision to Enercare Centre in 2019/2020/2021. Securing Collision was a truly collaborative effort by Enercare Centre, Tourism Toronto, City of Toronto, Toronto Board of Trade, and the Toronto and regional tech community with the support of the Provincial and Federal Governments; and builds on the existing strength of Toronto’s dynamic tech ecosystem

Councillor Mark Grimes, Chair, Board of Governors of Exhibition Place.

The event space itself is going to be an ideal location that already attracts over 5.5million visitors per year. It sits on a 192-acre site, that’s considered an integral component of Toronto and Ontario’s economy, particularly with respect to conventions, sport, festivals, recreation, culture and tourism. Exhibition Place boasts the award-winning, LEED Gold Enercare Centre; Canada’s largest exhibition and convention centre. Since 2004, Exhibition Place has undertaken an environmental stewardship initiative, entitled GREENSmart; which includes the promotion of sustainable development, environmental initiatives and leading-edge green technologies and practices across the site.

Why the location change?

You would be forgiven for thinking they would take the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it manta” but that’s not how Paddy Cosgrave and Co. roll.

Their first event in Las Vegas back in 2014 was a rip roaring success with about 5,000 attendees but the company being the conference has sought to build Collision to the point where it’s a rival for both SXSW Interactive and CES.

The story goes that Chief Exec Paddy Cosgrave was actually approached by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau about the moving the event to Canada and it seems like his pitch worked a charm.

As we mentioned, this years event is going to be held in the Enercare Centre which is the seventh largest convention facility in North America. The event is going to be held over six stages and they are expecting more than 90,000 attendees. Those numbers along show why the move from Vegas to Toronto via New Orleans just had to happen.

Not only that but it’s estimated the event will have an impact on the local economy to the tune of $147 million over a three year period. Indeed the figures stack up but more interestingly again is the fact that in Trump era America, more and more business’ are flocking to Canada,

In Montreal alone, as much as $600 million worth of investment flowed into the tech sector in 2017, up from just $200 million in 2015, according to the economic development firm Montreal International.

“New Orleans, Collision’s home for three years, is a very special town, but as Collision grows we needed to find a bigger base with more global connectivity. I believe that Canada and Toronto have lived to some extent in the technology shadow of America. But that’s changing and changing fast,”

Paddy Cosgrave

Toronto is a shining example of how Canada is becoming a new global tech hub, with a number of startups the city is fast becoming a hub for new tech such as AI with research centres such as the Vector Institute. The city has also landed on Amazon’s short list for a second headquarters, and its waterfront was chosen by Sidewalks Labs, the unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc., to test new urban technologies.

Last but not least, when you think about the organisers you have to think about the bottom line. This move is going to a huge earner for the company, we have already seen with WebSummit that they showed rerecord profits in 2016, the year in which it first ran the tech conference in Lisbon following its controversial move from Dublin.

A Bit of History

You may or may not know this but moving locations for growth is something the guys behind WebSummit know a bit about. Initially, WebSummit was held in the RDS in Dublin, Ireland but in 2016, due to issues with Wi-Fi at the venue, issues with local government and the ability to scale at a much higher rate led them to move their conference to Lisbon, Portugal.

Before the move, WebSummit was already considered one of the biggest tech events in the calendar but since their relocation, they are now thought of as the tech conference. What’s to say this won’t be the case again?

Whose Presenting?

Regardless of where or when a conference is held, the most important thing is the speakers, right? They are the ones who put bums in seats and make people open their wallets to attend. With that in mind, the team behind the Collision Conference have put together a whopper bill of brilliant speakers who we personally cannot wait to see. Here’s five speakers we are looking forward to hearing from:

Max Levchin: Founder & CEO of Affirm, a financial services technology company, co-founder and Chairman of Glow, a data-driven fertility company, and co-founder and general partner at SciFi VC, a private venture capital firm. All three companies were created and launched from his San Francisco based innovation lab, HVF (Hard, Valuable, Fun). Max is also a co-founder of Paypal, and the co-creator of the Gausebeck-Levchin test, one of the first commercial implementations of a CAPTCHA challenge response human test.

Rosanna Myers: Rosanna is the co-founder and CEO of Carbon Robotics, which makes low-cost advanced robotic arms and intelligent control software. She got her start rebuilding race cars and now her company has been recognized for their groundbreaking work in robotics.

Carsten Breitfeld: Carsten co-founded BYTON in 2016 and the EV startup expects to start deliveries of its first production vehicle – the M-Byte – in late 2019. He previously spent 20 years at BMW including overseeing the development of the groundbreaking i8 EV.

Falon Fatemi: Previously the youngest employee at Google, Falon Fatemi is the Founder and CEO of Node.io, the first AI-powered discovery engine connecting people with opportunity at massive scale. She has been featured in CNBC, Bloomberg, Inc. and more.

Jager McConnell: Jager is the CEO of Crunchbase, the leading platform used by millions of entrepreneurs and investors looking to discover innovative companies and the people behind them. Jager joined Crunchbase as it became a venture-backed startup in enterprise.

Looking Ahead

So now we know when, where, why and who is going to be showing their stuff at this years Collision Conference. We cannot wait to be apart of their inaugural Canadian event and if you bump into any of our team at the event, say hi, we would love to chat and network. As someone who has attended WebSummit in both Ireland and Lisbon I can say this with honesty, these guys know how to run an event. It’s an exciting time to tech startups in Canada and we hope we can all ride the crest of a wave of positivety that we will inevitably be left post-event.


See you all there!