• Fourth edition of the Founders Festival sold out
  • 140 Speakers and 240 Table Captains
  •  Highlight-Speaker Kevin Spacey and Richard Branson


From September 25 – 27, the fourth edition of Bits & Pretzels was held under the motto “from founders for founders”. 5.000 participants gathered in the International Congress Center in Munich for the largest founder festival within the German internet and digital economy scene. The participants included market leaders such as Uber, Airbnb, Mozilla, Home24 and many more. With around 1.500 more participants attending, the interest in the event was even more overwhelming than last year. The event raised within three years from a small breakfast meeting for founders of the Munich startup scene to one of the most considerable events in the digital sector.

Following the stunning opening speech of the Oscar-winning actor and startup investor Kevin Spacey, round about 140 speakers presented their companies and business models on six stages and discussed trends, as well as the future of the digital economy and startup scene.

“Bits & Pretzels 2016 was a complete success! To get from 80 to 5,000 participants in just three years and to achieve such a large and mostly global media attention is an accomplishment we would never have dared to dream of, ” says Bernd Storm van’s Gravesande, Co-Founder & Host of Bits & Pretzels.

A highlight of this year’s Bits & Pretzels was the opening speech of Hollywood star Kevin Spacey on the main stage, in which he was telling the audience in an entertaining and theatrical speech about the importance of storytelling in the foundation of a company. He again took the role of Francis J. “Frank” Underwood from the series “House of Cards” and thus inspired the attendees. Afterwards, Spacey took questions from Mike Butcher, editor of TechCrunch.

Another highlight of the event was the visit of the successful British entrepreneur and Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson who met in traditional Bavarian outfit with the top international journalist Kara Swisher (founder and editor-in-chief of Recode) on stage for a Q&A session. The hall was filled to the last seat and the attending entrepreneurs learned more about the life and impressive career of the flagship entrepreneur and billionaire from the United Kingdom.

Video- Interview: Hakan Koç, Auto1’s CEO

Video- Interview: Gregor Gimmy, BMW Startup Garage

Further speakers on the main stage include Nathan Blecharczyk (Co-Founder & CTO Airbnb), Mitchell Baker (Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation & Corporation), Tony Fadell (co- creator of the iPod), the investors of the German TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen”, Judith Williams, Carsten Maschmeyer, Frank Thelen and Jochen Schweizer and many other high- profile CEOs and founders.

Felix Haas, Chairman & Co-Host of Bits & Pretzels: “We are very pleased that with Kevin Spacey and Richard Branson two well-known speakers as well as many other very successful international entrepreneurs and investors followed our invitation to Munich.”

Moreover, after two days of exciting pitches, the winner of the Google Startup Pitch was announced on the main stage. With her startup Spottster from the event cluster Future Commerce, Freya Oehle convinced the eight-headed jury and won among others a visit to Richard Branson’s Virgin Islands.

The third day of the event was dedicated to networking. All the participants gathered at the renowned Oktoberfest using the same tried and true networking concept with “Table Captains” in one of the famous beer tents. The young founders and investors connected in a relaxed atmosphere with beer and chicken.

Beside the stage program the conference provided many opportunities for an exchange of ideas and knowledge: Whether it was at the exclusive speaker’s dinner on the first evening of the conference in the Munich Residence or at the official Bits & Pretzels Afterparty on the Praterinsel – Munich’s famous Isar river island.

Andreas Bruckschlögl, Co-Founder & Host of Bits & Pretzels: “As we want to improve the event each year we started with the first preparations for Bits & Pretzels 2017 directly the day after the event last week. We started selling 500 Crazy Bird tickets which were sold out in only 29 minutes. It pleases us incredibly that our participants were so excited right after the event and already bought a ticket for next year.”

Facts and numbers:

  • Number of visitors: 5.000
  • Attendees from more than 80 nations
  • Journalists: 400
  • Startups: 3.100
  • Students: 600
  • Investors: 350
  • Corporates: 550

Save the Dates Bits & Pretzels 2017: Sept 24-26, 2017!

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