Why we decided to finally do a conference...

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This time last week we at Bridgemaker had just launched our very first conference in the historic hall of Berlin's ewerk. We named it the BOLD Conference, because we wanted to capture the excitement, energy, and sense of mission we felt when we began Bridgemaker more than 3 years ago. We also wanted to highlight why we founded a startup to build other startups – to bring a bit of boldness and risk taking to the corporate world of Europe and to revolutionize growth.

While we’ve grown to become a team of over 100 employees and built over 10 ventures together with our partners, we still see ourselves as entrepreneurs who believe in taking big bets to create business models that will scale. We don’t have much time for conferences, and doing one ourselves wasn’t high on our agenda for a long time. But after some prodding, it became clear we could offer something of real value to our clients, partners and friends: a small format for all of us to come together to discuss our experiences, exchange best practices, learn from each other, and get inspired.

We wanted to answer the questions we are asked most often when building new ventures, especially among family-run businesses and SMEs:

How big should I think?
Do I need to build a business model that will disrupt my core business?
What’s the relationship between the new venture and parent company?
How do I use the competitive advantages of the parent company to help scale a new venture?
And what kind of people do I need to scale a new business?

Not only is technology driving companies to change, but a renewed focus on values around environmental and social issues like inequality and diversity. You must have purpose as well as profit. Therefore, many companies will have to reinvent themselves and do so with increasing speed in the coming years. This will require not only a new attitude toward innovation, but also courage and boldness to fundamentally rethink business.

We were thrilled to have welcomed so many participants and speakers to discuss these issues with us and have been absolutely blown away by the feedback so far. A special thanks to Annet Aris, Leonhard Fischer, Florian Langenscheidt, Thomas Jarzombek, Helmut Söhler, Patrick Wirth, and Sam Conniff for taking the stage to provide their perspective. And to Ann-Sophie Reinelt, Markus Maiwald, Kai Vogt, and Thomas Knoop for leading our break-out sessions. A particular thanks also to Cherno Jobatey for moderating the entire conference.


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