Positive feedback from tech summit
Organisers of the third annual International Tech Summit in Bermuda have hailed the growing level of international and local interest in the island’s burgeoning fintech sector.
The week-long summit, held this month, featured a conference having 46 speakers and panellists, and attracted 200 in-person attendees as well as 1,000 registrants.
In addition to the conference that explored how Bermuda’s regulations and sandbox environment are providing the perfect base of operations for blockchain-enabled companies, the event also included a fintech education day that attracted 60 participants and a start-up pitch contest featuring 16 founders.
Panels and events covered a wide range of topics, including digital adoption, decentralised finance, crypto currency, custody and insurance, privacy and identity, and sustainability.
Kerem Kolcuoglu is the managing partner of organisers Penrose Partners, the Bermudian and Canadian blockchain advisory firm.
Mr Kolcuoglu said: “Having 1,000 registrants shows us that there is growing interest in the Bermudian technology sector — and having over 200 people attend in-person was not something we originally planned for with multiple Covid-related changes and delays, so it was a pleasant surprise to see everyone come out to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and the Front Yard. The beautiful Bermuda weather definitely helped.”
Penrose also supports the InnoFund Innovation Incubator, co-founded by Aaron Smith and Gayle Gorman.
The privately owned incubator, launched in Bermuda last year, has been set up for the development of international and local technology-based start-ups.
It has partnered with the acclaimed DMZ tech accelerator at Toronto’s Ryerson University to help technology start-ups to achieve “hypergrowth” while supporting economic development in Bermuda.
Mr Kolcuoglu said: “We planned the International Tech Summit to coincide with the launch of the second cohort for i3.
“We had additional international tech founders come to Bermuda to attend both initiatives and pitch at our closing start-up pitch contest which featured 16 tech company founders.
“We had over 75 international guests come to Bermuda including the founders in the incubator who plan to stay and establish their businesses here.
“Thanks to programmes like i3 Incubator, multiple companies have been incorporated, or are being incorporated now within Bermuda’s technology sector.”
He added: “About two thirds of the companies in the i3 Incubator are net new companies to Bermuda that have been vetted through trusted referrals and our programme’s application process.
“We are trying to court more tech companies to join the i3 Incubator to incorporate their companies and achieve digital assets business licences in Bermuda.
“We are striving to attract and vet high-quality businesses to bring more credibility to the island as a digital assets jurisdiction.
“This is just the beginning and we hope to continue to accelerate the growth of Bermuda's fintech sector.”
On attracting 60 participants to the summit’s fintech education day, Mr Kolcuoglu said: “It means people are excited to learn more. They are not hesitating to take advantage of opportunities to engage and learn about the opportunities with the fintech industry, and that is very promising.”
Mr Kolcuoglu said participants ranged from high school students to experienced professionals who are looking at pivoting into the sector. He added that all fintech education day videos will be made available to the public.