Wilmar's Web Summit: Opening Day Highlights

By Wilmar Alex Tax, 18 May 2020

In the upcoming days I will cover the highlights I have seen at the Websummit, according to Reuters the biggest tech conference in Europe and the Guardian calls it the Glastonbury for Geeks. This is my third time here.

Opening night was already phenomenal. Let me give you a glimpse of what happened by calling out some big trends and connect them to speakers and/or businesses.

Every one of them deserves the earned attention we at Het PR Bureau / HPB Amsterdam strive for as they are all based on deep human, cultural or societal insights.


The world is becoming more flexible in working and hiring from different countries and locations. Cities will start (or probably already are) fighting over attracting talent. A couple of startups that jumped on this trend are:

  • Safety Wing, a global safety net, travel and medical insurance for working nomads; Norwegian style - as in leveraging the reputation the Norwegians (and Scandinavians in general) have for taking care of their citizens.

  • Localyze, relocation as a service, making the terrible hassle of relocation (I know this from multiple personal experiences) less of a terrible hassle; in a world where 164 million people are currently living abroad for work with a annual growth pace of 20%.

  • Boundless, employ anyone anywhere in an easy way. Their promise is to make it easy to grow a remote team: handling multi-country payroll, comply with tax and employment laws.


Obviously one of the hottest topics of our current time. A number of speakers and companies gave context to this. Edward Snowden gave us the following to think about: “what do you do when the most powerful institutions in society have become the least accountable to society”. In line with that Evervault’s mission is to make data privacy simple and accessible for all, changing the way people and companies think about managing personal data. Shane Curran from Evervault: “Privacy shouldn’t only be something for compliance officers, but should be embedded in all software solutions in a super easy way.”


Women’s platform Ohne recognizes the complexity of the women’s period. Not by simplifying it into the actual days of menstruation but by recognizing the cycle and its consequences every day in every month of every period throughout a woman’s life. In their words “a human with a uterus every day, not just the days when you’re bleeding out of your vagina.”


 Water management was a great topic some of the world’s most influential people talked about on a panel. Actor and water environmentalist Jaden Smith from Just Water, Gary White from Water.org and Paul O’Callaghan from BlueTech Research joined forces to make a documentary Brave Blue World.   


We are a very busy species and yet we’re getting busier. Shleep works to help you invest in the sleep of your employees, future leaders so they become the leaders they are set out to be, to unleash their potential. 

Let me close off with my personal favorite Banjo Robinson a great online tool to stimulate kids to read and write in a fantastic kiddish way.Kids nowadays can’t believe that we grew up without email or texting: they see us (their parents) communicate with friends and family with the touch of a few buttons. Banjo Robinson wants to return to the joy of writing and receiving proper, paper post. Banjo was born from wanting to create those special moments for other children – the pretty envelope on the doormat with your name on it, the stories written just for you.

...so far for the opening day. Stay tuned for more Web Summit highlights over the next few days!