This year, the Engaged Investments Conference will place more emphasis on defense and cybersecurity

Engaged Investments, the leading international conference for investors and startups, will offer an even richer programme this autumn than last year. The aim of this unique event in the Czech Republic, which will bring together up to 350 participants from all over Europe, as well as major investors from the USA, is to promote cross-border investment and mutual cooperation between startups and investors across regions. The sixth edition, co-organised by DEPO Ventures and J&T Ventures, will take place on 23 and 24 October in Prague. In addition to investment topics, it will also focus on current technologies from the defense and cybersecurity industry, space technology, artificial intelligence and biotechnology.

This year, the Engaged Investments Conference will place more emphasis on defense and cybersecurity

The Engaged Investments conference provides a space for sharing knowledge, experience and best practices of leading investors in the venture capital world. In addition to the main areas mentioned above, it will also focus on how to bridge the gap between investing in startups and access to venture capital in the US and CEE, or the importance of exits in the startup environment. 


Confirmed speakers include former Avast chief technology officer Michal Pěchouček, Nico Schoenenberger, an investor in the CZK 4bn German fund 10X Founders, the director of Romanian unicorn UiPath and now angel investor Gabriel Panna, MariaDB founder and general partner of the Norwegian fund Open Ocean, American investor with more than 460 startups in his portfolio and partner of the fund Diaspora Ventures Marvin Liao, general partner of the Polish fund OTB Ventures Marcin Hejka and partner of the leading Hungarian fund Lead Ventures Virág Dezső. Members of the European Commission and the NATO Innovation Network will also attend the conference.


The first day of the conference is dedicated to investors, discussions and networking. The second day will focus mainly on startups. Hundreds of technology companies from different industries looking for investors will present. There will also be a startup competition or Defence Innovation challenge. In fact, Engaged Investments has teamed up with the DefSec Innovation Hub, which connects industry, academia, national and international organizations in the defense and security sector. The emphasis on defense technology within the conference makes sense nowadays. 


"Five years ago, defense technologies and their development were mainly the domain of states, financed by governments. Thanks to the European Union and NATO, this is changing. Their senior leaders are interested in getting the private sector involved in this area and in getting more venture capital to support it as well. It is envisaged that new technologies will have dual use, in addition to defense, in the civilian sector. All this helps to reduce the risk for investors," says Petr Šíma, partner at DEPO Ventures. 

Regional finals of the global competition Startup World Cup 

The highlight of the second day will be the regional final of the prestigious global competition Startup World Cup, organized by the American fund Pegasus Tech Ventures. A pre-selected conference of the top ten startups will determine the winner, who will advance to the finals in Silicon Valley and compete to win one million dollars. Last year, startup LayAI advanced to the grand finals, but did not take home the prize.


The conference will also offer a complementary programme for different groups of investors and startup founders – this will be gradually published on its website. "We place a major emphasis on the high level of both the participants and the program offered. We provide a space for investors to gain new investment opportunities and expand their knowledge, but also to establish new professional contacts not only from the Czech Republic and Europe. We see more and more interest from foreign investors in this format and in cooperation with the Czech startup ecosystem, so we are pleased that the international representation will be much stronger than in previous years," says Eliška Vámošová, Engaged Investments conference director.

Other partners include domestic fund Credo Ventures, accelerator StartupYard, business and investment support agency CzechInvest, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Prague Innovation Institute, Seed Starter of Česká spořitelna, G+D Ventures and e-sport platform