A keynote speaker can make or break an event. If you want to deliver impact, we recommend seeking an expert who can drive your conference’s theme home and inspire attendees. Below are ten of the best motivational keynote speakers for your next tech conference.
Eric Kinariwala: Healthcare Technology
Kinariwala is the CEO of Capsule, a pharmacy service that offers free home delivery within a two-hour window via text or the app. In light of COVID-19, this has transformed from a convenience to an essential service. Forbes listed Capsule as one of the next Billion-Dollar Startups in 2020. So far, the company has raised $270 million.
Kinariwala believes in what he calls, “the third wave of commerce” and claims there are three big categories left that are yet to transition online: financial services, real estate, and healthcare.
Pauline van Dongen: Wearable Technology
Pauline van Dongen is a Dutch designer specialised in wearable technology. Clients can pay up to $120,000 to commission her work. Her studio has created a wearable solar dress, a solar-powered windbreaker for German nature guides, and a denim jacket that replicates the sensation of a gentle stroke on the upper back (“encouraging the wearer to be present in an increasingly accelerating world”).
In 2019, van Dongen presented a workshop called SUN LACED. Designers worked hands-on with solar cells and developed knowledge on how to integrate them into clothing and soft textile products. She has spoken at SXSW, TEDx, and X-festival.
Mike Butcher: Reporting Technology
Butcher is Editor-at-Large at TechCrunch, an online platform reporting on the business of technology, startups, venture capital funding, and Silicon Valley. Butcher has been named one of the most influential people in European technology by Wired and The Daily Telegraph.
Butcher is also the co-founder of The Pathfounder, an editorial events and reports series on ‘impact innovation’, The Europas Awards, TechForUK, TechVets, Techfugees, and TechHub. GQ magazine named him one of the 100 Most Connected Men in the UK, and he’s a “Maserati 100 innovator”. He has advised previous UK governments on tech startup policy and was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Butcher is an active public speaker and moderator. He encourages event hosts to reach out to him via his website.
Sofie Quidenus-Wahlforss: AI Technology
Austrian-born Quidenus-Wahlforss spent her early 20’s developing a book scanner that digitised millions of books across 125 countries. Her passion for AI led to omni:us—a service that digitises, classifies and extracts data from both digital and handwritten documents. The goal is to streamline paper-weighted sectors like insurance. The company has raised almost $20 million in Series A funding.
Quidenus-Wahlforss sits on the German Government advisory board for advanced technology and artificial intelligence and has spoken at events such as Slush, NOAH, TOA, and TechCrunch Disrupt.
Tristan Walker: Diversity and Inclusion
Walker co-founded Code2040, an American organisation that introduces tech firms to talented people of colour. Walker and his team place more than 100 fellows each year at tech giants like LinkedIn and Airbnb.
Walker made a name for himself by persuading Target and Sephora to carry and stock his Walker & Co. health and beauty products alongside other major brands, rather than in a separate, “ethnic beauty” niche.
Chris Schultz: Startup Expansion
Schultz founded Launch Pad, an American startup workspace and community for entrepreneurs, creatives, and professionals in New Orleans. He has spent nearly 20 years bringing together the “doers” of the world—startups that have raised hundreds of millions in capital and created 5,000+ jobs. He is a seasoned expert in high growth startups and expansion and is an active angel investor.
Together with his wife, he hosts a weekly lifestyle and business web series, where they speak with industry leaders and explore a range of topics. He is also co-founder of Flatstack, a software development firm with offices in the U.S., Russia, and Poland.
Ursula Burns: Business Development
Burns is the first African-American woman to lead an S&P 500 company and the first woman to succeed another woman as head of a Fortune 500 company. From 2010 to 2016, she served as Xerox CEO, where she helped the company generate $18 billion in revenue.
Burns was named chairwoman of VEON in 2017, just as the international telecom expanded to more than 240 million customers around the world. She’s a founding member of Change the Equation, a CEO-led non-profit program to boost STEM education launched by the Obama administration and members of Uber’s board of directors in 2010. She routinely speaks to women in tech about owning their power.
Christine Spiten: Robotics Technology
Spiten is a Norwegian sailing champion, engineer, and co-founder of the underwater drone company Blueye Robotics. Spiten was inspired by underwater ROV technology while working for Kongsberg and began developing consumer drones controlled by smartphones. Blueye Robotics has currently raised over $10 million, and their drones can dive to depths of over 150 metres. Her drones have been globally recognised and are used for ocean mapping, education, and cleanups in Norway, the U.S., and on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Spiten currently sits on an advisory board for environmental research initiatives REVOcean, Passion for Ocean, as well as Norway’s Government-lead digital business board Digital 21. She was selected as one of Norway’s 50 most important female tech founders, and Forbes named her one of the World’s Top 50 Women In Technology.
Alexis Kerry Ohanian: The Front Page of the Internet
Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit, an American social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website. The idea and initial development of Reddit originated with Ohanian and his college roommate, Steve Huffman. They were accepted in Y Combinator’s first-class for their “front page of the internet” idea. Supported by funding from Y Combinator, Huffman coded the site in Common Lisp and, together with Ohanian, launched Reddit in June 2005.
Ohanian sold to Conde Nast in 2006, only to return to the newly-independent company nine years later. The comeback has made Reddit the 6th most visited website in the world.
He’s invested in and advised over 200 startups and created a show called Small Empires about technology and community.
Jean Liu: Automotive Technology
Lui earned a master’s degree in Computer Science at Harvard University before joining rideshare startup Didi Chuxing in 2014. Didi is China’s largest mobile transportation platform, boasting 450 million passengers, 25 million rides per day, and 9,000 employees. Liu won the turf war with Uber when she and Didi’s chairman, Cheng Wei, got Uber to sell its China operation. The company cleared 1.4 billion rides last year, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly invested $1 billion.