CogX: AI Innovation Exchange & Awards

CogX: AI Innovation Exchange & Awards

Who do you call when you have a vision to create a ground-breaking AI conference and you only have three months to do it? Forgather stepped in to help CognitionX, a market intelligence platform for all things AI, bring together global thought leaders to debate the impact of AI on industry, government and society.

“It was an awesome event. Great to hear so many industry leaders openly thinking about a complex topic, and I am glad to say I learnt a lot.”
MC Srivas, Chief Data Architect, Uber

CogX was a two-day innovation exchange featuring three streams, 18 sessions, 44 exhibitors, 100+ speakers and an awards dinner to celebrate the most innovative contributors to AI, including DeepMind, UiPath and Tesla. 

Speakers included the likes of MC Srivas, Chief Data Architect for Uber, Lord Young, Former Employment Secretary, Matt Hancock, the Minister for Digital and Kathryn Parsons, Founder & CEO of Decoded. We even had contributions from a robot – Hanson Robotics’ Sophia joined us on stage to discuss the future of AI.

Proud moments: 

  • Partnering with the CognitionX founders, we provided a full outsourced event management solution that stretched from managing the budget to advising on sponsorship contracts, developing the event brand across all onsite materials and AV production, to planning a memorable pre-event dinner at the Cheesegrater. On the day, we scaled to a team of 60 people, whom we recruited, briefed and managed.
  • Pulling off an ambitious conference in record time. From a standing start, in just three months we collectively achieved over 1200 conference attendees, 250 awards dinner guests and 44 exhibitors.

  • Designing a buzzing expo area complete with 36 cutting edge AI companies in our startup alley and 8 market leading vendors including Accenture Analytics, IBM and The Alan Turing Institute – all of whom we managed from contract to delivery. Finishing touches included a gold mirror bar serving up quality barista coffee and a 2m LED neon CognitionX digi brain.
  • Bringing to life the key insights from the sessions with a live graphic wall – a hand drawn visual representation of the current state of AI. An army of Insights Volunteers provided session highlights to our resident artist John Caswell, who delivered a pictorial executive briefing summary, which would later inform and inspire 18 post-event insight reports.

Praise:

“With just 3 months to go before our event we knew we needed an event production partner who could match our passion and ambition. Whilst we concentrated on the content and sales, Forgather provided all the key event delivery services - managing the planning, budgeting, graphics, onsite production, AV, live streaming and staffing of the conference, exhibition and awards evening.  It was the first event we’d produced of this scale, and with limited in-house resource we needed a partner who was not only an expert in event planning but a mind reader, tech specialist and experienced sounding board. Forgather stood with us shoulder to shoulder and it was a pleasure working with them on CogX”.

Tabitha Goldstaub, Co-Founder, CognitionX

“A sizzling combination of feeling plush, high budget and professional but like one big friendly open Meetup.”
- Maxine Mackintosh
Co-Founder, One HealthTech; Data Science & Dementia PhD Student, UCL

“What an awesome gathering! You managed to bring so many different industry, technology and activists together and have positive discussions that generated ideas, vision and paths for an AI enabled future. It was a privilege to be a part of.”
- Hugo Pinto
Innovation Officer & Innovation Services Leader, IBM EMEA

“I think that in years to come people will be proud to say, 'I was there’!”
- Robbie Stamp
CEO Bioss International; Chairman h2g2.com & Hitchhiker’s Foundation; Director, See Change Films; Owner, StampBros

Microsoft Accelerator Founders' Summit

Microsoft wanted to bring together tech company founders and graduates of its Accelerator programme from across the globe, to build relationships, swap stories and help solve each other’s business challenges. The event was seen as a catalyst in building a connected, alumni community.

Historic Chicheley Hall was our home for 24 hours, with a packed agenda covering funding, talent and culture, negotiation and listening, as well as intimate ‘founders’ dilemma’ storytelling sessions. Yoga, poker and laser clay shooting also provided opportunities to relax and unwind.

Proud moments:

  • Achieving a net promoter score of +93; with 83% scoring the event ‘excellent’ and 17% scoring it ‘above average’. The highest our client had ever seen for an event.
  • Working with Microsoft as true event partners. With the stakeholders based in Israel and the US, we took an active role in shaping the agenda, recruited all external speakers, found the perfect venue and added all the finishing flourishes to create the feeling of a cosy, family-style gathering.
  • Completely re-styling Chicheley: bringing in vintage furniture and gorgeous flowers to provide an authentic country house environment.
  • Challenging the status quo of a typical tech event, with a female-dominated speaker line-up, including Jane Reddin from Balderton and Nancy Fechnay from Flight Ventures. 

Praise:

"This was our inaugural founders’ event, the first of its kind and another step in Microsoft Accelerators’ efforts to help our alumni, and connect our global alumni. It was crucial that it went well. As I am not based out of the UK, I needed someone that knew the tech ecosystem, best facilities and local vendors - Forgather came highly recommended and they did not disappoint. They were partners every step of the way, connected us to the best speakers and content and helped construct the schedule from A to Z.

We sprinted from the idea for this event to delivery in less than two and a half months and I felt like I had great support from the Forgather team. This truly was a wonderful event, and I’m thrilled with the results. The numbers speak for themselves – a net promoter score as high as +93 is a huge achievement. I couldn’t have done it without you".

Toni Hasson - Global Alumni Program Manager, Microsoft Accelerator

Yext

The Art of Location

Originally founded in New York, global location data management leader Yext launched in London in 2016, and needed to make their mark on the UK retail and tech scene. We partnered with Yext to create a series of events that would help raise brand awareness and drive new business. The first event The Art of Location, marked the official arrival of Yext in London, and took place at the Viewing Terrace, on the 10th Floor of the Switch House, the brand new development at the Tate Modern. 

Proud moments:

  • Challenging guests' perception of location and the nature of trespass with stellar speaker and urban explorer Dr. Bradley Garrett.
  • Bringing the content and location to life by using AR app Skignz to place digital signs over landmarks seen from the Viewing Terrace.
  • Our quickest ever venue turnaround; we transformed the space in just one hour between the gallery closing to the public and our guests arriving...

Praise:

“The Art of Location was a key event for Yext, as we celebrated our official launch in the UK. With our marketing team based in the US, we needed a trusted event partner to be an extension of our team and manage things on the ground seamlessly. Forgather are creative, versatile, brimming with great ideas and always a pleasure to work with. Like everything we’ve collaborated on, the event was faultlessly executed, and we were thrilled to achieve a great turnout and tremendous feedback from both attendees and senior leadership”.

Jon Buss - Managing Director, Yext

Microsoft: The Gallery of the Future

In January 2017 we were thrilled to ratchet Microsoft Accelerator London’s cohort demo day up a notch. The Gallery of the Future was an immersive showcase aimed at London’s tech elite and innovation seekers, designed to provide insights on the technologies shaping our future and the way we do business.

Spanning 22,000 feet in the heart of the West End, Bloomsbury Square’s Victoria House basement was our venue. After eight quick fire pitches from the Accelerator cohort and two lightning TED-style tech talks from a leading academic and senior evangelist from Microsoft’s Lift London, our guests were able to sample the latest in mixed reality technology from HoloLens. The conversation continued in our cohort lounge over food, drinks and music courtesy of DJ Anna. 

Proud moments:

  • With a target of 300 attendees, we were delighted to open our doors to 450 tech influencers, investors, corporates and startups, despite there being a tube strike on that day… 
  • Transforming a cavernous white space into a stylish gallery-style installation, complete with large format graphics, and two custom-built HoloLens experience rooms. The transformation was so seamlessly achieved, some members of the audience thought it a permanent Microsoft home.
  • Helping forge deeper connections between Microsoft Accelerator and Microsoft’s corporate customer base and playing a significant part in shifting perceptions to a new Microsoft as a platform for business innovation.
  • A sample of the brands who enjoyed sharing ideas: Accenture, BBC, Burberry, Capgemini, Centrica, Coop, Coutts, Dentsu Aegis, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Jaguar Land Rover, JP Morgan, KPMG, Mediacom, Metro Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Ocado, Ogilvy & Mather, Sainsburys, Santander UK plc, Shell, Sky, Tesco Labs, Vodafone, WPP

Praise:

"The Gallery of the Future was born out of a desire to challenge the startup demo day status quo. Forgather came up with the concept and pulled off an ambitious event that got the London Accelerator talked about by the rest of Microsoft and Microsoft’s customer base. 

Once again my faith and trust in Forgather has been exceeded. Once again, no glitches and no screw ups which is why we choose to exclusively work with Forgather for all of our events. I look forward to working together again to raise the bar".

Warwick Hill - CEO-in-Residence & MD, Microsoft Accelerator London

Balderton

Balderton CEO Collective 

Balderton Capital, one of the largest venture capital firms in Europe, wanted an event to help them forge stronger relationships with the CEOs in their portfolio, encourage peer to peer learning, and share the latest news on the firm. We were appointed to co-create and manage their inaugural retreat in September 2014, and we re-engaged in 2016 to see if we could top the first CEO Collective. 

Proud moments:

  • Transforming Chicheley Hall with vintage furniture and flowers to create a lived in, loved and stylish country house, complete with a cosy yurt and Shikar Tent village in the grounds for extra accommodation. 
  • Designing a bespoke film making challenge inspired by our keynote speaker Jason Silva's 'Shots of Awe' documentaries to encourage bonding, creative thinking and laughter.
  • Tackling entrepreneur burnout by offering yoga in the yurt, wild running in the nearby woods, mindfulness and frank story-sharing sessions.
  • Being one of the first 'corporates' to host an event in the blissful Soho Farmhouse, and bonding the group over a range of pursuits including wine tasting, football, horse riding and off road biking.
  • Building an environment which has brought about transformative partnerships amongst the CEOs in Balderton's portfolio.
  • Achieving a net promoter score of +95 in 2016, and an overall organisation score of 4.9/5, with 85% of participants rating the event 'excellent'. 

Praise:

“Outsourcing Balderton’s CEO Collective retreat to Belinda and Forgather meant we had a trusted partner to design and manage this important bi-annual event. It’s a discerning audience (both internally and externally) and Belinda shaped the event communications, developed the agenda with us and picked a venue, Soho Farmhouse, that everyone loved. With Forgather sweating the details that made a difference to the experience, we could concentrate on the event’s participants – the CEOs/founders in our portfolio companies. I look forward to working together on the next big thing”.

Suranga Chandratillake – General Partner, Balderton

Connections

Taking an event to new heights

Artesian is a customer intelligence software solution that provides contextual, relevant insight into companies and their markets. Forgather partnered with Artesian to help them grow Connections, their B2B sales and marketing conference. The ambition was to attract new customers and prospects, and position the conference as the leading event dedicated to sales and marketing excellence. To date we have been retained to run two annual Connections conferences, providing a wrap around project management service - tackling everything from speaker recruitment to onsite production.

Proud moments:

  • Delivering an 86% turnout on registrations. Unheard of in London.
  • Achieving great customer satisfaction with 95% of guests saying they would recommend the event to their colleagues.
  • Securing a range of stellar speakers to inspire and challenge traditional thinking - from GB cycling team psychiatrist Professor Steve Peters, to Scotland Yard hostage negotiator Richard Mullender. 

Praise:

“Belinda knocked it out of the park at Connections 16. Over 200 attendees and the most stimulating and thought provoking afternoon of content we could have wished for – Forgather just rocks!”

Andrew Yates, CEO, Artesian

Criteo in the Park

An afternoon of inspirational content, cocktails and pedalo-ing on the Serpentine...

The brief: A summer event for 100 digital marketing / eCommerce contacts in Criteo’s Retail and Travel client base, which would combine marketing insight and some summer fun. Criteo is the global leader in performance advertising.

Our solution: A hands-on challenging view of the future of customer experience held at the glorious, Zaha Hadid-designed Magazine Restaurant in Kensington Gardens with keynotes from Wired Editor, David Rowan, and German futurist, Dietmar Dahmen. Coupled with a gallery of immersive installations demonstrating Virtual Reality, AI and delivery robots in real world applications. 

Proud moments:

  • Powering an event of full-on participation: with Google glasses for all, and voting on future trends via our favourite event app Glisser.

  • Curating the cream of the latest customer experience from digital showrooms and shop floors made by Imagination, Inition, Holition, Starship, Digital Genius and Village.

  • Pedalo racing on the Serpentine in the summer sunshine wth Forgather (the next generation) providing the pedaling power.

  • Breaking the cardinal rule and holding the event on a Monday, and getting a full house. 

FUSE Conference

High-growth technology and digital recruiter La Fosse Associates partnered with Forgather to create a half day conference that would showcase the wealth of opportunity in startup-corporate collaboration.

In 2015 we created FUSE, which brought together 300 C-level executives from leading blue chip organisations and scaling tech startups. We ran FUSE again in 2016, moving the agenda on to tackle the unique challenges faced by the CIO in today’s new business landscape.

Proud moments:

  • Shaping the agenda, and pulling in speakers from John Lewis, Barclays, Unilever, Freeformers, N Brown, MassChallenge and more.
  • Championing innovation, by identifying three fast-growing startups to pitch during at each event.
  • Infusing the event with new event technology including Grip, for intelligent match making, Glisser, for audience participation, and Skignz, for an AR powered view of the skyline.
  • Facilitating vital funding conversations between our startup pitchers and investors, and connecting them with leading brands.

Praise:

"As a company that straddles both the corporate and startup/scale-up worlds, La Fosse Associates was uniquely placed to bring them together. We approached Forgather to work side by side with us to create an event that would bring business leaders together to share insights, create conversations and build relationships.

Forgather took the lead on developing the event brand and driving content, which allowed us to focus on developing the FUSE audience and enjoy a partnership that played to our strengths.

Amazing conversations happened not only at the event but before and after. It allowed our team to reconnect with our clients, brought our approach to company culture to the fore and made us stand out in a crowded market. 

Every time we work with Forgather they do an amazing job for us. In addition to their talent and expertise, they have a genuine passion for what they do and, in my view it’s this combination that makes them really exceptional".

Simon La Fosse, CEO, La Fosse Associates

Snowball

Snowball is one of our lovingly crafted Forgather owned event properties. Over the years we’ve built up an exclusive business community of well connected, inspirational thought leaders. They are the tech entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders on a course to change lives, and the world.

Each March, we meet for our annual ski event. An invitation-only, informal, private retreat set in a ski resort, designed to facilitate transformative introductions. We weave a rich thread of content throughout the event, tackling thought provoking issues from AI to genome sequencing, but there’s not a PowerPoint slide in sight. In short we meet, we eat, we ski, we learn. We’re proud to say the relationships we help build through Snowball have often proved life changing.

Praise:

“If you get invited, don't even think twice - just go”. – Harry Briggs, BFG Ventures

After each Snowball event I walk away with new friends, genuine connections, bold ideas and massive inspiration to go out and change the world. – Melinda Lee Ferguson, CA Technologies

“Like Davos. But way funner”. – Gabbi Cahane, Investor

“This must be the best technology networking event in the world”. – Robin Voogd, OLX

“Only Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is brighter and more colourful than this crowd. A truly remarkable experience”. – Martin Fincham, LANSA

“An event full of energy and a catalyst of business relationships…Snowball is a nuclear reactor”. – Priya Lakhani, CENTURY

 

Microsoft Accelerator

The Pitch: demo day with a difference 

Microsoft Accelerator is a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies. Forgather was brought in to run the startup demo day of the first official cohort of the London Microsoft Accelerator, their mentor-driven three month programme. We have since been retained to run the event a further three times, building on the success and scale of ‘The Pitch’ and developing the event brand to fit the founders it serves.

Proud moments:

  • Creating the overall event concept and format and re-branding the event The Pitch.
  • Leading the marketing and audience generation resulting in sell out events.
  • Finding stellar venues to inspire and delight - from stunning views at Millbank Tower's Skyloft, to the home of Europe's largest disco ball at Camden's KOKO, to the opulent Café de Paris. We were also the first commercial booking at WPP's building Sea Containers House, ensuring that we could effectively showcase startup/corporate collaboration on a grand scale.
  • Throwing a great party - with a live band to 'play on' the startups and lead the revels post presentation, a cyr wheel artist, massage therapists, a yellfie booth and branded cupcakes.
  • Developing the content for each event to showcase the expertise of the founders. Our event at Sea Containers House featured stars from the business world - Metro Bank and BMW to bring their stories to life.

Praise:

"I have worked with Belinda and her company, Forgather, for the past year and a half in my capacity as Startups Lead for Microsoft in the UK. She and the team have worked tirelessly to pull off The Pitch, our Microsoft Ventures London 'demo day' event three times - and each time, the event got better and better. Their real strength lies in end-to-end event management from event design and marketing to venue sourcing, logistics, connections with investors and on-site event management. Forgather are a joy to work with and we have always been in safe hands with them".

Diane Perlman - Global CMO at MassChallenge / former CMO Microsoft Ventures