Open Circle guests in acclaimed Berlin artist Jonas Burgert’s private atelier, 2016

Opening up Berlin: Open Circle curates an unforgettable “TOA Berlin experience”

  • Open Circle is TOA’s exclusive programme of events, dinners, parties and cultural visits for speakers, investors, select media, and top supporters
  • “Last year’s Open Circle formed a strong community that still communicates regularly today, as well as creating new projects and even a company!”
  • TOA’s inviting select entrepreneurs or thought-leaders to take part in Open Circle in July — apply here!

Connect, grow and inspire.

That’s TOA’s ethos and is at the core of what we create for our attendees: whether they’re a ticket-holder at our main event at the Funkhaus, a curious visitor to a TOA Satellite event — or if they’re one of TOA’s Founder-level speakers.

Zoé Gadsden is in charge of TOA’s Open Circle event series, which is aimed squarely at TOA’s speakers, investors, key media and our top supporters — because they are TOA attendees too!

Zoé Gadsden, Head of Open Circle

So what is Open Circle? Piloted in 2016, it’s four days of programming concurrent to the festival, including dinners, exclusive parties, private Q&As with keynote speakers, and special matchmaking sessions.

It helps bed our visitors into Berlin — and also provides them with a great opportunity to meet each other.

Zoé explains how Open Circle came from listening to our community and wanting to add value to the TOA experience.

“Most conferences have some form of speaker dinner or drinks event — and for the first few years, TOA did too. But the feedback from speakers was that they wanted more: to get to know Berlin and each other on a more profound level.

“They wanted recommendations: where to start in Berlin’s art scene, which restaurants to try, and who to meet. We figured that we could extend TOA’s ethos in a holistic way and curate the ultimate “TOA Berlin experience.”

So Zoé helped build a whole programme of events to make this happen.

She explained how it works:

“Speakers are eager to come to Berlin both for TOA and the city itself, and one consequence is that we draw a diverse and international group of speakers — 70% are from outside of Germany. TOA is Berlin to its core — so we provide a framework for them to explore it in all its depth.”

In 2016 these exclusive events — each designed to fulfil that “connect, grow and inspire” credo — included drinks at the home of Eric Wahlforss, co-founder of Soundcloud, a Q&A with Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter, and a private Laurel Halo concert at Red Bull Studios.

The speakers certainly seemed to enjoy it. For Ryan Evans, co-founder and CEO of Inboard Technology, who spoke about the future of urban transport at TOA in 2016, Open Circle was one of the highlights of his trip.

He said, “I loved being part of Open Circle… TOA picked out and organised the best of the best in a well-curated fashion.”

In 2017, Zoé says that Open Circle will build on last year’s success — and that even bigger plans are afoot.

“We’re making exciting changes, and opening it up to people beyond TOA’s speakers, investors, key media and top supporters. For the first time, we’re inviting select innovators and thought-leaders to compliment the mix of Open Circle attendees. (You can apply for an invite to take part right here!)

“2017’s Open Circle will be full of enriching, one-off experiences: whether they’re mindfulness yoga sessions, little conveniences like a concierge service, or taking guests to satellite events they’ll love.”

“It’s also going to be highly-tailored: not every event will be for everyone. Last year, for example, the Female Founders dinner was an inspiring event where amazing women exchanged learnings and stories — and it led to the formation of a strong community that still communicates regularly today, as well as creating new projects and even a company!”

And the future of Open Circle?

Zoé’s adamant that if you can’t come to Open Circle, it’ll find its way to you: “We‘re aiming beyond an event series that only runs concurrent to TOA. We want it to become a international series of high-value, unique, stand-alone events, and take the one-of-a-kind Berlin atmosphere all over the world!”

Get your own unique Berlin experience: join us at TOA in July!

Partnering with the future: TOA’s Haus of Tech is built to make business happen: there’s an innovative, connection-rich space opening at TOA this year, designed to make businesses create new business!

Satellites of love: putting Berlin’s community at the heart of TOA: TOA’s Satellite unique events mean that there is the perfect event for everyone, everywhere in Berlin during TOA.

Originally published at on May 17, 2017.

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