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Time to set it free

Thank you & ARRR!

Thanks for more than a decade of meaningful connections and lasting memories.

Letter from manuel

This is the end of a journey. 

An adventure filled with sweat, laughter and tears. Driven by passion and camaraderie.

It started in 2010 with the idea to create an event to connect founders. 

Back then, startup events were scarce. And the few out there didn’t speak to us.

That despair led us to imagine an event we wanted to attend ourselves.

Despite not having any event experience, we managed to pull the first event off. And the most surprising thing: Despite the amateurish organization, people liked it and wanted us to do it again.

All of a sudden, we became responsible for an event. 

We took on that responsibility and managed – largely as a side project – to grow PIRATE Summit to the capacity of our beloved venue: Odonien. 

It became the yearly gathering of 1,200 startup founders who were looking for no BS exchange and meaningful connections.

Our house rules set guidelines and helped create a unique atmosphere.

A space that values relationships over transactions.

Personality over status and titles. 

Authenticity over pretending. 

Uniqueness over conformity.

Over the years, we spread the PIRATE spirit to the world. We held up to 60 pitch competitions per year in cities like Cluj, Cairo, Baku, Tehran, Tokyo, or San Francisco. 

That effort helped us create a PIRATE ambassador network. Thanks to them, people regularly came from countries as far away as the US, Japan, India, Australia, or South Africa. 

With a lot of effort, we managed to continuously increase our female participant rate to well above 30%. Pretty exceptional for tech conference standards.

PIRATE Summit has been bootstrapped and executed on a shoestring. Instead of money, it brought us – the organizers – something more valuable: Connections, fulfillment, and fun.

The countless memories and experiences shared by our participants are a testament that others felt similar. 

The fuel that kept us going was our passion for entrepreneurship and our ambition to make business more human

We were driven by each of these themes that came to represent PIRATE Summit – purposeful disruption, in the black, solve real problems, raise yourself, unlearning, and making business more human.

After the forced Covid break, it became clear that I – as the last remaining founder – had to cut down my time commitment to PIRATE Summit, which I had been running as a hobby for all those years. 

I am a single dad. My biggest responsibility is towards my kids. Also, I am operationally involved in helping the companies in the PIRATE family grow.

I tried to find a new steward for the event and – to preserve its mission – turning it into a Purpose company. 

In the end, it didn’t work out. It just wasn’t financially stable enough.

Now it is time to set it free.

As the world continues to move forward, some memories remain. Especially those that leave a lasting impression in our hearts. The people and places that have touched our lives. The experiences that we shared.

This page is also meant as a place to preserve some of those memories until the end of the internet. A source of inspiration for all those who want to keep the fire burning.

Once PIRATE, always PIRATE!



(last remaining Founder)

What they say about PIRATE Summit


– Frank Thelen