Neelie Kroes To Give A Final Interview At Disrupt Europe In London

Neelie Kroes will give one of her last ever on-stage interviews at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe in London before leaving her role as Vice-President of the European Commission.

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe will take place from 18-21st October 2014 in London. You can grab an early bird ticket right here. Over the weekend we’ll have a free hackathon, which you can apply for here.

When Kroes started in her role as European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda in 2010 she brought with her a reputation as someone who would not bend easily when it came to being tough on the monopolistic tendencies of the biggest tech and telecoms players. “Nickel Neelie” they called her.

On the Commission’s ‘Digital Agenda’ she has been at least as forthright. Early on she advocated free and Open Source Software, previously unheard of at high levels of European governance.

Kroes pushed hard for more competition and the levelling of the broadband playing field; went to war with mobile operators over roaming charges and has since gone on to fiercely defend and promote technology entrepreneurship, particularly amongst Europe’s young people, many of whom face economies where traditional industries have fewer and fewer jobs.

Kroes was born 1941 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, where, after school, she helped to build her family’s transport business. She studied economics at Erasmus University, before working there for six years as an Assistant Professor.

Her political career started on the Rotterdam Municipal Council, and in 1971 she was elected as a Member of the Dutch Parliament for the liberal VVD party. From 1982-1989 she served as Minister for Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication in the Netherlands.

After politics she was appointed President of Nyenrode University from 1991-2000, and served on various company boards, including Lucent Technologies, Volvo, and P&O Nedlloyd.

Her charity work included advising the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and World Cancer Research Fund, and she has an ongoing interest in mental health issues.

Since 2004, she has worked for the European Commission, as one of the 27 Commissioners working to maintain a peaceful and prosperous Europe. From 2004 to 2009, she was Competition Commissioner, responsible for ensuring a level playing field for business in Europe, and fair prices and choice for consumers.

In 2010, she became Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe. This portfolio includes the information and communications technology (ICT) and telecommunications sectors. For example, Kroes has overseen the Commission’s role in ensuring trust and security for the Internet and new technologies; ensuring competitive communications, such as in the mobile roaming market; building European research and innovation; and above all getting every citizen in Europe up to speed in tech, with access to fast broadband and the skills they need support the European economy and society.


The Disrupt conference in London kicks off with the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon from 18th to 19th October, followed by two days of on-stage interviews and panels with some of the biggest names in technology.

TechCrunch Disrupt Europe will also bring the Startup Battlefield and Startup Alley to London.

Startup Battlefield competitors pitch their companies live and on stage to innovators, investors and influencers in the tech community. TechCrunch identifies emerging companies to demo and compete for a prize of £30,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup. Last year Lock8, the London and Berlin-based startup behind the world’s first smart bike lock, was the winner and has gone on to launch its product.

Previous Battlefield competitions have launched companies such as Dropbox,, Yammer and Fitbit.

Startup Alley offers another way for early-stage companies to gain exposure with a format that encourages both exhibiting and networking, as well as high visibility. Roughly 200 invited startups make up Startup Alley with companies showcasing on the Monday and Tuesday of the event.

Find all the latest information on the Disrupt Europe website.

Grab a ticket and before they sell out.

To request media accreditation, email tcdisruptlondon [ @ ]

To sponsor the event, see here.

If you want to volunteer during the conference then email volunteer [ @ ]