One of Europe’s top tech conferences for startups and scale-ups, returning to Edinburgh next month, has announced its speaker and partner line-up, which includes Facebook’s former lead for augmented and virtual reality audio.

Varun Nair, who worked at Audio Software at Facebook, is among speakers at Turing Fest, which will take place between 2-4 November at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC), and is expected to welcome 700 in-person delegates, with a similar number of attendees joining online.

Brian Corcoran, chief executive of Turing Fest, said: “Turing Fest is a practical learning and networking event, primarily aimed at helping people build better startups and scale-ups, and it’s a win-win dynamic because the audience is keen to learn, the speakers are keen to teach, and everyone is generous in connecting and sharing.”   

The latest speaker line-up includes: Hannah Fleishman, director of employer brand and internal communications at HubSpot; Nilan Peiris, vice president of growth at Wise; Ashley Faus, content strategy lead at Altassian; Saille DaSilva, head of user experience at Cazoo; Chris Savage, co-founder and chief executive of Wistia; Varun Nair, co-founder of Two Big Ears and former head of augmented reality/virtual reality at Audio Software at Facebook, and clinical psychologist Dr Suzanne Brown.

A major theme at this year’s Turing Fest is around diversity and inclusivity. Building on its inclusion at the tech conference over the last few years, this year around 50 per cent of speakers are female and 20 per cent are from minority ethnic groups. 

Former Turing Fest speaker Check Warner, partner at Ada Ventures and co-founder of Diversity VC, said: “We started Ada Ventures with the key objective of investing in overlooked founders and markets, following years of not seeing anyone be truly proactive at making a difference in this space. This was also my key focus for co-founding the non-profit, Diversity VC.

“So when I was asked to be a part of Turing Fest in both 2018 and 2020, I learned about its self-set targets and tactics to provide a diverse and inclusive experience for all. From the range of speakers, to ensuring underrepresented groups could get access easily – and free – to attend the conference, I knew I had to be a part of it.”

Turing Fest’s partners for 2021 are Current Health, FanDuel, Administrate, GearedApp, FreeAgent, Bureau, Avaloq, CodeClan, Baillie Gifford, Creative Informatics, Harper Macleod, Purpose HR, Turing Trust, Wistia, and the Freer Consultancy.