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Ten teenagers attend Web Summit - Here's what they learned...

Every year, Web Summit brings together the world’s top innovators, disruptors, biggest tech companies, and most notable media for an unparalleled experience at the world’s premier tech conference. Over 700 speakers from all over the world gathered to share their expert insights and plan to completely redefine the tech industry. Held in Lisbon, Portugal, Web Summit 2021 brought together over 42,000 people, including five students from TKS (The Knowledge Society).

Held on November 1-4, Web Summit has long been considered as the event where “the future is born,” providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students like those from TKS to learn, network, and collaborate with some of the brightest minds in the industry. Ten high school students from TKS, including Anupra Chandran, Satvik Agnihotri, Sriya Chintalapalli, Anna Heck, and Naila Moloo were selected not only to attend Web Summit, with Anupra and Naila taking the stage at the conference. These high school students have established a reputation for innovation and leadership as they aspire to change the world for the better through the power of tech.

For Anupra Chandran, Satvik Agnihotri, Sriya Chintalapalli, Anna Heck, and Naila Moloo, the experience was nothing less than life-changing as they walked away with a plethora of knowledge, ideas, colleagues, and opened their eyes to a new world of opportunity that awaits them.

Satvik Agnihotri leveraged his time at Web Summit to connect with some of the biggest names in the industry. During the four-day event, Satvik connected with the  CEO of Celsius protocol, Alex Mashinsky, played chess with Gary Kasparov in a Queen’s Gambit simulation, met David Meltzer, and became friends with Adam Jafer,  the college dropout turned cofounder of Voi Technology, a brand now valued at over $1 billion.

As Satvik explored the beauty of Lisbon with like-minded people from different walks of life, he came to an epiphany.

Web Summit expanded my definition of success. My mother is an attorney, and my father is an investment banker, so I always thought success was defined by how much money you make or how high you climb the corporate ladder. I thought you had to play office politics and work unnecessarily long hours on tasks with marginal impact. The connections I made through Web Summit are with people who built their success on solving global issues and changing peoples lives.”

Following Web Summit, Satvik and Sriya Chintalapalli were invited by Shell’s executives to fly to Amsterdam to Shell’s ETCA innovation center to learn and explore the industry from the global leader.

For Naila Moloo, Web Summit was a growing experience to step out of their comfort zone and begin investing in their future through networking and purposeful collaboration. Naila met with some of the top leaders from mega companies like KPMG, sat next to the CEO of the Global Citizen Forum and co-founder of The Butterfly Network while eating at the Royal Palace, met an engineer from NASA backstage at the Deep Tech conference, and stayed at an Airbnb with other TKS students which led to unforgettable experiences and new friendships.

Web Summit was a super amazing experience. I learned how to network at a real in-person conference. At first, I wasnt sure how I was going to go up to somebody and introduce myself. But I quickly realized that this is what a conference is all about! I went with ten other kids who werent from my city and who I didnt know beforehand, but we all became so close after. Sharing a big Airbnb for a week, staying up until 2 AM, having meaningful conversations and eating ramen, and experiencing Lisbon together was unforgettable!”

Naila was fortunate enough to speak at the Corporate Innovation Summit on November 1 and MC’d the stage on November 4th.

Sriya Chintalapalli knew that they’d be meeting some of the most notable names in the industry and beyond. What they didn’t expect was to have meaningful and insightful conversations about how tech can change some of the world’s greatest problems with these rockstars in the industry.

The conversation was the catalyst for new ideas, innovations, and purpose as Sriya spoke to Sol Campbell’s agent for around an hour discussing things from the future of our interface evolution to owning football teams to removing the barriers of fan mentality and everything in between. Sriya was fortunate enough to film a Podcast episode with Forbes Journalist Rhett Power discussing the journey, projects, and Sriya’s future ambitions.

After an intriguing conversation with Shell Executives, Sriya was also invited to travel to the Shell’s Energy Transition Campus in Amsterdam to meet their teams across exponential technologies and sciences, along with their Senior Vice President of Supply Chain & CTO. While the event was certainly thought-provoking, it was equally entertaining as Sriya also went head to head with Gary Kasparov in a game of chess.

For Anna Heck, Web Summit was her first in-person conference. Unfamiliar with the format and unsure what to expect, Anna used her time at Web Summit to create lasting friendships with other TKS students and rub shoulders with high-level executives for some of the world’s largest companies. Anna met the mayor of Libson, the CEO of Gowithflow, Forbes journalist Rhett Powers, Dame Til Wykes who is revolutionizing modern mental healthcare, and the president of Microsoft at the corporate innovation summit dinner where she got to spend time in the Forum eating amazing food and talking with amazing people.

By attending Web Summit, Anupra Chandran quickly realized that growth follows outside your comfort zone, and engaging in important conversations with like-minded innovators is the catalyst for success. Anupra immersed herself in the experience, attending roundtable discussions at the corporate innovations summit, the Government of Portugal Dinner, and presenting Kaptis to her peers, the project aiming to turn CO2 into graphene and make direct air capture more affordable.

Infatuated by the discussions happening in every direction at all times, Anupra absorbed an incredible amount of information while equally contributing her ideas to tech’s greatest minds.

I love listening to podcasts because they help you be a "fly on the wall" of important conversations. These roundtables felt like that, except I could share my perspectives on issues and build on the ideas of executives (from major energy companies to government innovation departments).”

Each of the TKS teens had a different experience at Web Summit, but two common themes stand out to make their experiences quite similar.

  1. Growth happens on the other side of one’s comfort zone, and Web Summit helped propel these young minds onto their next journey as they collaborate with those they networked with to change the world and disrupt the tech industry.
  2. Web Summit provided a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that each student leveraged to gain expert insight into their areas of expertise and contribute to larger conversations that lead to lasting friendships and world-changing innovations.