With 70,000 attendees, over 1,000 renowned speakers and four days of tech madness, Web Summit is arguably the biggest tech conference in the world. As a B2B startup, conferences can generate great opportunities, which is why Lukas, Tobi and I went to Lisbon to represent Gleap. Events like this one can however be extremely overwhelming. So here are our main takeaways from this year’s summit to make your experience as a startup worthwhile.
1. Preparation is key
Writing this up, I feel like “preparation is key” is one of those standard sentences. But in the case of Web Summit this is true in two ways. First, make sure you prepare well in terms of who you want to meet. In the Web Summit app or on LinkedIn you can easily identify people who are going, too. And if there’s someone that could be a good fit for you as an investor, a partner or even a potential customer, I would suggest you reach out to them personally (!!!) to arrange a meeting at the summit. I say personally with three exclamation marks because brace yourself you will receive tons of spam offering you development services.
Secondly, I’d definitely recommend checking out the schedule in advance. Make sure you don’t just watch the main acts. From experience I can say that it is usually the more niche talks that generate the greatest benefits. In the Web Summit app you can easily add panels to your schedule so you won’t miss out on anything useful.
2. Identify clear goals
I will surely not betray a secret when I say that identifying clear goals for you or your team prior to flying to Lisbon will help you keep focused at the summit. I will talk about the most common goals in a bit more detail below, so here’s just to give you a quick overview:
- Raise brand awareness
- Generate sales
- Connect with investors
- Find partners
3. Sales opportunities & brand awareness
As a startup, we found the Alpha and Beta programs extremely useful. Not only do they give you cheaper tickets, but they also come with an exhibition booth for one day. Even though our booth was really small, we found that a lot of people actually take their time to walk through the exhibition and approach startups that sound interesting to them. We made a bunch of great contacts during the day. Also, make sure you apply for the startup activations as they call them at Web Summit. We took part in a Showcase where we presented Gleap on one of the startup stages and in the 40 words challenge, which is a short video of up to 40 words that is played on selected screens throughout the conference. If you’re currently raising money make sure to also check out the startup pitches and apply.
4. Meet investors
Probably the most common reason to attend Web Summit is to connect with potential investors. Be it because you are looking to raise a round in the near future, because you’re interested in their portfolio of companies or just because you want to get yourself out there for future reference; make sure you target the right investors and arrange a meeting in advance. On that note, finding a quiet spot at Web Summit can be quite the difficult task so either check out the startup lounge or get a spot at an exhibition stand provided by your government.
5. Connect with potential partners
Think resellers, implementers or integrators. Web Summit is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of different companies in one place. Build relationships with companies that can act as multipliers for your own growth. Again, I would suggest browsing through the attending companies in advance. I know I’ve said this before, but remember: preparation is key.
Who should attend Web Summit?
- Early-stage startups, currently raising money
- Angel investors
- Technology enthusiasts
- Entrepreneurs who primarily sell their product to other software companies
On a final note, let’s not forget about the Night Summit. Make sure you also enjoy yourself and check out the amazing parties after a day of busy conferencing.