The largest summit for technology, entrepreneurship and innovation in the world has ended last Thursday but, for a lot of startups, the ending might just have been the beginning.
Networking with investors, a pitch contest with 200 competing projects, hundreds of people day after day attending the conferences, the different stands… The Web Summit was anything but a quiet event. But what assessment do Portuguese companies make of their participation in the largest technology and entrepreneurial event in the world?
Gema Digital, Landing.Jobs, Chilltime, Wisecrop and Facestore were five of the 66 projects selected for the summit, through the Road 2 Web Summit, and spoke to ECO about their experience at the event. Landing.Jobs and Wisecropp participated in the pitch contest, but none went through to the finale.
Pedro Moreira, Landing.Jobs
“With the event, we were able to connect with clients from many different countries and, of course, expose ourselves to new investors. We had around ten meetings with national and international investors, and we are preparing for a future round of investments”, is what the CTO of Landing.Jobs, an online recruitment platform.
On Wednesday, the second day of the event, Landing.Jobs held a stand in a FIL pavilion. Most of the startups attending the Web Summit were already their clients because Landing.Jobs is not only a recruiting agency specialized in tech jobs. “We are the Web Summit’s partners for hiring and recruiting their team in Portugal, and that has been a very positive process for our team”, he explains to ECO.
This is an event the CTO considers to be worthwhile. “The Web Summit brings together in one place people with a lot of experience, and the possibility each startup has of meeting their mentor and having the know-how, is valuable”, he adds.
Tiago Sá, Wisecrop
Tiago Sá is the CEO of Wisecrop, an operating system to help guide farmers through every season of the year. The Web Summit allowed them to connect with their aim investors and clients and also to “see what is being done” in the area.
The first day of the Web Summit was entirely focused on the team’s stand. “We really wanted people to get to know us, and I believe every interested party came and spoke to us. Everything was very well organized and, overall, the event exceeded our expectations”, Tiago Sá adds.
As far as Wisecrop’s CEO is concerned, this kind of event depends on what stage of the business the entrepreneurs are in – because it is so highly focused on technology – but, even so, he makes a positive review of the summit. “We were able to have the visibility we aimed for, and we have scheduled some meetings”, he concluded.
Mafalda Ricca, Gema Digital
Gema Digital is a tech company that combines creativity, design and audiovisual components for brands and companies, and it is a part of the ScaleUp Porto project. Mafalda Ricca is the head of the company, and she believes the Web Summit met her expectations and she considers the business sector from the North region of Portugal was “well represented”.
“Going to the Web Summit was very much worthwhile, our assessment is very positive. We had many business opportunities”, she explains. The Web Summit app worked “very well” and it was possible to schedule some meetings with investors during the event.
The stand for Gema Digital at the summit was visited by the Portuguese prime minister António Costa and by João Vasconcelos, state secretary for Industry.
“This type of event is very rewarding and companies who aim to have visibility, mostly at an international level, must be present. Networking is very important, but one must keep in mind that being at the Web Summit is an immense investment”, Mafalda Ricca adds.
Daniel Vila Boa, Chilltime
Chilltime is a startup for creating online games with thousands of other players in the world and sharing opinions and strategies. According to Daniel Vila Boa, the head of the startup, the Web Summit went well for the Portuguese startups in general.
“There are many components to the event, and on the days we were not displaying our company, we were networking with people from venture capital and Sillicon Valley”, Daniel Vila Boa explains to ECO.
As far as the head of the company is concerned, the Web Summit is worth going to even if you cannot have a stand for your company. “The event pays-off the money you invested. You are able to set up meetings in a short amount of time and the fact that everyone there is a tech startup allowed for an exchange of information, and it helped us get ideas for new projects”, Daniel Vila Boa added.
Paulo Solinho Barbosa, Facestore
Facestore started in 2015 as a spin-off of Visualwork. Paulo Solinho Barbosa is the head of the company and this was the second time his startup attended the Web Summit. But the Lisbon edition “completely surpassed our expectations”.
“Our assessment was extremely positive, whether through meetings we had with investors or with companies that presented themselves as our future partners. On the day we were on display, our stand was always full, and we almost lost our voices from talking to so many people”, Paulo Solinho Barbosa explained.
The overall assessment is positive and participating in the Web Summit is “important”, although not equally for all startups. “Every startup faces a different reality and it depends on the goals they set for their attendance. I have had meetings with some founders where they perceived going to the Web Summit as a mean to obtain traction, but as far as I see it, it is very unlikely that will happen”, he concluded.