Was it better than Dublin?

That is the first question I have been asked since returning from Web Summit Lisbon. And as patriotic as I am, I have to admit defeat to the beautiful city of Lisbon.

The weather. The people. The venue. The infrastructure. The prices. The food. The craic. Yep. The craic was mighty too.

But for a young company going to Web Summit looking to meet potential clients and investors; was it worth it?

The simple answer is, YES.

Below is a brief summary of how WebSummit fared for us and may be helpful for any startup thinking of going to WebSummit in the future.

 

1. Have a plan

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. After reading some great articles on how to make the most out of conferences, none were better than Simon Cockings ‘How to Crack the Web Summit 2016‘. We followed Simon’s advice pretty much word for word before we set foot on Portuguese soil.

 

2. What do you want to achieve by attending Web Summit?

One of the first questions we asked ourselves was ‘what did we want to achieve by attending Web Summit?’.

Our answer was three-fold:

  1. Meet customers
  2. Meet investors
  3. Brand awareness

And with these three objectives in mind, we devised a plan to maximise our time there.

 

3. Arrange a tonne of meetings

We identified potential customers and investors and reached out to them on all channels. Web Summit App, Twitter, LinkedIn, Email etc.

Meeting these potential customers and investors would also help promote our brand, so were happy we had a solid plan before we left Ireland.

We arrived in Lisbon with 30 meetings already arranged over the three days.

 

4. Apply to pitch

As Paddy Cosgrave states himself “If you are looking for investment, have a plan to pitch. Keep your story to a sentence that encompasses the nature of what you are doing and why it is important. Rehearse and anticipate questions.”

Unfortunately, we were too late to apply to pitch. We missed out on a great opportunity to reach a larger audience. Don’t make the same mistake we did. Apply to pitch.

 

5. Get a booth

We honestly didn’t know what to expect when we bought the booth space. We had seen in previous years in Dublin, start-ups being squashed into a tiny area which was both uncomfortable to present in and unattractive for any potential client/investor to walk through.

Luckily for us, Lisbon was spacious, bright and we had a booth right out in the open where anyone who wanted to go to the MoneyConf stage would have to pass by our booth.

This was our first time representing Leveris at any conference and having the booth enabled us to share our story with a wide range of people as well as meet anyone who was interested in Fintech.

 

websummit lisbon booth

The calm before the storm – Conor and I waiting for the masses to arrive.

 

6. Have a demo

A picture paints a thousand words. It is all well and good telling someone what your product or service does, it’s even better to show them. Having a working demo or prototype helps tell your story as well as showing potential customers/investors what exactly you do and how your product or service would benefit them and their customers.

Our demo does all the talking for us. It gives the wow factor and anyone who sees it is truly blown away. It’s the best sales tool we have.

 

7. Download Google Maps offline

You’re going to be walking and getting the metro around Lisbon for a full week. Make life a hell of a lot easier for yourself and download an offline version of Lisbon before you go. This was a life saver. We would never have found half the after parties without Google Maps. Don’t miss out on free food or drink. Download Google Offline maps.

 

8. Bring deodorant

Yep. You are going to sweat. We certainly did. You’ll be talking to new people all day long. Some of these people will ask questions that you don’t know the answer to. You’ll be put on the spot so unless you are a natural born entertainer or know all the answers, bring deodorant to save some potential clients of unpleasant smells. A spray every now and then will be greatly appreciated by all.

 

9. Go to some talks.

If you created a plan then most of your days will be occupied going to and from said meetings. Take time out to see some talks that interest you. After all, you are there to see what is going on in your industry but also what is happening in others.

I only managed to see 5 talks over the 3 days. Some were good, others were generally CEO’s talking about their companies and not answering the questions put to them. Which was quite disappointing. If I wanted to find out about a company I would check out their ‘about us’ page.

But some of the space exploration and hyperloop talks were mind blowing. It’s a great opportunity to have a look into the future that may not be that far off.

 

10. Follow-up

We got back last Friday absolutely destroyed. It took us the whole weekend to recover from the week. The combination of walking anywhere and everywhere, talking all day long, and drinking some fizzy drinks every night really adds up. Especially if you are not used to it.

We have spent the last few days following up anyone we met at Web Summit. This is a very important step. Probably the most important. Follow up with everyone even though you may think that they may not fit into your customer/investor/partner box.

We met lots of people who were at web summit representing companies that had no connection with fintech or banking but who had contacts or partners in that area.

Follow up with everyone and thank them for their time and see if there is anything you can do to develop a relationship or help them in any way.

 


Summary

All in all Web Summit was a great investment for us. We met lots of people we would not have had the chance to meet in Ireland or the UK.

We promoted Leveris to over 53,000 people for the price of a booth. When you think about it, that’s a bargain.

And lastly, we made some great friends that in the future could be very valuable to us.

Everything except the broadband was exceptional. But that was kind of expected. The people, the food, the venue, the transport, the parties and the sunshine made Web Summit 2016 a joy to attend.

We’ll be going back next year for sure.