We launched Sprint CV in 2018 and being at the Web Summit 2019 was a dream since the beginning. We were proud to be selected to join this year, as part of their Alpha program. Expectations aside, I am here to tell you first hand our experience at this year’s edition.
The last minute “invitation”
First of all, let us say that we knew exactly the event’s dates but, due to the costs, we have decided not to attend at first. To our surprise, one week before the registrations end date, we were contacted by Ricardo Lima, Head of Startups at Web Summit, to apply. I tend to never close a door before checking what’s behind it, so I thought…why not?
We registered on the October 23rd and scheduled an evaluation call for the day after. To hit the ground running, we made a mistake: we are in Belgium so we immediately thought it was scheduled for Belgium time zone, so we missed the call :). Luckily, Ricardo was very helpful and rescheduled our call for the Monday after.
In this 20 minute call we had the opportunity to share our story, outcomes, drawbacks and lessons learned. Ricardo then told us we were qualified for the Alpha programme and that would be a pleasure to have us on board! But, at what price? Well, the Alpha programme costs 1000 € – which includes 3 tickets for the team and one day at a designated booth. Since we are based in Lisbon, we also had a 50% discount given by Startup Portugal. This was a no brainer for us and we immediately accepted – which was good, since the applications would close the day after.
Last minute portuguese style event preparation
Applying one day before the deadline gave us no time to apply to the pitch, prepare presentation and videos. Also, preparing all marketing material was a race against time – we had nothing prepared since this was our first event. Luckily, our material arrived exactly 24 hours before we were supposed to be at the booth. In addition, I had to skip the first two days of the event due to family reasons, and after all family always comes first, so we also had to change our booth day to November 6th.
Booth day and all the craziness of the event
We arrived at the venue at 8am and had everything set and ready to roll at 8.30am. Until around 10.30am we just mingled with other companies’ teams, since there were almost no visitors. But little did we know this was just the calm before the storm 🙂
After that, everybody came to the area: potential users that asked for information and help, investors that challenged our ideas, potential company clients interested in the service and even students that asked us to help with their CV. At 4.20pm we realised we didn’t have a minute to stop, have some water and food or even to go to the toilet! But hey, that’s part of the process right? 🙂 Thanks to the M&Ms we had for visitors, we managed to get our energy going. Then, we stayed until 7pm networking and planning future partnerships.
On the last day of the event, we returned to our “visitor” role, which meant continue to build our network and let people know about Sprint CV. The clock was ticking, so we made sure we made the best of it. This included scheduling meetings and contact relevant people through the event’s app.
Outcomes and lessons learned
We couldn’t be happier about our presence at the Web Summit 2019! One of the main reasons is because we actually met people that we were trying to reach for months! This was the proof that this event is great for networking – and you should take time to plan it well. It’s also a great place to validate your ideas and products, ask for feedback and get great insights. We’ve meet a LOT of interesting people that will connect us with other relevant people – this is really speed-networking on steroids.
We hope that next year we will be present at the event with more and better preparation. There are some of the key advices we took from this experience:
- Carefully plan your days and define what you want to achieve in each one of them;
- Decide what’s best for your business – more talks or more networking?
- Look for the people you want to meet and schedule meetings with them as soon as possible;
- Make sure you apply for the challenges at the event, such as pitch to investors;
Overall feedback of the Web Summit
Our overall feedback of the event is very good as we mentioned and one great positive point is that everything runs like a swiss clock. These are our two cents one what should be improved:
- Event app could have a map so you can find booths at the venue. With information like the location, which pavilion and when each startup is there;
- Event app chat really needs to improve, since this is the main tool for networking. It works bad specially in Android devices;
Thank you all that organised and participated at the Web Summit 2019! We hope to see you next year! 🙂
Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.
Founder of Sprint CV