Flashbacks from Web Summit 2015
The main reason for attending the Web Summit was to introduce our new mapping product Mapotic, as well as to receive feedback from the community and investors. Secondly, conferences are always a good place for networking, building new relations and business connections. After all, it’s exciting to see thousands of start-ups in one place and hear global tech superstars discussing the future of the whole industry. At the speakers list were top representatives from Facebook, Slack, Tinder, Uber, HyperLoop, Atlassian - but basically you name it and they were there.
We travelled by plane in a group of four and arrived in Dublin one day before the conference. Our exhibition stand was booked for the first day of the three-day event. So, early in the morning, we headed to the Builders hall of the huge Royal Dublin Society site. No surprise that the place was huge; it hosted more than 2,000 start-ups and 30,000 visitors. When we seen our stand at the very back of the hall, we were worried whether people will come that far. But shortly after opening the gates, it was clear that there wouldn’t be problem with a lack of people.
The exhibition stand was (as supposed) tiny and the whole Web Summit place started to feel incredibly crowded. On the largest screen we had brought with us from Prague (all the screens for rent were booked long before the conference had even started), we launched the nifty animation crafted by DRAWetc creative agency. After settling up the stand with a few smaller screens and improving it with home made DIY map marker, we were ready to welcome the first few curious visitors.
The pain of the event - and probably one of the reasons why it’s moving to Lisbon next year - was an unstable internet connection. Although possible WIFI problems were announced and known about in advance, many online products and start-ups had difficulties as they couldn’t showcase their products live. That being said, considering we used offline animation, we were able to show only the homepage of Swimplaces and Vozejkmap. Thousands of the crowd sourced locations in the both projects were attracting the attention enough. So, our team spent most of the day pitching the product in the front of the stand.
The plain fact about such a huge conference is, because you are one of thousands of start-ups, you can hardly expect that the right investors will find your stand accidentally. Most of the meetings need to be arranged in advance through existing contacts, partners and recommendations. And that’s also how we got our most interesting leads and connections; sometimes we visited the investor lounge and talked to really interesting people.
So we’ve decided to build new product called Mapotic, an universal mapping platform for everyone and on Web Summit, we want to generate feedback from the tech community and investors. And by the way, with our little demo at websummit.mapotic.com, we are going to map a few of Dublin bars too. See you on Web Summit Pub Crawl.
At the end of the day, we were wasted from pitching, handing out dozens of flyers, exchanging cards, etc. We made some interesting contacts in the world wide network of entrepreneurs, enthusiasts and a couple of VC’s too. The conclusion and precious feedback we received was that a significant part of the interest was aimed at using the solution and knowing how to solve particular industry needs. So, besides people interested in Mapotic itself, we’ve gained a couple of custom development leads too. The next step for Mapotic will be to arrange a couple more meetings with people and companies, which want to invest and choose the best strategy of how to deliver this to the market in 2016. One of the smart ways, without spending millions on the development and marketing, will be to leverage those industry specific inquires and use parts of the system and know how for building the product we’ve dreamt up. Another way would be to use the venture capital, share the piece of the cake with investors and see whether or not it would be a hit. For more info, check Mapotic’s website and Twitter account.
Generally, Web Summit reminded us of a huge tech carnival. The most visible trends were virtual and augmented reality, internet of things & automatization, cloud based services, drones and health apps, which had their own dedicated summit streets. We are still working on opportunities we found and evaluating what the next steps will be. We will let you know, so stay tuned.