Inside the Web Summit – The Mecca for Startups

Authors: Kilian Moser & Michael Wax

“Europe is a slacker with low expectations, held back by a poor work ethic and held back by politicians who strangle technological progress.” Peter Thiel

The Konux booth at the Web Summit.
The Konux booth at the Web Summit.

These were the words of the last speaker at this year’s Web Summit, Peter Thiel. After seeing more than 500 Startups that were, with a large majority, also from Europe, he had to agree though that the present crowd is not representative for his accusation. In eleven different summits, or interest areas, different companies presented their product, trained their elevator pitches in front of investors or tried to launch their latest app at the 5th Web Summit between Nov.4th-6th 2014 in Dublin. This years’ summits covered marketing, machine (IoT), builder and enterprise products but also managed to show during the night summit that networking is not a pure 9-5 activity. All of this was riddled with speakers representing the crème de la crème of founders, researchers and thought leaders. Brendan Iribe (Oculus VR), Mark Pincus (Zynga), Drew Houston (Dropbox) and many more were sharing experiences, insights, lessons and their opinion about the future. The CDTM was represented by three of its young startups. Shotnote, a location based photo sharing app with discovery function, VoLo, a last mile delivery service, and KONUX, a sensor company with the vision to accelerate the Industry 4.0, were all granted in the ALPHA program, which allows to exhibit their venture on one of the conference days to the audience. Nils Ziehn (Shotnote), Konstantin Mehl (VoLo), Michael Wax (Konux) and Kilian Moser (CDTM) were all equally impressed by the tedious preparation and degree of perfection the team around Paddy Cosgrave has shown. This goes from an astonishing culinary supply by the food summit to great pub-crawls and advisor sessions with senior Google staff. The Web Summit proved to be THE event for technology driven startups and offers a platform to benchmark, exhibit and market your company that is hardly seen anywhere else. Finally yet importantly, Dublin offers an excellent venue for such an event, given its worldwide popularity, mainly driven by the extensive history of beverage production. Most important though to bear in mind for everyone planning to attend in the future is exhaustive preparation! 22,000 people are a lot and you most definitely won’t stumble across your target if you do not plan meetings and talks beforehand. Be sure that competition is tough and other startups do not take any chance to be second if it comes to innovative and creative marketing ideas that make their stand the most exciting to visit.

Laura is part of the Management Team at CDTM. With a background in economics, cultural and political science, she is interested in societal aspects of technology as well as bridging the gap between sustainability issues and tech innovation. She is conducting her research in the field of Entrepreneurship Education at the Max-Planck-Institut for Innovation and Competition.