The biggest annual event for #LTstartups is back to Vilnius on May 7-8. With quite a few things happening all at the same time, we drafted a loose guide to help you get the most of the event:
Use hashtags: #LOGIN2015 (more popular), #LOGIN15 (still used by some people)
Check website: http://www.login.lt/
Venue and logistics: http://www.login.lt/conference/about-conference/venue
Contact organizers: Names, responsibilities and contact details are listed here
Before the event decide on your end goal. Raising money, securing market access, gaining media attention, attracting a smart person to join your advisory board – whatever it is, make sure you know it.
After you are clear, make a battleplan. Login makes it easy to create your own program on their webpage: just tick the programme items you want to attend and print it out.
1. Prioritize your goals and choose one responsible team member for each goal. Everyone must know all company’s goals and responsible person for each of them. Once you are at the event, focus on your main goal, but remain alert for accidental opportunities relevant to other goals and direct information to responsible team meber.
If you are raising money to go to the US, it may help to have your CEO spend his time in pre-arranged meetings with potential investors, while your CMO attends LOGIN masterclass on scaling in the US by Mik Stroyberg and possibly comes back with practical ideas and intros to Mik’s connections. There are 12 thematic masterclasses at LOGIN this year, you can check them and sign up here. They even spared you the googling and provide descriptions of coaches, so you can know whose expertise and network is relevant to your business.
2. If you are one of the startups pitching at Login, this probably consumes most of your focus. We don’t want to discourage you if your main goal at the conference is media attention, however, if you are fundraising do not expect to strike a lot of deals just with your public pitch. Investors are people investing in other people, not slide decks. We would suggest you split your attention at least equally between public pitch and background meetings. LOGIN told us that attendees have already pre-arranged 213 meetings in their B2B meeting zone and the zone is also big enough to fit in some extra ad-hoc meetings.
Train the best public speaker to do the public pitch, while another team member focuses on scheduling meetings. If your best public speaker is the same person who should attend the meetings (the one you probably call CEO), stay calm as most investors will not arrange meetings during pitches anyway. However, having someone on your team research investors and arrange meetings for CEO is great help, particularly as LOGIN pitch contest has two rounds. LOGIN has made it easier for you by putting the names of main attending investors in one place.
3. Whatever your goal, use hashtag #LOGIN2015 (but also check #LOGIN15) to let others know that you will be there, why and how to reach you. We asked the organizers, they said that hashtags were adopted by visitors, so they use both. Currently #LOGIN2015 is used more actively. Check the hashtag regularly to see who else is coming and if they are relevant to you. Reach out (sending you-mail, not me-mail) and pre-arrange meetings with them.
Here is an example of joining the conversation on Twitter using conference hashtag: use a relevant picture (the pic here was relevant because of long lines for badges at Slush), add conference hashtag, company twitter handle and a call to action. Many post it from company profile, but we’d suggest that the person coming posts it personally, so people know whom to look for. You may be more specific at what you want (e.g., you can tweet directly to @arcticstartup inviting us to check your booth). There is a great post on using Twitter during conferences here.
4. Reach out to local community for to help. Startup Lithuania, Login organizers and Lithuanian startup communities can help you reach your goals, particularly if you help them reach theirs. From something as small as retweeting your tweet to as big as introducing you to the person you wanted to meet most, all is possible. Just make it clear that you are not just another startup kid bombarding everyone with the same pitch, but a mature founder with a clear goal who has done his homework.
If you are announcing a free trial of your data roaming app to everyone attending, mention @LOGinEvents and use hashtags #LTstartups, #LOGIN2015 in your tweet. If you are a local, contact the organizers and offer to take a visiting speaker to an unconventional lunch or a Lithuanian startup tour. Be brave, creative and useful.
5. About listening to speakers. You will definitely meet people who will tell you not to listen to any speakers and keep walking around doing business. While this is valid advice for folks who sit in the audience just because they are too shy to do the networking, there are ways to make listening to speakers useful for your business:
(1) select speeches relevant to your business. Relevant to business may mean an expert in your industry who can be a gateway to market access, an expert in a business area where you are struggling (e.g. marketing in the US), an investor who is on your target list and more.
During Login there is a speech on gaming by Peter Molyneux, a speech on audio/music by Nathan Schulhof, mobile cloud by Ondrej Plevka and many more. Check them, add them to your program and assign a responsible person to prepare and visit the speech.
(2) ask smart questions. Make sure the person responsible for listening the speech can formulate a lot of smart and creative questions and is sitting in the right spot to be noticed. Do NOT come in during the last minutes and ask prepared questions. The speaker may have already covered them and it will make you look bad. However, DO prepare questions that are relevant to you, listen to the speech and tailor them. Have the best question noted down and raise your hand confidently as soon as Q&A time opens. As you get the mic, state your first name and startup name, then concisely ask the question. Ideally, your question will demonstrate understanding of business, be relevant to the speech and give a signal to the audience about your goals at the conference.
If you are in mobile B2B cloud solution and want to work with IBM, you may want to ask Ondrej Plevka how to make IBM buy your service. So you may have noted down a draft question ‘What challenges is IBM facing in mobile could solutions?’. Then you listen to the speech and hear Ondrej actually reveal a list of challenges. You then alter your initial question and note down one challenge that you can best solve. When Q&A opens, you ask an open (not answerable with yes or no) clarifying question relevant to your product. For example, if you offer database as a service and one of IBM challenges was storing data, do not ask ‘Have you considered using database as a service to solve your challenge?’, ask ‘What are the best options you have considered for solving the data storing challenge?’ The answer will give useful advice the audience, while letting you know about the competition and making it easier to approach Ondrej later.
(3) tweet quotes: it is important not to overdo it here. The upside of tweeting quotes is that if the quote is good the official Twitter account of the conference (and other highly followed accounts) may retweet it and send traffic to your profile. The downside of tweeting too many medium quality quotes is that your account may look desperate for attention.
(4) meet the speaker after the talk: smaller conferences like LOGIN are good because you can actually talk to the speakers. If you have googled about what makes them tick and have asked a smart question before, it should be easy for you to strike up a conversation.
6. Get user feedback. Attendance to Login startup fair is free of cost this year. This raises the traffic of early adopters to your stand, particularly if you are B2C. This is a great chance to gather user feedback and grow userbase.
Uldis Leiterts, the founder of Latvian Infogr.am reflects on his experience during The Next Web (TNW) conference:
“I used TNW as an a/b test for our basic value preposition. I think I did about 200 1to1 demos of Infogr.am, some folks who saw it said ‘oh, I can also do this and that.’ Most of those desired features were not there yet. I collected massive feedback, gave away few hundreds of business cards and some of those folks still use infogr.am. So, conferences can be used for user tests. If the tech savvy crowd gets your product without you telling about it, there’s a chance you’re up to something.”
Just as startups, investors can also benefit from creating and printing a personalized schedule from LOGIN webpage. Just tick the program items that you want to attend and print your own program here.
1. Startups exhibiting and pitching at LOGIN. There will be 64 startups coming, 50 of them will have a demo booth and 33 will pitch during the pitch challenge. Organizers have conveniently organized them all here. Pitch challenge will have several semi-finals during the first day and final pitch challenge at 17:00 on May 8.
2. Use Twitter hashtag #LOGIN2015 (also check #LOGIN15). Most active teams will be tweeting about their intentions using this hashtag and it is a handy tool to join the conversation. If you are looking for investment targets in particular industry, tech or category, state it in a tweet.
‘Looking for great early-stage #fintech startups to invest in at #LOGIN2015, contact me to have a talk’
3. Check dealflow from Lithuania. Thanks to a guest post by TrackDuck founder Edmundas (Eddy) Balčikonis, all investors visiting LOGIN have access to a great list of dealflow from Lithuania with more than 30 startups looking for angel, seed and Series A investors here.
4. Check potential syndicate partners. National startup community platform Startup Lithuania has gathered a list of ecosystem players here. LOGIN organizers have conveniently listed attending investors here.
5. Reach out to organizers. LOGIN organizers are very responsive and if you reach out they can help you find the right deals, talk to the right people and visit the right places. You can also ask to share information (e.g., the tweet you composed earlier) with other attendees.
6. Check ArcticStartup guide to Lithuania. We had composed a great guide to Lithuania a while ago, listing major startup places, spots to work and meet up, investors and startup support initiatives. If you are staying longer, there are a few tips for visiting Kaunas as well. If you are making a tour around the Baltics, you may also want to see our guide to Latvia and Estonia.