It’s massive. No doubt about it. Web Summit is the biggest startup event in Europe, attracting tens of thousands of attendees. Startups, investors, Fortune500 CEOs, celebrities and international media gathers to Dublin, Ireland this November, perhaps for the last time.
The event has grown from 400 to 22,000 attendees in just a couple of years, and this year the number of visitors is expected to surpass 30,000. Packed with thousands of startups exhibiting and pitching, 1000 speakers sharing their stories, hundreds and hundreds of investors looking to find the next big thing, as a single startup attending it may sound overwhelming. And frankly, it is. So in order for you to be able to maximize your efforts and ROI while attending Web Summit, you need to plan ahead. We’ll give you a couple of valuable tips on the planning in this article.
21 Side Summits
As Web Summit scales up in the size, it helps you to manage the event better by hosting various industry specific Summits, where you are able to see and meet the key people from your particular industry. Often these are split into smaller tracks so it’s easier to choose the right content. Some are standalone summits within the main event and some happen outside it. And as the list is quite long, here’s few picks, and you can find more info on all summits at the website.
Startup Summit is focused on inspiring and educating young startups and entrepreneurs.
Investor Summit connects the entire investor ecosystem by gathering world’s leading angels, VCs and M&A specialists.
Accelerator Summit brings together 150 leading figures from the world’s top accelerators and incubators.
Code Summit gathers some of the most exciting developers, futurists and data scientists from around the world.
HealthTech Summit brings together the industry’s leading figures alongside the most disruptive startups from bioinformatics, medical diagnostics, fitness and healthcare.
Sport Summit will tackle everything from its social impact to how the business of sport has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
Data Summit is the place to explore the latest developments and most interesting applications of data science to date.
Machine Summit addresses the impact this connected ‘Internet of Things’ age will have on our lives. Drones, robots, wearables and so on.
Money Summit has six highly focused tracks and discussions with Fintech leaders on issues driving payments and financing services
Music Summit brings artists, producers & managers defining the next generation of music together with entrepreneurs & innovators commercialising them.
And the fun part of Summits:
Night Summit The night before Web Summit, November 2, Night Summit kicks off with an opening party in Dublin city centre. It continues with a series of events after each conference day, before closing with another party on November 5.
Pub Summit On the opening night, November 2, Web Summit takes 5,000 attendees on Pub Crawls. If you were in Dublin last year, you might even have spotted Bono leading a group to his favourite pubs in Dublin.
Surf Summit Sligo, November 6-8. Surf Summit is an intimate gathering of people who love tech and the outdoors. Most attendees won’t go surfing, but you can bet the many pro-surfers attending will take to some of the biggest waves in the world each day.
And here few tips for Web Summit
1. Prepare well. Extremely well. Have goals. Specific goals you can measure. Especially for the daytime. You can loosen up in the evening, but during the day stay focused. You are on a mission.
2. Prepare hard. Study the venue map in advance. Identify the investors you want to meet, not the biggest and most famous ones, but those who actually invest into your industry and your region. If you want publicity, research which participating reporters cover your industry or region. Locate the entrance of the investor and media lounges on the map and memorize it, that’s where you need to spend a chunk of your time. If you get in those lounges, stay there after your meeting. Understand that moving from one part of the conference to another will eat your precious time.
3. Prioritize. Understand that you cannot meet everyone from your list of favorites. You need just that one perfect match to make your day, it’s worth a lot more than fifty business cards from some random attendees. But keep in mind that sometimes great things happen by random.
4. Limit. Pick just 2-3 speaker sessions per day. Those you really want to see & hear. Spend the rest of the day on a prowl for the right contacts you have come there for. Unless of course you go there just to be inspired, then by all means, sit and listen all day long. But if you go there to do business, control your urge to see that and that and that and that speaker. Also limit the time you spend with each new contact during the day, no matter how well you hit it off. Catch up with your new best friend later in the bar.
5. Engage. Start conversations. Tweet to person you want to meet beforehand. Ask questions during the speeches. Offer your help. Connect people.
6. Prepare to have fun. It’s not only about business, it’s about the people too. In the evenings set yourself on the party-networking-animal mode. Don’t stay at your hotel room, go out to the countless pubs filled with countless like minded people. Talk to strangers, buy them a beer, tell them great stories of your homeland, ask about theirs, make friends. Sleep when you get back home.
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