As announced previously, we were at the Dublin Web Summit those last days. Fresh from the Airport, I tried to put some feedback about it. Which is not that easy, mainly because...
The Web Summit is a big event. Like, mind bogglingly big. There was more than 250 startups exhibiting (and dozens of bigger companies), more than 200 speakers and probably 3000 attendees. All of it in a very central space, with the various rooms on each edge.
The size also meant that the space dedicated for every startup was quite small. We were lined up one after the others, and should your neighbour have a visit, they would probably extends unto your booth. Our neighbours were pleasant, so this was not a real problem.
Having a booth is really a must, as it get you attention (even shared with 249 others).
But the booth means that you will probably stay there most of the time (you do not want someone to pass by when you are out - not sure they will pass a second time), which was a pity, as it meant missing most (almost all) talks. The speaker lineup was impressive, but I suppose we’ll have to wait for a year without a booth to enjoy it.
More than 100 startups (out of 1000 submissions) took part of the Spark of Genius competition. Although Christophe delivered a good pitch, winning the attention from one speaker afterward, the competition was really fierce, with a lot of ideas, most of them delivered in a high quality manner.
Congratulation to the winner, SmartThings!
Something important (and normally quite visible from the website) is that the WebSummit is significantly startup oriented. So, if your product can appeal to startups, you really have to be there (the bigger players were well aware of this, with startup oriented offers, from advices to services or products). If not, you’ll probably not meet a lot of prospects there.
The good part is that where you find startups, you also find investors. Contacts were organized between startups and investors, and while the time was quite limited, it was really valuable to us.
What I keep
The most important part stay the same: this kind of event may not be the place to sell your product, but it is an incredible space to get feedback on it. We pitched Sybil to hundreds of persons, from investors to developers, from press to fellows founders. Each of them listened and gave back some feedback.
When we finally had a little time to rest (and sort the business cards - you meet so much people that if you do not do that the same evening, you’ll forget most of the very valuable context), Christophe and I did realize that the honest, genuine questions or remarks of those people that just learned about our company and product forced us to rethink some aspects of our product and business. Or at least, to reopen some doors we decided to close weeks or months ago.
We are always advised to “get out of the building” to learn. It is quite nice when the whole building moves to see you.
And there are also all those founders, all those companies, all this energy poured into creating something new, which is really invigorating.