By Kate Hogan:

For the second Europass event Startup Lighthouse attended the Web Summit in Lisbon, a three day, four evening conference. This is a conference that Forbes magazine has called “the best technology conference on the planet”, with approximately 70,000 attendees – it is certainly on a grand scale. Altogether 3 members of the Startup Lighthouse team along with 12 startups (a least one deriving from each of the 2018 Deep Dive Weeks) joined us at the conference.

Landing in Lisbon

For those arriving in Lisbon the day before the opening of the conference, an informal meal was held in the Mercado da Ribeira/TimeOut Market. Though a small cohort, it was great to catch up with the startups and meet the Digital4Her competition winner Amelia Santos of Innuos. Who landed in Lisbon? Scroll all the way down to see the list of the 12 startups winning access to event and the overall activities or better… festivities. On Monday the 5th, with the conference not beginning until later that evening, we attended with fellow Startup Europe project MY-GATEWAY an introductory session to each other and Web Summit. A quick networking session followed with many interesting discussions taking place.

Deep Tech Workshop organised by the European Commission or how to get funding for your startup

While some startups attended the Opening Ceremony of the Web Summit, others stayed for the Deep Tech Workshop hosted by Senior Policy Officer Massimiliano Dragoni on behalf of Startup Europe.

Mr Dragoni presented a few open calls relevant for Deep Tech startups: Robotics, Data markets and the data economy, CNext Generation Internet. Most importantly he tried to elaborate different ways that startups could participate in the calls: either as consortium members, solution developers or scaling up the developed solutions with real customers. The intention of the session is to present startups the different possibilities and also learn from their feedback in order to design calls so they are more appealing to startups.

With this in mind, two speakers were invited to share their experiences with EC calls: Firstly, Michiel Leenars of the Netherlands based nlnet spoke about helping to fund organisations that are contributing to a more open society and digital world.

Michiel Leenars implores us to improve the state of the internet through openness

This was followed by an in depth discussion from our host Massimiliano Dragoni on how future funding will work and what areas it will impact. We learned though the funding is not only there to promote Research and development as well as entrepreneurship in Europe but that it will also help to create universal standards, ascertain better legal certainty and help foster talent development through more a more targeted structure. This was followed by an overview from Robert Kaluza of Billon Group on the way Blockchain can help against legacy IT and the virtues of EU Funding. An attempt to regroup at the Irish event back at the Web Summit was replaced with a quick dinner with MY-GATEWAY and an early night in preparation for the first day of Web Summit.

Presentations from the session remain available here and all are invited to attend further info days at Vienna ICT 2018 Conference.

Day 1: Participate, listen, engage

With doors open 8.45 and most talks not starting until 10.15, there was a good chance to absorb the scale of the event and to get one’s bearings. With nothing but a photo call at 1pm with MY-GATEWAY, startups were free to participate in workshops and forums, listen to talks, engage with other startups and enact the game plan for the event. Some interesting talks included Brand value in the digital economy by Nigel Morris (Dentsu Aegis), a discussion on the future of Venture Capital with Trae Vassallo ( and Greg Sands (Costanoa Ventures) and the debate between Ross Mason (MuleSoft, Dig Ventures), Julie Devonshire (The Entrepreneurship Institute) and Bobby Healy (CarTrawler) “Sell your story: Pitching in 2018.”

Rebuilding trust in a fake news world: John Saunders, CEO, Fleishman Hillard

That evening the Startup Lighthouse group met for a nice meal to network, share what they had done and discovered over the day and to decompress.

Day 2: Common startup mistakes and how to avoid them

Day 2 started off similarly with another photo call again scheduled for 1pm. This was a key feature to the conference days for as well as getting a photographic record of attendees, it was good chance for startups to touch base with the SL team and see if any help or direction was needed.

Startup Lighthouse, and My Gateway meet up on Day for a quick catch up

Day 2 culminated with European Startup & Scale-up Night hosted by the Teamleader, European Startup and Flanders Investment & Trade.To kick the event off we learned about the most common mistakes that startups make and how to avoid them from Robin Geers and Jeroen De Wit. This was followed by a lively debate and discussion about scaling internationally from Teamleader, Startup Lighthouse’s Sanctifly, Hubb and Jungle AI. This was followed by both a timetabled and informal networking session.

Karl Llewellyn, CEO of Sanctifly explains how he has scaled his business on an international level

Day 3: Accomplish your goals

On the final day, day 3 of the conference our startups arrived with a focus on accomplishing their remaining goals. We met for a last 1pm photo call and the day was spent talking to potential clients, partners and investors and fitting in a pitch or two! In fact Deep Dive Week Lisbon Alumnus and Europass attendee CryptoProfiler was a joint winner of the Accenture Fintech Pitch Competition. The whole week was capped off by the last Night Summit event of the conference and a casual traditional Portuguese meal.

Gino Wirthensohn, CEO of CryptoProfiler, gives a winning pitch at the Accenture Fintech Pitch competition

Lessons learned aka “Being alone at such conferences sucks”

After our second Europass, one of the key lessons we are learning is the value of a shared community when attending conferences such as this. Each startup has their own specific goal, but in a way most of these overlap – they are all looking for amongst others potential partners, investors and clients. After a long day spent pursuing these aims, they can then feel secure that they have the support network of the Startup Lighthouse team – both consortium partners and fellow startups – to discuss the day’s events and future strategies.

Simon Litvinov (PRNS), Lewize Crothers (Exit Entry), Antoine Zenié (ULTRA IoT), Gino Wirthensohn (CryptoProfiler), Paul Chipault (Capte), Frederik Westerouen van Meeteren (anyThing Connected), Ina Samovich (CopPay), Karl Llewellyn (Sanctifly), Brendan O’Brien (Think Smarter Analytics), Alan Dormer (Black Bear Software), Amelia Santos (Innuos), Andrei Matusevich (NeoSound)

In their own words

In what can sometimes be a lonely and challenging journey, a huge thank you! Startup Lighthouse coordinated a terrific 4 days activity in great company, inspiring, encouraging and guiding us all to do more, better.

Karl Llewellyn, Founder of Sanctifly

Startup Lighthouse mission at Web Summit

From DDW Dublin – Travel Tech

From DDW Baltics – Blockchain 

From DDW Berlin – Industrial IoT

From DDW Lisbon – Analytics & Data

Bonus from Digital4Her Conference

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