It seems so long ago since we were gluing together our prototype CubeSensors for The Summit in a Dublin hotel room, after a missed flight, an unplanned detour in London, and 3 nerve-wracking security checks. Since then, we’ve gotten our hands covered in glue on a regular basis during the production of our very first batch of cubes, marvelled at the mysteries of logistics and shipping, won some high profile awards, and got to see first hand why hardware is called hard for a thousand reasons.
How did The Summit help us on this journey? The fact that Dublin is on the same continent as Ljubljana enabled most of our core team to join the trip. Each day at The Summit we were able to test our physical limits by entertaining visitors from our STARTglobal stand #192, and also around the entire Dublin venue.
Painful backs (it just being days after the marathon for one team member) and sore throats aside, it was a great opportunity for a hardware startup like ours to see how 10,000 Summit attendees reacted to our product. We used the opportunity to place our Cubes into as many hands as we could, observe the reactions, fine-tune our pitch. In such an event you really start to see what works and what doesn’t, you start to see the areas that people react well to. For a hardware startup, this is almost as good as sending out beta invites over the web.
It was extremely valuable to observe the first hand reaction The Summit attendees had to our product while also making new connections with investors, media, and other startups. It was great for teamwork too, nothing brings a team together like gluing together the prototypes late at night in a Dublin hotel room over a beer!
The only opportunity we missed was the fact that we didn’t have the product ready for sale right there and then. Some crucial advice: If you’re a hardware startup with a product that fits into your suitcase, do make sure you have some to sell with you!
Besides the pitching, The Summit was also a chance to catch up with existing contacts and make new connections that opened up various opportunities. We made a few friends over the famous Irish beer, and, most importantly, we have gained additional visibility that has helped us enter into future events and be taken seriously by the media. After all, where else in Europe do you get a chance to do a video pitch for the Wall Street Journal?
At the end of two very intense Summit days, we returned home minus one Cube (we still think about you, prototype Cube #53!), but with many valuable lessons and business cards that have helped us on our journey over the last 5 months.
Alja Isakovic is the Community Manager at Cubesensors, as well as a tech blogger, startup mentor and Rails Girls organiser. If you would like to join Alja and 20,000 others at The Summit in Dublin from November 4-6, you can sign up for a 2 for 1 discount voucher here.