The Summit has benefited me since it started, not just the last event, but every event. I’ve been at every event except for START in San Francisco. It’s been great for inspiration – seeing all the big names in tech in Dublin, seeing them face to face, meeting these people, having them influence you and increase your own ambitions. It gives you the feeling that being from Ireland we could play on the same field as some of the brightest tech minds
For myself and Scurri, closing the round was huge. We’ve been looking for the right investors for some time and now we’ve got a unique bunch that we feel is really good for us. That’s been the highlight of the last while, and the negotiation for that was going on at The Summit. The cash from investors has also allowed us to take on some new staff on the development side and the sales/marketing side to reinforce the team.
We’re really being recognised now, even though we haven’t been marketing our product up to now. The industry in the UK is getting to know us and we’re constantly getting calls, even though we haven’t really marketed the product yet to any degree – but word of mouth is helping us meet customers.
The Summit was great for meeting people, I met some of the top Irish guys, Pat Phelan, Mark Little among others. I also met one of the guys from the New York Times as well as numerous others. I spent a lot of time with VC’s that we were in negotiations with at the time, and that ensured that deals were done quicker.
While planning is vital, there is also a spontaneity about the whole event, I had pre-arranged things, but I also bumped into a lot of VC’s from firms like DFJ Esprit, also Notion. These were people I had bumped in to or pitched to before, and they were all there, and delighted to hear what we were doing, and looking for an update. With VC’s it is vital to continue relationships, you cant just bump into them once and then expect them to fund you, you usually have to meet them a couple of times over time. So having that opportunity to bump into people and renew their interests was brilliant.
What advice would I give to startups ahead of The Summit 2014? The main thing I would tell them is make sure to plan for the event in advance. I was lucky in the early days when we had a stand there and it was just us and about 25 or so other startups. Last year it was far more competitive on the floor, so you need to plan and target who you want to meet. There are more people, but that means there are also more opportunities, so you have to plan well in advance who to approach, pitch to and the likes.
Decide what you want to do, what you want to get out of it, who you want to meet – and then you have to target them. You might have got away with it a year or two ago just turning up and having a great experience. I think to have a great experience you need to plan it, and be prepared to make an investment of time, go through the list of whose coming, pick out who you’d like to target, see how you can differentiate yourself on the floor. Obviously there are a lot of people on the floor interested.
Avail of all the opportunities, things like meetings with VC’s, particular events, apply for START, definitely do something like the Spark of Genius competition and that’s the way to get noticed.
Rory O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Scurri, an intelligent e-commerce delivery solution, who recently received €1.2 million in their second seed funding round. Rory has attended every large event run by The Summit since 2010, with the exception of START San Francisco. If you’d like to join Rory and 20,000 others at The Summit from November 4-6, you can sign up for a 2 for 1 discount code here.