How we select our startups

In 2016, our startups team communicated with 86,428 startups. 3,055 joined us at our events.

Our experienced team collectively spend 27,360 hours each year choosing the very best entrepreneurs to join us at our events, and we’re delighted that when people choose to join us, they often come back.

But there’s always been some startups who have told us they can’t make it. We looked into it, and the cost of bringing a team to an event was sometimes too much.

Entrepreneurs make up the lifeblood of our events, and we want to ensure that they always get the very best value.

Applications for ALPHA are now open: Apply here.


Web Summit startup NextReality meets an investor on the conference floor in 2016

It’s time to take action and so we’re reducing the price of a startup package to our events in 2017, to ensure that the very best startups are always able to join us. Make no mistake, we will also be working hard to improve the opportunities for entrepreneurs at our events.

Only the very best startups will be picked, and you can check out how we choose them below.

Are you an ALPHA, BETA or START company?

The startups that apply to exhibit at Web Summit are assigned to a category depending on the company size and revenue. Our three groups are ALPHA, BETA and START.

ALPHAYour company is in the pre-investment stage, or has under $1 million in funding.

BETAYour company has launched successfully and is often a Web Summit alumnus.

START | Your company is experiencing considerable growth and expanding globally. Often you have raised over $3 million.

Your company scorecard

Once we’ve worked out what group your startup should be a part of, we’ll schedule a call and score your startup using some of the criteria below.

Growth potential

We’ll take a look at how many competitors are working on similar products. We’ll also consider whether you’re operating in a growing sector, and whether you’re targeting a single country or developing a global product.


We want you to be able to make maximum impact at Web Summit. So, we’ll consider how relevant your product will be to our attendees. Part of this consideration is how well your startup fits with our 21 industry conferences at Web Summit. We’ll also speak to your team about whether they have any pro-active ideas to engage Web Summit attendees.

Product and team

We’ll rank your product depending on the stage of development you’re at. We’ll be thinking about whether you have a working prototype, and how many existing users you have. We also consider the expertise on your team, how many employees your company has, and whether you have much experience in the industry.

Pitch quality

Finally, we’ll judge you on your pitch to make sure you’re ready to work the crowd at Web Summit. Your pitching confidence on the phone will also go towards your application for our startup competition, PITCH.

Cool factor

Finally, we’ll look at how unique your idea or product is, whether many people are doing the same thing and whether your company is disrupting an established sector or has a totally new approach.

31369277451_a6e1eea834_kSome of the BETA startups at Web Summit 2016

What happens next?

Once we’ve had a conversation with you, your startup will be given an overall score out of 25, which we’ll use to work out if each company is in a position get the most out of Web Summit.

All the best startups from over 18 different industries will be invited to exhibit at our events. We’ll assign each company an exhibition stand on the best day for them.

Want to know more? Apply for ALPHA here, and our startups team will be in contact. ALPHA packages start from $680 for our global events, and you’ll never pay more than €850 for an ALPHA package at Web Summit.

We hope to see you somewhere around the world in 2017.

Applications for ALPHA are now open: Apply below.

Step 1: Verify your number

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