A little of what we got right at Web Summit

Here in our HQ, we don’t tend to focus on what’s good about Web Summit. Since starting up as a little event in Dublin six years ago, attended by just 400 Irish people, we’ve grown to a 50,000+ conference that welcomed people from 166 countries to Lisbon, Portugal this November.

Along the way we’ve made mistakes – they’re what drives us, more so than the positive things some pretty influential people have said about our events over the years.

After each event we’ve thrown, from the first Web Summit, to Collision in the US, to RISE in Hong Kong and to MoneyConf in Madrid, we obsess over the smallest of details and things we can change and do better. That could mean testing and retesting the perfect length of the lanyard to hang around attendees’ necks, or the size of the text on signage at our events.

31369277451_ac8141a56f_oLapa, a BETA startup, take a selfie at Web Summit

We like to think of every conference we run like a new software update. We’re not just adding or improving features, we’re also bug fixing, doing everything we can to try to ensure they inch a little closer to perfection. We like to ask our attendees how we can get closer.

We surveyed startups that attended Web Summit to see how we can improve. Although we pay most attention to what they think we can do better, it’s been great for us to see we did some things right at our first event in our new Lisbon home.

We’ve heard that 86 percent of the startups that joined us said they had a good or very good experience at Web Summit and 78 percent are already planning to join us in 2017.

One thing we’re absolutely certain of is that conferences are all about the connections you make: 70 percent of our startups were visited by investors at their booths, while 83 percent had a one-to-one meeting with an investor, speaker or partner as part of our Office and Mentor Hours scheme.

30261347364_8789b8c5fc_k-1An Office Hours meeting at Web Summit

Some startups even got the chance to pitch Midas lister #2 Steve Anderson when he hit the floor, while others got to talk through their businesses with Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover.

15000137_1202460613153314_1040401878700319348_oSteve Anderson on the Web Summit floor

Online networking seemed to be a success too, with 73 percent of startups saying they found our exclusive Web Summit app beneficial or very beneficial in setting up meetings and connecting with Web Summit attendees, from speakers to investors to partners.

It’s been great to read about some of our startups’ Web Summit’s experiences. We’re delighted for Imagin&Tonic, who say that they “made in one day more interesting contacts and sales leads than in the last three months. Just in one single day.”

31113869480_0a9a3bcd99_kSpeak, a philanthropy and social good startup at Web Summit

The guys at Kiply had a great time too:

“Attending the Web Summit hasn’t just led us to get a larger number of users, but a greater international visibility in both the media and business worlds. It has been a turning point in expanding our business and breaking into the international market. ”

In the aftermath of Web Summit, it’s been nice to hear that the work we put into our events has meant our startups had a great time.

But we know we can still do better.

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