Web Summit 2016: chronicle of a vibrant start-up gathering in Lisbon
For the the first time, Web Summit took place in Lisbon this year. Portugal really took it seriously with the President of Portugal, the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Lisbon attending the event... as well as 53,000 other attendees like myself. A first opportunity for Manao Ltd www.manao.co.uk to be at Web Summit. Here are a few points to give you a flair of this summit in Lisbon:
# there was so much to see (hundreds of talks, hundreds of start-ups and investors) and so many people to meet that the real challenge was to manage your time and figure out how to see the right people...!
# Lisbon sounds like the perfect venue with its many "apres-business" opportunities in town, mainly in the Barrio Alto, full of cool and trendy bars and restaurants, its mild weather, nice people and easy access
# there were great people attending from the start-up and investment worlds but the most amazing person I had the chance to meet was astronaut Michael Massimino. Have you ever talk to someone who went to the International Space Station? Fascinating conversation. My friends and I couldn't stop asking questions around a beer in pink street... It turns out that what struck him the most was the beauty of the universe seen from the outer space and the clarity and crispness of the colours of the Sun, the stars and the Earth (not blurred at all by the atmosphere...)
# amazing to see a couple start-ups from Iran at the Web Summit!!! Probably the most unexpected country here, even though some people also came a long way, not only from the Silicon Valley,but also from Costa Rica, Peru, Nigeria, Korea, Argentina... and even from a brand new country... Liberland... unbelievable!
# governments from many countries were also in Lisbon to try to attract start-upers, from Estonia (with their e-residency scheme) to Berlin, from Spain to Ireland (saying to the Summit "we miss you guys"), from French Tech to Swedish Tech
# I felt that there was an eco-system truly under represented at Web Summit: China.
# amongst the hundreds of start-ups who had a booth at Web-Summit, FinTech was clearly one of the key booming sectors. Technology services, on-line marketing and IoT were also strongly represented. There were still dozens of start-ups around e-travel, some really smart, some where you really wonder what's the market size. Same remark for social and community oriented services and apps. Another three segments were not necessarily as numerous, but you could feel that the interest was growing: e-health, edtech, charity and civic tech. They may be the last industries to be revolutionnized by new technologies but interestingly enough, there were people coming from all over the world to pitch their ideas in these areas (including India, South America, etc.).