#SGEurope Recap: 10 Lessons We Learned From the #SGEurope Stage + Other Highlights from London
These are just some of the things attendees had to say about the 2019 Startup Grind Europe Conference and we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! After every conference we’re astounded by the enthusiasm and depth of insight from our community and walk away wondering how it can be topped (not that we expect anything less from the largest network of startups in the world #humblebrag). But #SGEurope did it again!
Drinks and conversation were flowing during the packed-to-the-walls opening reception, the 100 startups that were selected as exhibitors were swarmed from open to close by attendees anxious to learn about them, and sprinkled throughout the conference were lighting round pitches from the 28 Grind and Growth Accelerate companies competing for Europe Conference Startup of the Year in their respective categories. (We know the suspense is killing you, but you’ll just have to keep reading to find out the winners).
In-between all this networking and fun was the main event: a packed agenda of 40+ sessions with over 65 speakers from top companies around the world and a record-breaking number of attendees. While our heads are still spinning with everything we learned, these were our must-share speaker takeaways that really struck a chord.
10 Lessons We Learned From the #SGEurope Stage
In the world of startups nothing seems to bring more sleepless nights than the essential task of securing investors. But in a rush to lock in money (which let’s be honest, is no small feat), it’s easy to forget the basics. Simon Cooke (Draper Esprit plc) offered a great reminder during a session on the EU funding landscape.
#1 — “If you are going to build a business, don’t build it for VCs, build it for your customers and the VCs will find you.”
With so much to do and never enough time, it’s easy to fall prey to simply checking things off the to-do list. During his session on the startup lifecycle, Tom Hulme (GV) pointed out the importance of founders taking the time to personalize each pitch.
#2 — “You wouldn’t believe the number of clearly generic emails we get. If a pitch has an unsubscribe button at the bottom, I’m hitting unsubscribe.”
Someone wants to invest in your startup, the answer is YES! Not so fast… While it seems crazy to turn down money, Katie Nagy De Nagybaczon (CMS) kept it in perspective during a Q+A session on how to pick the right investor while pre-raising funding. This is a relationship not to be taken lightly.
#3 — “It is easier to get a divorce than to get rid of your investor — pick the right investor.”
Once you hit that all-important step of securing investors, how do you maintain the relationship? Remus Brett (LocalGlobe) continued the conversation during the Q+A session: Post-Raise- Managing Your Investor Relationship.
#4 — “Start off being as open as possible. If you have chosen the right investors you will get a lot more out of them from being brutally honest.”
So you’ve locked in investors and are managing those relationships like a pro! But with so much talk surrounding company culture, how do you make sure people actually want to work for you? Emilie Colker (IDEO) addressed this during her talk on Creative Leadership for Continued Innovation.
#5 — “Culture is not about pool and ping pong tables, but about respecting each other, being consistent, recognizing your weaknesses and leveraging your strengths. I don’t believe in employee retention. I believe in employee engagement. As a leader, you have the responsibility to nurture talent.”
Matt Rissell (TSheets) doubled down on the importance of culture while talking about his experience in forging a successful path to acquisition with Intuit Quickbooks’ Chris Evans.
#6 — “Culture trumps strategy every single every time, but culture needs to be authentic.”
Because startup culture gets so much attention these days, during “How to Work Together as a Team,” Jeff Gardner (Intercom) stressed just how critical it is to be intentional and careful with decisions surrounding creating your company’s culture in the early days.
#7 — “It’s those types of things that feel extraneous or feel like just extra work on top of trying to get a company off the ground, but if you do happen to get it off the ground, then those things become immensely important and can very quickly kill a company if you get it wrong.”
And we can’t forget about everyone’s favorite topic, DATA! While that sometimes elicits a groan, it’s a critical piece to keep your company moving forward in the right direction. Brian Gorbett (Intuit) kept this in focus during his session “Demystifying AI and ML: Why Every Business Should be an AI Company.”
But with so much to track, where do you even begin? Ilya Volodarsky (Segment) helped narrow it down during his talk on how to get data analytics right from the outset.
And finally, as you continue down your startup journey you never want to lose your ability to take risks. As Jean-Christophe Taunay-Bucalo (TravelPerk) said during his session “How to Scale a High-Growth SaaS company”:
#10- “The nature of risks means that you know what you’re doing, but always make sure that you have a way out.”
Want more? Subscribe to get access to the full list of mainstage and breakout sessions on our YouTube channel.
Added Bonuses: #sgeurope was the perfect place for some BIG news!
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Congratulations to the Europe Conference Winners: Startup of the Year (drumroll please)
Growth Startup of the Year: SeedLegals
SeedLegals is a legal platform that enables startups and investors to close funding rounds online, without law firms, which dramatically reducing the cost and time. SeedLegals an one-stop shop for startups to manage equity, hire team and give out options. If you’re a UK startup — get in touch with SeedLegals to find out how they can help!
Grind Startup of the Year: Zuper
Zuper is an AI-powered financial platform that makes personal finance smarter, easier and more fun — now available in Germany and Austria. Zuper enables their users to enjoy full control of their finances — see where they can save, find great offers and make all things finance easier. Zuper is currently seeking strategic partners in the categories of e-commerce, travel, mobility and home/garden. Get in touch if you are interested!
A big thank you to all of our speakers, attendees, sponsors, startups, volunteers and chapter directors for another fantastic edition of our Europe Conference! We couldn’t do it without you.
Don’t miss out on your opportunity to be part of this at our biggest conference yet — the 2020 Global Conference in Silicon Valley. Conference Kick-Off starts July 17th with the Launch Day Sale!