When In X, road from the Web Summit Lisbon, to Startup Retreat Madeira
Its been a month since we got back from the biggest European event in the Tech World. I have to admit that it’s worth every penny and every minute traveling from Skopje to Lisbon!
Brief history… or not so brief
Our intentions with the Web Summit started in early 2016, but in that time the idea for online platform for tours just emerged in our team and we were doing our first mock ups an brain storming meetings. I applied for Alpha program and pleasantly surprised I received a call in just a few days, considering that When in X is serious candidate for selection. Nevertheless, it was required to have MVP in order to be selected for participation. That was quite a bummer for me in the time, since we had in plan to build the app by November, when the Summit would have started — but the rules were clear. It was a good lesson for the whole startup experience. We need results! We need execution in order to move forward. Let’s do something!
Fast forward after endless applications, pitching and competing events, we got the first funding from FITR at the end of 2016. What followed was months and months of development, hustle and hard work, and after all we got the first working version in August 2017. We applied again for the Alpha program at the Web Summit and finally we got accepted! What was coming were lot of preparations and planning the week in Lisbon.
After whole day of flying we finally arrived, the organizers once again did a good job with volunteers right on the airport where we did the check in and got the famous name-tag and wristband. Mihail was there few days earlier so he was part of the grand opening. Night out and Fado for the rest of us, good way to get to know Lisbon if you go there for the first time.
In the application period we got invited to apply to the official Pitch of the Web Summit, where the selection was also hard, but still we managed to be on the shortlist of 200 startups that had the chance to compete for the prize. I dare to say that this was the biggest startup scene in Europe and we failed to enter the finals. One more good lesson learned, Never use 2 minute video in 4 minute Pitch!
The rest of the day was less stressful, we went to hang out with the other startups from the travel industry, reaching many new contacts with possibility for future collaboration. The agenda was super full, there were a lot of events and conferences, from which I can select the speech of Stan Chudnovsky from Facebook Messenger and his statement that most important part of the innovation is understanding the human psychology!
Sunset Summit was one more hit for the organizers, although the beer price was little bit higher then in the city center we hanged out until late evening.
End of the day and party with Sofia the Robot, she is really amusing, even without the talking option (they turned it off during the party). That could be quite a feature for some people too, don’t you think?
One more pitch day, yeah! This time freestyle, open air pitch with Mike Butcher from TechCrunch. Somehow we got email to apply, we sent him details and got his invitation with time and place to pitch. It was another great experience, I was surprised that he managed to listen every single idea, accept a card and ask the right questions. Machine learning! Take a shot! We all know there’s too much machine learning in the nowadays startups…
Little bit a slower night followed, enjoying the Portuguese food and wine. I would strongly recommend Vino Verde and Porto for desert, of course!
This is it, the day we have our booth at the Web Summit! Pavilion 4, Travel industry, once again very well organized event! Using the WebSummit App we have sent invites to everyone that had selected ‘Travel’ in their profiles of interest, as well as to other potential investors and people from the region. I can say we got quite good numbers of visitors and many many contacts, the feedback we have worth gold to us.
I can mention some of contacts that instantly brought results:
- Sandra, travel blogger from Portugal, recommended WhenInX as good platform for local experience;
- Elena, marketing expert and friend from from long time ago (Disney World in 2007), she end up in our team weeks after Lisbon.
- And here’s the biggest one: MADEIRA STARTUP RETREAT- we were invited to apply in the two months Tourism Startups Program on the island of Madeira, Portugal. I fulfilled the application in the next day directly from Lisbon, and just this week the results broke my sleep for a few days. We made it to be in the among the 8 startups to attend the program!
The story of When in X continues, and I would strongly suggest to work on your dreams! If you have resources, you definitely need to dedicate some budget for attending the next year WebSummit, its in Lisbon again!