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Web Summit 2019: how to get the most out of tech conferences

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If you are interested in technology, you have probably heard about Web Summit - the largest IT conference in Europe, which annually brings together tens of thousands of IT people, startups, investors and everyone who is interested in innovations and trends in the modern tech world. This year our team was lucky to attend this awesome event and see that the world is changing rapidly, technology is the future (which is already here), and startups with an interesting and useful idea have real chances to get investments and grow into a big successful company. From this article you will learn:
  • How we got to the biggest tech conference in Europe;
  • How a startup can apply for Web Summit;
  • Current trends in modern technology;
  • How to organize your time and get useful contacts during Web Summit.
Web Summit 2019: how to get the most out of tech conferences - 1

The photo is from:

CodeGym at Web Summit 2019

A few words about how the CodeGym team appeared in the center of technological events. Thousands of startups come to Web Summit annually to attract investors, to form a partnership, or simply see what is happening in tech. Summit organizers contacted us with an invitation to present our course. It was pleasing to realize that our stand is next to the pavilion with Google, Porsche and AWS stands. Here's how it looked: Web Summit 2019: how to get the most out of tech conferences - 2

How a startup can get to Web Summit

Almost everyone can apply for a startup exhibition. If you have an interesting idea, MVP, and an understanding of how you can be useful for your future users and investors, then there’s a good chance for you to be invited for an exhibition. The main thing is that you should clearly explain to the representative of Web Summit what your product is, what benefits it brings and why visitors might be interested in it. Companies which are confident in their product and want to get even more attention from investors and the press can participate in the Startup Pitch - a battle of startups, where you need to present your startup as concisely and interestingly as possible. An application for Startup Pitch must be submitted in advance, the organizers then select the best companies, as per their opinion, who are given the opportunity to compete for the title of the “Startup of the Year”. This year the Swiss startup Nutrix, which is developing a nanosensor to track the level of glucose in the human body through saliva, was chosen as a winner out of 134 participants.

Trends in tech

One of the key benefits of such events is the visualization of trends in technology. Web Summit 2019 showed that being just a cool company and making your product well is not enough. A successful startup and a billion-dollar tech giant have a common desire to realize the impact of its activities on the world, society and the future. Conscious technologies is the main trend of 2019, which will only increase over time. What areas are most popular among startups now? There were 3 most prevalent categories of companies at Web Summit this year:
  • The mass consumer-focused companies (banking applications, tourism, applications for fitness, time management, smart maps);
  • The companies which use trending technologies, mainly in the enterprise (data science, AI, VR / AR, machine learning);
  • Companies which care about the environment (everything that has the word eco, green, sustainability in its name or description).

How to catch everything

Spoiler: it’s impossible. There are a lot of different sections at the Web Summit: workshops for programmers, marketers and startups, round tables, meetings with investors, several large thematic scenes, a huge number of stands not only of startups, but also of large companies around which you can stick for hours (for example, watch a robot pouring candy into a glass or meditate in the Porsche mini-pavilion in their cool headphones). In order not to get lost in all this variety of technical things, a mobile app from Web Summit comes in handy. It’s perfect for tracking timing at all stages and pavilions, and for making your own schedule. Some events, especially workshops and round tables, are in high demand, so it’s better to register in advance and come at least half an hour before the start. Otherwise, there can be no free seats.


Web Summit 2019: how to get the most out of tech conferences - 3For many visitors the main goal of attending Web Summit is not its informational and learning component, even not the cool speakers on the main stage, but communication with people. Investors, CEOs, CTOs, PMs of thousands of companies are open to communication and exchange of ideas. For effective networking, the developers of the conference mobile application made it possible to write to any visitor, as well as scan the QR code on the badge. So, you can contact Web Summit visitors before, during and after the event, including Night Summit parties, where you can discuss your project or meet interesting people in an informal and relaxing atmosphere.

The key findings of Web Summit 2019

Web Summit 2019: how to get the most out of tech conferences - 4If you plan to attend this or another large tech conference and get the most out of it, you need to prepare for it, even if you don’t present your startup. It’s very important to set goals and make a schedule. It will help you to focus on areas of your interest and plan your time, especially if your chosen speeches/workshops take place in different locations of the event. For Web Summit this is crucial, since the distances between the locations are really large. If we are not talking about organizational issues, but about the conference itself, then you will definitely have a lot of impressions. Write down everything: ideas, phrases, contacts of people, companies. It’s impossible to remember everything because there is a huge amount of information. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to communicate, ask, approach people, and do not hesitate to talk about your ideas or about a startup. The world is longing for new ideas, new meanings and visions, new solutions and constant development.