Last week we took our first ever trip to Web Summit; Europe’s Largest Technology Marketplace. The event, which was previously held in Dublin has grown considerably over the last 5 years, starting from a 400 capacity event to now attracting over 55,000 people in 2016.
Having read stories online we had an idea of what to expect but we soon found they were far from the truth as soon as we arrived, for all the right reasons. The event was huge.. not only in one arena but also 3 other pavilions conveniently aligned with the MEO Arena. To get to the main arena you had to pass through all the other pavilions – so you didn’t miss out on any aspect of the event; something greatly supported by the startup businesses exhibiting and pitching.
We flew from Manchester to Lisbon and went a day early so we could do some sight-seeing of this old but really beautiful City. Wherever you looked there was mentions of Web Summit and branding all over. Taxi drivers and bar owners told us about how the City was going to be so busy over the next week or so.
On the first night we were greeted by an opening talk from Paddy Crosgrave the brainchild behind Web Summit and the Portuguese Prime minister. They were joined by 200 Portuguese start up businesses that were exhibiting at the event across the 3 days. This opening ceremony was electric as 15,000 crammed into the arena. An additional 3000 people watched on a big screen outside the venue.
We met thousands and thousands of people throughout the day and made some brilliant contacts. We saw a surge in downloads after the event (We think it was the freebies that helped!). In our area we were the only music type business so it attracted lots of attention. We even managed to appear on a Facebook live video with our Founder; Dane Swindells being interviewed by Product Hunt Founder Ryan Hoover!
After the exhibition day it was time for the Night Summit and Pub Crawls, something which we tried to put off all week due to having to be awake really early to exhibit! It was brilliant to get to chat to people from all over the world and just enjoy a few drinks whilst chatting about the madness of the last few days. We truly believe we have made some friends for life and brilliant contacts and partnerships we can use moving forward.
We are hoping to head back out to Lisbon next year for Web Summit 2017.