Is Web Summit a worthwhile investment? Will your ROI be positive? Depending on the goal, it can be.
That is less likely if you think you will immediately find an investor who can solve all problems. Magic is reserved for Hogwarts. This is a tech conference, after all.
But if your goal is getting direct feedback about your product, expanding the brand, connecting with people with similar ideas, or getting to know the trends in the industry, keep reading.
Web Summit in numbers
Web Summit numbers are rad! Every year, the conference sets a new record. In numbers, the Web Summit edition 2023 looks like this:
153 countries represented
And record-breaking numbers for this year: 2,608 startups!!! 😱
YEAH, it is huuuuuugeeee. Luckily enough, one of these startups is BCMS! Even though the competition was huge, the BCMS stand was very busy, and if Web Summit can show its numbers, so can BCMS:
4 320 minutes of headless CMS talk
96 hours of walking, standing, and networking
4 days of introducing people to BCMS
30% more website visits
GitHub ⭐️ 🌱📈
XX number of new affiliates and clients
And record-breaking numbers for this year: 18k+ kCal from eating Pastel de Nata, Bifana, and other Portuguese specialties. 🌮🥧🥐🍔🥞🍟🍕🥪🥙🥘🍜🍲🍝🥟🍱🐽
BCMS: Our Web Summit experience
Let's be honest: We signed up for Web Summit because their Web Summit ALPHA Program offer was compelling: 850 euros for three attendees + a booth for one day. Pricing seduced us into going.
Second big truth: Events like Web Submit are first and foremost businesses, so there is no use blaming them for making a profit. Their ROI is positive, for sure.
But their main selling point is fulfilled: putting tons of key people from specific industries in the same place at the same time and letting them meet, talk, and do some business.
Third, actual fact: You are going to Web Summit out of curiosity, not opportunity.
This was an eye-opening fact for us: Instead of signing contracts, you'll fill your head with ideas and your LinkedIn profile with contacts.
So, to stay down-to-earth, listen to this statistic: 95% of startups will fail miserably if their mindset is to become world leaders in the tech industry after the Web Summit finishes.
What are the pros and cons of attending Web Summit, and is it worth going there?
This could be a legitimate question after reading all those numbers and statistics. Attending the Web Summit as a startup can be a valuable networking opportunity, learning about industry trends and potentially securing funding or partnerships.
Web Summit pros:
This is among the best opportunities to network and establish new business relationships with over 70k attendees. All you need is a strategy to make it meaningful for your business. Otherwise, it can be very random and not very useful.
Web Summit brings investors to one place. Although the chances are thin to find investors, having them all in one spot is a unique experience. You can drive their attention at least, but it requires strategy, careful planning, and strong execution. One of the strategies can be to enter the pitching competition.
Get inspired: Going through the stands of some of the companies and realizing what innovations they are currently working on can be surprising, especially in terms of how different industry sectors overlap today. It can hopefully be inspirational for your business. (Cheaper than seeking counseling services).
Web Summit cons:
Expect to learn very little at the Web Summit. Most of the talks are very general, and you may be surprised by the lack of detail presented by the speakers during the sessions. But that is actually a normal thing to expect because their speeches and guest appearances are time-limited.
It will be hard for startups to stand out from the crowd. Look at the numbers again. You are one of the 70K participants. Your startup is one of the 2,608 startups attending the Web Summit. Don't you think all startups have similar goals for the event? To market, sell, expand, and find investors or partners. Expect no wonder, but get prepared.
So, should you go to Web Summit?
Web Summit is a social event, so speak to the startup stands, ask questions, scan other people's QR codes, connect with them, etc. There are a lot of opportunities, but you need to lower your expectations so you won't be disappointed.
I believe the entire event is 50% entertainment, 30% socializing, and 20% seeing your heroes live. If you asked me if it's worth the price, I would have some serious doubts, but it is not a waste of time and money for sure.
Web Summits Tips (or What should you expect when coming to Web Summit?)
Web Summit is impressive and well-organized, but guess what – it's also very crowded 😅.
You will wait for:
Entering Centre Arena (sometimes even you won't get in because the full capacity is filled), but don't worry, you can watch speakers in front of the arena too.
Going to Night Summit
Buying food and drinks
Using the restroom (this one can be tricky, so don't wait until the last minute 😅)
To make this thing less boring, use these spots to meet new people, network, or plan to visit Lisbon when Web Summit is done!
So maaaaaaaaany great speakers!
Many lectures, sessions, showcases, pitches, and events are going on during the Web Summit. Don't stress about it. It is impossible to check them all, so go through your Web Summit app, find what interests you, schedule those sessions, go there, enjoy, and educate yourself.
Pro tip: Between each pavilion and in front of the main arena, screens have been placed to broadcast speeches from the main stage. There is also a live stream from the main stage in the Web Summit app.
Night Summit is a party side of Web Summit.
Every evening a party is organized in a different place. After numerous lectures, speeches, and networking, the Web Summit ensured all participants were relaxed with concerts, DJs, games, sports, food, and drinks.
Besides networking, the BCMS team presented its company in the foosball and giant Jenga competition, and we won!
Although the Web Summit offers a handful of things and events, use this visit to Portugal to get to know Lisbon and its surroundings.
Make sure you enjoy Miradouros (the amazing views of the city).
Go see Belem Tower and the bridge April 25 (Portugal's Golden Gate).
Try Pastel de Nata (a delicious sweet pastry) or visit a local restaurant ( be careful with the orders; everything is written in Portuguese, so there can be confusion, so I got an octopus for lunch even though I didn't want it)
Visit Sintra and Cabo da Roca ( I have no pictures to show for these because of the intense fog) 😎
Go clubbing ( I recommend Titanic, a nightclub on the shore with a great view of the bridge April 25, and the Christ the King statue. I have pictures to show; I don't want to show them because I want to keep my dignity.) 😅
Plan to come back!
There is no time to waste. Once you've had the Web Summit experience, you'll want to do it again. If you schedule your next visit as soon as possible, you may get a discount from the organizer. We have already decided that BCMS will also attend the Web Summit next year. See you again Lisboa, obrigado. 🇵🇹😍❤️