Jottings from the Web Summit (November 4-6, Dublin)
Four of us from Crayon Data attended the Web Summit for the first time this year. Unsure of what to expect when we went in, it proved to be an unforgettable experience – here are some perspectives.
A watering hole for entrepreneurs, a Davos for start-ups.
A pub crawl. How else would you expect an event in Ireland to start? As we gathered at the Web Summit in Dublin, it was only natural that it was kicked off with an elaborately organized pub-hop on the first evening. Culminating with a conducted tour of the Guinness brewery itself, with its 9000 year lease…
The pub crawl at the Web Summit was only one of the reasons why it wasn’t just any tech event, but a vibrant celebration of all things tech – the energy, the adrenalin, the camaraderie, and the lasting value that serendipitous encounters sometimes provide.
Alpha, Beta, START!
It was great to see so many start-ups from around the world. They were classified as Alpha, Beta and START, according to maturity. The ideas spanned from focused niches to large disruptive plans. What was particularly of interest was the fact that so many young people are choosing not to chase the wasteland of corporate careers, and are instead pursuing their dreams.
Crayon was part of START, and was chosen to exhibit on two of the three days. This put us right in the thick of action, and helped us explore start-up innovation and ideas, in areas as diverse as e-commerce, heathcare, education, travel, security, fashion.
Coolest of the cool
Some of the cool ideas that caught our eye at the Web Summit, that seemed relevant to what Crayon is doing:
Lateral – A Berlin based start-up, which allows you to find useful documents and articles on the web. Purely based on the documents you are working on in the cloud. Developed originally to solve a student’s research problem, we can well imagine how it can work with Crayon’s Yoda, or even help our internal teams.
Flybits – A start-up based in Canada, developing some cool context-aware solutions and apps.
Futurelytics – Australia based start-up with a recommendation engine based on easy integration into any e-commerce engine.
Wholi – A people graph that says it has over 200 million names and will soon have 1.2B. Simply type in a name and you can find anything about the person there, consolidated from all the info in the web. As they were neighbours, we saw a small demo.
Bugfinders: A community-based testing as a service start-up. They are able to offer a quick turn-around at a low cost, since they have created a network of thousands of software testers from across the world.
Deeplink – An innovative new service that enables deep linking to pages within apps.
‘Its all about the money, honey’
The Web Summit ensured that different compenents of the start-up ecosystem were brought together; Peers (other start-ups), great ideas ( a star-studded speaker line up that featured people like Werner Vogels, Drew Houston, Dave Goldberg, John Scully, Eva Longoria, David Karp…to name a few), talent (students), mentorship, media, customers and yes, investors. We had the opportunity to present our ideas and explain our concept to investors from across the globe – fingers crossed that some of these conversations will lead somewhere in the coming months!
‘Start-ups are like rock bands’
On the final day, one of the two people everyone wanted to see and hear was Bono (the other being Peter Thiel). In his discussion on the distribution of digital content and the future of digital in music, Bono completely played to the gallery when he said that start-ups were like rock bands, and that he loved the energy of the Web Summit and felt completely at home in this arena.
To sum it up – 3 days, over 2000 of the best start-ups, 500 great talks, over 20,000 attendees, perspectives gained and deals struck. If this isn’t the Davos for start-ups, then what is?