Times are changing, London, Stockholm and Berlin are no longer the only startup capitals of Europe. Many other European cities claim to be the next startup destination. Cities like Amsterdam, Munich, Nice, Prague, Budapest, Cologne, and Warsaw are trying to attract startups. There is a lot on offer, like events, incentives, investment and collaboration opportunities. The basic ingredients of these events is pretty much the same and everyone is happy to just copy-paste, low investment, decent returns. Wait, returns? Yes, because this is no social service, it’s just another business and a very lucrative one at that.
Organizing startup events and giving away awards is big business these days. And the simple formula is – network with some serial entrepreneurs, advertise, gather some innovative people desperately wanting to show their ventures to anyone that cares to spare few minutes and voila, event is ready. OK, not that simple, but you get the point.
But these events are indeed great places to network with fellow entrepreneurs, listen to successes and failures of those who followed this path and get inspired. If you’re looking for anything more than this, don’t waste your time going to these events. I’ve collected few points to consider before you check-in to an event near you.
If you’re an entrepreneur and want to showcase your venture at such an event, timing is very important. From timing I mean the current state of your product or service. Is it just an idea or you’ve a prototype to show? Or you’ve been already operating for a while? Or you’re just looking for inspiration? Even though the events advertise as being equally useful to all, in practice they are not. Check social media posts and twitter feeds to see who all are planning to attend. There are many events taking place, choose the one that is right for you.
Many of these events are regional, meaning all the conversation there may be in local language. I’m not talking about the likes of The Summit in Dublin or The Next Web in Amsterdam, but the local events in the cities I mentioned in the beginning. So, if you’re a foreigner or casual visitor, you might want to check if the event you plan to attend will be conducted in English. Another reason is, many entrepreneurs come to the big hubs in the hope of promoting their ventures and hoping to get a global audience. But quite often, some local events really just cater to the local market and regional flavour of the ventures is quite evident.
Prepare yourself well before every event. Pay special attention to what you plan to achieve at the end. For example – it would be best to go prepared with some questions if you’re going as an explorer, network with as many people as you can. If your venture has been operating for a while, it would be best to look out for suitable investors or partners that you can work with to grow your venture. So, timing decides your preparation and eventually how much you’ll gain from this.
Remember, as entrepreneurs, we’re always short on time, so we must choose to invest our time wisely. There are definitely many more aspects to be considered to be able to make the most of your time at startup events. Feel free to share them in the comments below.