I went to the Lisbon conference full of expectations, which is one of the largest technology conferences in the world, with more than 71,000 participants from 160 countries, 1,000 speakers, 2,300 startups and 1,000 investors. Even saying these numbers is a lot, let alone standing in line at the entrance for an hour in the morning. It felt a bit like the coronavirus never existed, endless queues, huge tumult, and apart from one or two Far Eastern startups, no one was wearing a mask at all.
Websummit from a Portuguese perspective
We probably still remember that the Websummit was not organized in 2020 because of the coronavirus, even though just 2 years earlier, in 2018, the Portuguese state concluded an agreement with the Websummit to pay 11 million EUR per year to The conference should be held here for 10 years, i.e. until 2028. This is also part of the plan based on which the Portuguese state and city governments are making very serious efforts to attract digital entrepreneurs, nomads, and startups from all over the world.
Huge investments are being made all over the city so that the city can accommodate the amazing tourist campaign and the labor force that wants to immigrate to the country. They are renovating old industrial areas, such as the “Unikorn factory” office building, with the goal of becoming the new startup capital of Europe and even the world. The Portuguese state has set aside no less than EUR 90 million for the next 4 years, with which it wants to support nearly 3,000 startups. Of course, I would also like to add that the nearly 290 sunny days a year also have serious marketing value in addition to Lisbon:-)
Websummit from a Hungarian perspective
It is interesting to compare this attitude with the Hungarian position, where the Hungarian government even withdrew the budget set aside for the Web Summit. Lest anyone misunderstand, this is not a snarky, government-critical article, rather I want to suggest that if we want to achieve results, if we want to move forward, then we have to invest. I believe that Hungarian startups and the Hungarian startup ecosystem could be supported through these large international exhibitions – where, despite the previous ones, we do not appear now.
Unfortunately, the Hungarian stand was canceled this year, it was canceled at the last minute, so apart from the few Hungarian exhibitors you could run into and hunt down through the application, it was difficult to maintain domestic relations. While 4 years ago there was a network breakfast for nearly 70 people at the embassy, this year we had to make do with a family discussion of 7 people, which by the way exceeded my expectations, I heard very interesting and useful things, we had a forward-looking conversation with the ambassador.
However, Websummit operates from a startup perspective, many investors are present at the conference, and you can hear interesting feedback about products and markets. I spent an active day at the Pupilpay.hu stand with Levente Kazó, where very interesting conversations and inquiries came in, I really support Lev to realize his dreams, which I know I support:)
Websummit from a protpech perspective
This conference will not be the center of the proptech world. Unfortunately, I met relatively few startups in the real estate market, and the ones that were out there were forced into the fintech category, or sometimes the HR tech category. EDUtech, HR tech, or fintech were much more emphasized at the conference, and although the expansion and spread of proptech has really started in recent times, it is much more at special proptech events (CRETECH, Proptech Hungary) or large international real estate conferences (MIPIM, EXPO Real) is included in the international palette due to the fact that the target group is more B2B and well defined.
It was basically an interesting experience both from the point of view of the conference organizers and from the conference experience side. Very professional and precise professional work goes on in the background in connection with such an event both in the preceding months and on the day of the event. Maybe I would live with so much criticism that sometimes I felt it was too much! there were too many good presentations – I didn’t know where to go, there were too many visitors – it was very difficult to meet a really valuable contact with business potential, there were too many exhibitors – there were many ideas that were only MVP or not even exhibited at the conference.
Would I go next year? Basically, yes, it was interesting, but much more planning work is needed before such an event, and the support of the Hungarian government would also be very much needed, so that we have a more significant appearance, which can be built on as participants, also as Hungarians.