What is the main motivation for putting together the Lisbon Investment Summit?
Well, in the very beginning we wanted for the world to know what was happening in Lisbon and that it had a growing startup scene. At Beta-i we were just getting started with Lisbon Challenge as well, so we wanted to bring top international investors, executives and entrepreneurs to Lisbon so that we could connect Lisbon to the rest of the startup world. But, now that Lisbon is definitely on the map and that you have so many startup events across the globe we felt the need to keep our own identity and organise an event that reflects Lisbon’s startup scene. It’s informal, unusual and unexpected. Our main goal here is bringing people together. Since the last edition of the Lisbon Investment Summit, Portuguese startups have raised more than 130 million euros, and for this year things will get even more interesting. And for that to happen we need to bring international investors to Lisbon such as Saul Klein, considered by some as Europe’s top investor, or Eze Vidra, former General Partner of Google Ventures (now called GV). That’s exactly what we’re doing with the Lisbon Investment Summit, we’re giving these main players an excuse to come to Lisbon and get to know our startup scene in a casual and informal way, and of course, before the Web Summit frenzy.
How can startups best take advantage of the event?
First, startups should check out who is coming to the Lisbon Investment Summit, speakers and attendees. If a startup is fundraising, then they should definitely check the investors who are coming and understand their investment strategy before reaching out to them. If you’re looking for partners and customers, check out the companies that will be attending, and some of the sponsors of the event as well. The trick here is to plan things before hand. We’re bringing these amazing people to Lisbon and it’s entirely up to the entrepreneurs to reach out to them and start creating relevant relationships. For example, we’ll have experts in big data and artificial intelligence, like Sumon Sadhu, part of the founding team at Quid, coming here. The guy is a genius! Any startup in this particular industry shouldn’t waste the opportunity of talking to him.
Then, at the Lisbon Investment Summit we’ll have some activities just for startups to meet people, from investors to executives. We’re doing for the first time the investors breakfast, where we’ll match startups with investors for one-on-one meetings. We’ll have cool workshops in the second stage where entrepreneurs can learn more about fundraising, crowdfunding, marketing, etc. And, of course, we’ll have once again the sunset cocktail on a yacht and the final party, that are definitely great networking moments.
On the same note, how can investors best take advantage of the event?
Well, as I said before, since the previous edition of the Lisbon Investment Summit in 2015, Portuguese startups such as Uniplaces, Veniam, Talkdesk, Aptoide or Outsystems, have raised more than 130 million euros. And this year, with the Web Summit coming to Lisbon, things will get crazy. At the Lisbon Investment Summit 2016, investors will get early access to top startups in Lisbon, before the Web Summit frenzy, as well as top curated startup leads from the Beta-i team, and they’ll also be able to connect with other top investors to discuss the current trends in tech and venture capital.
And, again, this is not the usual startup event with 10.000 people walking around. This is small and casual, so it’s really easy to meet people.
What are the highlights of this year’s edition?
The main highlights are the speakers we’re bringing. Saul Klein, former partner at Index Ventures, Sumon Sadhu, investor, entrepreneur and big data and AI expert, Ricardo Vice Santos, founder of Roger and recently named as one of the 100 most creative people in the world, Marvin Liao, partner at 500 Startups, David Rowan, Editor of Wired Magazine, and many others.
As for the event itself, we have a beautiful venue, the Academia das Ciências in Lisbon. We’ll also have the Investors Breakfast, the sunset cocktail on a yacht, the final party, and other surprises that I’m not allowed to tell just yet…
How does the Lisbon Investment Summit fit in Beta-i’s overall strategy?
At Beta-i we want to inspire action, bring people together and make things happen, from Lisbon to the world. And LIS fits like a glove in this vision. We’re bringing people together, we’re inspiring them, we’re showcasing some of the best startups in the world, we’re bringing top investors and we’re showing Lisbon to the world.
How can startups based in Portugal compete with London, Berlin or Silicon Valley?
Let’s put this the other way around… How can startups in London, Berlin or Silicon Valley compete with Lisbon? We can’t always look up at the bigger startup hubs and follow them. Lisbon is not something else, you just can’t compare it, because it has its own identity. Startups here are born global from day one. There’s great access to talent, an amazing weather, hard working and ambitious people… And even if you talk about fundraising, that Portugal doesn’t have a lot of access to capital, well, nowadays, that’s just not true, because a good founder, a truly ambitious entrepreneur, can fundraise anywhere in the world, and still be in Lisbon.
To find out more about the Lisbon Investment Summit visit http://www.lis-summit.com/