If you don’t know how to web…

…you should have discovered at How to Web conference last week. In case you missed it, here are all the recordings provided by the organizers and their partners.

 

IGNITION FOR EARLY STAGE STARTUPS 

The main thing I liked was the fact that it was very practical for the participating startups, in terms of mentoring and access to investors and business accelerators.

Besides the regular pitch competition and the advice received by jury, the 32 finalist startups also benefited from hours and hours of “speed mentoring” (think a startup talking to each investor, tech media, experienced entrepreneurs willing to help them, all in an organized way).

Besides this, there were 12 reverse pitches from business accelerators all over the world, presenting what they do and answering questions from public.

The winners of Startup Spotlight are announced officially here. Mike Butcher also wrote an article, managing to cover all the 32 finalist startups.

 

GROWTH ADVICE FOR AND FROM SUCCESSFUL STARTUPS 

The presentations in the Growth room were also quite insightful, eye-opening and out of the box thinking with broader perspectives. Well known entrepreneurs shared their success stories, “pains of growth” and advice for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Don’t miss the recordings!

 

DEVELOPING ROMANIA AND CEE STARTUP ECOSYSTEM 

Bogdan Iordache (organizer of How to Web) and his team managed to take this third international edition to a higher level, pinning Romania and CEE on the startup map in the international eyes.

About 1000 participants, great speakers, interesting emerging startups mingled around for two days. I am sure new success stories will be identified soon by the team, just like they did for last year edition.

Besides, they also officially announced the opening of TechHub Bucharest, in partnership with TechHub London (founded by Mike Butcher and Elizabeth Varley).

 

SOME PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE OF THE ECOSYSTEM 

There is still room for business accelerators. Also for more balanced conditions.

As business accelerators compete for existing talent and more and more emerge all over the world, it is time they also pitch back to startups (called reverse pitches).

Too many of them? No way, we still lack more to support emerging entrepreneurs. They are very helpful for the newbies (“startups with identity problems” as Emi Gal mentioned at the conference) that still have to refine product and get to product market fit/ getting traction. All to make them ready for approaching VCs afterwards.

I do have only one personal objection: the lack of balance between what they ask for and what they give.

Sometimes it feels like they forget they exist for newbies when they choose batches (and thye end up choosing more developed startups) OR the equity/ cash ratio is a bit outrageous (Yes, they do count in the other offers for the value, like access to mentors, but if they recruit the best networked and talented people this benefit is less useful).

So I would say accelerators should lower entry conditions for the current offer, or improve offer for higher entry conditions and more developed startups.

In any case, I see business accelerators are trying to differentiate more and more. This plus having more of them can only bring better conditions to the table.

I would like to see more ambitious startups, focused on big things, not little features.

More and more at startup pitches I notice people building small features on top of other platforms, solving very niched desires (difficult to call them needs), and they call themselves businesses. Nothing wrong with building that, but I think a business means more than that.

I guess more emphasize on content than on form in pitch competitions will only do good. Because I see a general trend at the events I go lately: pitches become more of a show, than a business competition.

 

Until next time, cheers! Tech style!

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