To call Web Summit just a ‘technology conference’ would be like calling the Sahara a sandbox. You can only imagine the size of an event with 21 themed Summits, 1,000 speakers and 30,000 attendees. It’s one of the very, very few events where the humblest of young entrepreneurs can rub shoulders with the co-founders of Instagram, Tinder, Slack, representatives of Microsoft, IBM – or writer Dan Brown
The pitches were an exciting event, as thousands of startups were narrowed down to 40, competing in two categories (alpha and beta, based on the funds already invested in the project), and then to three per category. The beta accolade finally went to the employee scheduling tool Bizimply, an objectively great project. Connecterra, whose monitor was jokingly named ‘Fitbit for cows’, was the alpha category winner. Their technology is based on cubes (possibly wearables) that monitor movement, location and other data and connect via cloud to other platforms. We were also impressed by Neuroelectrics, producers of brain monitoring devices that fit well within our interest in wellness and the Quantified Self.
There were other fantastic projects that we were drawn to due to our interests and experience: Insightpool, offering tools which facilitate building relationships with influencers and clients, as well as increasing ad effectiveness, and Teamable, an innovative approach towards the recruitment process.
Healthtech and Big Data
Health and Wellness were an official sub-summit, and the latest trends as well as forecasts for the future were extensively discussed. Will diagnostic apps improve or complicate healthcare? How will data help us make more informed lifestyle decisions? The answers may still be pondered on, but it has been shown how mobile data can help in family planning (Mike Huang of Glow), or how mobile devices can aid in offering health interventions (Talkspace). “The gathering of data and the introduction of big data could lead to a revolution of the medtech industry”, Nervana Systems’ Arjun Bansal said. One major conclusion was that Big Data is certainly more than just a fad – we are on the brink of revolution in practically every business, but there are challenges ahead.
Naturally, we were drawn to the ad tech industry’s discussions of making use of new technologies – it seemed we were right to provide tips on joining the ‘third wave of digital marketing’, as one of the star panelists, Norm Johnston of Mindshare, focused on exactly that – all those new devices offer opportunities to connect with your customers. The marketing industry is ambitious and competitive, as Dave Jakubowski, head of ad tech at Facebook, spoke of ways to avoid #FOMO (fear of missed opportunity) in the marketing sphere, and others mentioned a ‘race’ to get up to speed with mobile, ‘the fastest-growing medium for connecting with consumers around the world’.
This is just a small portion of what was served at the Summit. Needless to say, we were very busy – Web Summit is an arena for innovators, but it’s also a place to meet people, which is what we like best. We’re already looking forward to the next event!
author: Michał Wiśniewski