WOW24-7 and Digital Future teams admitted that Web Summit aced a test this year for startups from different parts of the world.
Digital Future is a leading Ukraine-born VC firm that invests at Seed and Early Stage in international teams targeting the global market.
We had a short interview with Oleksii Vitchenko – founding partner of Digital Future, who shares his impression after meeting various startup projects in this year’s WebSummit expo.
Olesya Novik: How successful was WebSummit expo this year? Did something change in comparison with the previous year?
Oleksii Vitchenko: Jumping in the deep end? Biding our time? No, we definitely kept our feet on the ground in our third participation at the expo. Web Summit was in full swing this year for Digital Future.
We tried to kill two birds with one stone by seeking for reliable partners and interesting projects to invest in. And it was an easy task. We had no time to be cheesed off because more and more attendees (60,000 in 2017) visit Web Summit in order to listen to the first-rate speakers (1,200 – 2017) from all parts of the world (170+ countries – 2017).
In comparison with 2015 and 2016, more Arab countries and less Asian were present in Lisbon. Every year this considerable expo grows into a place of younger generations and thriving startupers.
We also noticed that Portugal appeals to Web Summit as to a great prospect for showing participants the newest emerging technologies of the country. Undoubtedly, the main focus was on robotized technologies and artificial intelligence.
I hope that Stephen Hawking was not right while considering the creation of effective AI to be the worst success of human which will destroy us.
Mercedes-Benz became the main sponsor and exhibitor of Web Summit 2017, and it seems quite obvious because they market their products as future-oriented, innovative.
Olesya: What can you say about an organization of WebSummit 2017? Which advantages and disadvantages of companies’ preparation did you face?
Oleksii: The third Web Summit seemed to us easy comprehensible. The form of “event-in-event” comes more and more efficient every year, nothing could be left behind.
The first day before the main events is always for investors, cause we are the cream of the crop for young entrepreneurs.
We shared our experiences upon the brand-new technologies and their preeminent features: SEO, blockchain, digital currency. I can also admit, that the focal point of Web Summit 2017 is B2G communication channel.
Talking about disadvantages in preparation of companies for the expo, I can sum up my post on LinkedIn where I’ve already listed some of the crucial mistakes of startupers who were present on Web Summit during all 3 years of my own WS-experience. It is always lack of preparation to the exhibition itself, some kind of star fever, an absence of right focus, lack of important basic skills, lack of creativity in networking, too much communication with compatriots, Alpha stand, postponing of important cases on the last day, and not using of modern tools.
Olesya: What is the main attention of investors? What did startups underline in their products? What should they underline to thrive?
Oleksii: Sorry for my French, we are trying to separate sheep from goats.
It means that each investor, it does not matter if it is an angel investor or VC, has his own focus and interest in the process of choosing between prospect projects, but he/she will never fund into “monkey-with-banana company”, into simple and non-creative. At Digital Future we came to an agreement with our team that we prefer to work with like-minded, creative, and standing out of the crowd companies.
One of the startups, which I would like to share with you as an example of perfect one on the Web Summit 2017, can be named “crystal clear”. Founders of this startup prepared the list of common metrics and answers to FAQ about their project like: when did they start? what is their revenue? what is their churn? how will they spend money? So, you know, here facts speak for themselves.
There are no gold rules for startups. Fundraising is a sales-process, the main guideline here is to know from the early stage who is a decision-maker in the fund. It is crucial to find out the right scoring and relevant investors. Entrepreneurs should be active and stick-to-it-ive, but not impudent.
When you are in a startup you should keep in mind two words: pithiness and capacity. Investors will get the message of your business only in that case if you are mature enough and answer in a right way on all questions.
Funding is not easy as pie.
Olesya: According to Forbes, 9 of 10 startups fail because of quality customer care service absence. What can you recommend startupers in order not to turn their business into a complete fiasco?
Oleksii: -You know, lots of reputable entrepreneurs and digital-innovators say that on the early stage of business founders should be very close to their customers. Moreover, for my part, just right at the start they should do customer support by themselves, just to get and understand the feedback. Easier said than done, I understand. After some time you’ll have an opportunity to outsource your customer care service or build an in-house customer service department.
Olesya: What is your opinion on outsourcing? What are the benefits of outsourcing for startups? Tell about your business experience with WOW24-7. How useful can it be for startupers?
Oleksii: -Two things all startups concern about today are time and money. In my eyes, outsourcing is one of the best options for startups in such case. Outsourcing is a service-business, client-oriented, it helps to focus on the core principles and processes of your work, and transfer time-consuming branches into safe hands. The main intention of outsourcing is to scale your business with help of experts. Success of outsourcing fully leans on the success of startups.
When it comes to choosing between outsourcing countries, young entrepreneurs should consider Ukraine.
We are closer to Europe, we have the same set of mind, at the same time we have a huge experience in delivering high-quality services for US and other markets. Talking about WOW24-7 as an outsourcing solution I can underline their forward-thinking and problem-solving approach. These guys help startups to expand their businesses by solving routine work and making support process clear, determined, and result oriented.
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