Launchbase @ Websummit

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Written by Adina Petre

Upon arriving in Lisbon, we were highly enthusiastic about the WebSummit conference, but our expectations were exceeded on all fronts.

The location was beautiful and the organizing team made tremendous efforts to make this conference a great experience for all participants. Registration was made easily for those who showed up early enough, queues of the late comers moved pretty swiftly and the QR codes of our e-tickets came in very handy. Participants were given name tags, arm bands and a mobile app that had not only the programme but also a map of the event and the opportunity to scan other attendees badges to add them to your own networking stack.

In the evening of the grand opening, as there were more attendees than the huge concert arena could accommodate, the people who could not get inside had a huge surprise waiting for them outside. An enormous screen was facing them with live streaming from inside the FIL arena, where everyone who was still queuing could see and catch up with what was going on inside.

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After Paddy Cosgrave kicked off the beginning of the conference, the Prime Minister of Portugal was invited on stage to give a warm welcoming to all attendees from 166 countries. The evening continued with a plenary discussion between former European Comissioner Jose Manuel Baroso, Roberto Azevedo from the World Trade Organization and Tom Nutall of the Economist. Matters of current and future trends in what the startup world is concerned were discussed and each expert has voiced out their strong support for more innovation and authenticity in the world of business.

From a humorous interview of Jason Gordon Levitt we got some insights into his current business which involves the creative sector of Hollywood and sets up a collaborative platform in the spirit of startup growth. He also discussed how he failed at launching the business together with his brother at the agreed date, and the valuable lesson of always delivering on time they both learned from that experience. Charismatic and genuinely enthusiastic, Jason Gordon Levitt is proud to share his skills and knowledge with peers and is all about co-creation at hitRECord.

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The evening ended with another plenary discussion on what opportunities can Portugal offer to the startup world of Europe, followed by the Night Summit during which Lisbon was taken over by more than fifty-three thousand guests. We roamed the streets until not-so-late in the night as we wanted to be there early the next day and not miss out on anything, but we did enjoy the beautiful sights of Lisbon – called miradouros in Portuguese – and had a couple of drinks with startup enthusiasts from all over the world.

Groups of various sizes were gathered in public squares where music was live and giant WebSummit signs became landmarks, meeting places and of course, everyone’s favorite picture spot!

Our first evening in Lisbon was great, wrapped up with big smiles on our faces and lots of excitement to discover the rest of the conference in the following days.

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