“It has been a great opportunity”: The ‘Startup Lighthouse Awards’ at TechChill!
Are you thinking of scaling your startup in Europe? Join one of our ‘Deep Dive Weeks’ and you’ll forever be a part of our Startup Lighthouse family.
Just like your enthusiastic godparent, we promise we will always find ways to promote you, talk about you, and get you in front of the right people.
As part of this promise, on Wednesday 20 February, we whisked 20 of our top startups onto planes, trains, cars, boats, and any other transport you can think of, to bring them to the “hottest” winter startup event: TechChill.
What is TechChill?
TechChill is a youthful, up-and-coming and innovative technology summit held every February in Riga, Latvia.
Organised at the coldest and darkest time of the year, the summit aims to showcase 2000+ of the most innovative founders in the Baltics and across Europe, whilst surrounded by atmospheric blue lighting and drinking a warming Black Balsam.
You can expect to network whilst taking a selfie using a high-tech mirror, bump into your next partner grabbing a taxi outside in the snow or find a new team member at the afterparty.
The Startup Lounge
Located in the centre of everything, the startup lounge is a cool space filled with armchairs and coffee machines. Like a hallway between the auditoriums, this is the way that everyone passes through to get anywhere at the summit.
As true cheerleaders for our startups, we managed to get them fixed spaces at the Startup Lounge – including a sign of their spot. This served as a permanent base for the startups during their time at the summit, as well as extra promotion and a space for meetings.
“Having a reserved lounge, allowed Wego to have a spotlight where the event’s participants had the chance to get in touch with our service! It proved to be very fruitful as we generated several leads.”
Marco Filippi, Wego Europe
50 Founders Battle
The ‘50 Founders Battle’ is a huge startup pitch competition showcasing 50 of most promising and inspiring startups from the Baltics, Nordics and beyond. This year saw TechChill receive +400 applications all vying for a piece of the 10K EUR prize and the chance to take part in the Startup World Cup in San Francisco.
However, in true Startup Lighthouse style, 8 of our startups qualified as ‘semi-finalists’ to pitch their business on the main stage, to a live audience.
“My initial expectations [for the 50 Founders Battle] were to catch up with investors and some other contacts who we already know, update them and probably get the warm introductions from them. Due to busy days at another event, we have participated before TechChill we did not have a chance to properly prepare and find the matches and new contacts using the networking app.
Imagine how amazed I was when we received several inbound emails from warm leads and investors who have seen our pitch and became interested to learn more about the solution! By now we have already made a few demos to the contacts that approached us after the pitch.”
Denis Ardabatsky, NeoSound
Awesome energy, great projects, greater people! After the first round, we discovered that our very own startup Precision Navigation Systems (HIVE), lead by CEO Simon Litvinov, would go through to the FINALS on the second day.
After a nail-biting final, the judges came together to decide the winner. Precision Navigation Systems won not only the opportunity to go to the Startup World Cup, as well as the grand prize of 10K EUR!
“During the whole TechChill conference I felt like I was surrounded by a lot of friends and many of them were either a part of Startup Lighthouse organisers or other startups who I met before during the program. Would like to thank everyone once again for support at the side event and awards ceremony and of course during the 50 founders battle!”
Simon Litvinov, Precision Navigation Systems
The Startup Lighthouse Awards
On Friday, 22 February, we held our very own Startup Lighthouse Awards at Teikums co-working venue!
An official side-event of TechChill, this was an an opportunity to celebrate one full year of the project and look back at all we have achieved together!
We brought together the top 20 startups that have taken part in our ‘Deep Dive Weeks’ to Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon and the Baltics. Coming from 15 countries, these startups are spread across diverse verticals (Blockchain, TravelTech, Industrial Iot and Analytics), and have global ambitions to scale.
We opened with an exciting keynote from Tanya Suarez, CEO of IoT Tribe. Tanya spoke about the challenges of growing your team from a small family, to a more diverse group of individuals that bring new ideas to the table, as well as bringing in processes that make your company a “well-oiled machine”. Additionally, she also spoke about leaving intuition by the side and taking more notice of data as you scale.
“As your startup scales and grows, you’ll have to be much more driven by data”.
Next up, Ana Barjasic of Connectology spoke about the challenges of hooking an investor when scaling your business abroad. She commented on finding ways to reduce the financial risk for investors, even asking in the audience for the opinion on what holds them back. One way of reducing risk for investors, she stated, is to be more resourceful (renting equipment, setting milestones).
“Most entrepreneurs don’t implement capital efficiency”
Five of our startups then took to the stage to talk about their experience of scaling in Europe: Simon Litvinov of Precision Navigation Systems, Lou Schillaci of CloudyBoss, Francesco Canzoniere of Booklyng, Denis Ardabatsky of Neosound, and Marco Filippi of Wego Europe. Key takeaways from the discussion included the need to stick together with the startups that you share common challenges with, because as you move through the roadblocks, you can support each other.
“We need to stay connected”
Finally, we gave out awards and prizes (including residencies in different European coworking spaces) to our top ten startups! The top winning teams were:
“I loved the Startup Lighthouse Friday event! Well organised, nice speech session”
Ester Liquori, You Are My Guide
“The dedicated Startup Lighthouse side event was very nice as we shared our experiences in a very familiar environment. During the networking lunch we were approached by students and some very young entrepreneurs, curious about our own experience related to Wego and Volvero – and also about the Startup Lighthouse and what the key benefits have been for us. Finally, it has been a great opportunity to catch up with the fellows and the team, we held a very fun but of high context panel.”
Marco Filippi, Wego Europe
You get what you go for!
We wanted to also give a special shout out to Ester Liquori, CEO of You Are My Guide. Ester took the chance to jump on stage, grab some visibility for herself and make it most of the conference!
“I’ve raised my hand to pitch during the coaching session of Gleb (co-founder of Fundwise) because I’ve seen the opportunity of improving. His pitch training session has been inspiring, he has applied data analytics to the pitch ROI and, as an expert in data analytics and prediction, I’ve been so fascinated by this method that I want to try on myself. Anyway, as founder, we constantly have to pitch. The more, the better!”
Ester Liquori, You are my Guide
Give yourself the best chance to scale abroad!
You can join us as a Startup Lighthouse startup and be the next one touring Europe!
Take a look at our current open calls for our mini ‘Deep Dive’ acceleration weeks to Dublin (MedTech – applications now closed), Lisbon (Smart Cities, apply by 1 March), Berlin (Mobility, apply by 8 March), and the Baltics (FinTech, apply by 15 March).