5 tips for getting the most out of Web Summit Qatar as a startup

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Marie Boran
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Picture of Marco Antonio Rodrigues Santana, CEO, Atomica Health Tech, speaking at Startup Showcase during Web Summit 2023.

From polishing a pitch to learning from the experts, here are five ways startups can make the most of their time at Web Summit Qatar.

Attending a large event like Web Summit Qatar can feel daunting for early-stage startups. There’s so much to do and so many people to meet in three days! But, with these tips, you can get networking, get knowledgeable, and get noticed in no time.

1. Make your startup profile shine

Once you’ve been accepted to our startup programme, you’re invited to fill out a profile that will appear on the featured startups page. This is your chance to stand out from the crowd right from the beginning.

A good profile is written in plain English with a clear description of what your company does. Ask yourself questions like ‘what problem do we solve?’, or ‘what gap in the market do we fill?’.

Your profile matters for several reasons, including putting a good face forward for potential investors. For instance, for our investor to startup meetings, investors select startups they want to meet based on their profiles (and their pitch deck).

Your profile is also used for your exhibition board, and to create your company profile on our mobile app. Don’t forget to add in all your social links, as well as the URL for your website.

Diogo Ramalho, senior coordinator on Web Summit Qatar’s startup success team, says:

“Your profile serves as a first introduction to the more than 12,000 attendees joining us in Doha for Web Summit Qatar.

“Think of your profile as visual marketing. Having a well-phrased elevator pitch can help encourage engagement with your company, and a visually-attractive logo may increase the number of views on your profile.”

2. Put yourself forward for PITCH, powered by Jusour

As an early-stage startup looking to gain exposure and funding, applying for PITCH is an opportunity you should strongly consider. It’s a chance to get your startup noticed and, potentially, to land funding and partnerships. 

As Web Summit 2018 PITCH winner Alex Kendall – co-founder and CEO of Wayve – put it, “the publicity of winning PITCH gave us a build in momentum as we approached our next fundraising”. 

Tim Johnson, the co-founder of 2021 PITCH winner Couply, said: “I remember describing it as the Olympics. Getting a ticket [to the event] was a way to watch, but entering PITCH was our chance to play.”

To qualify, you need to be an exhibiting ALPHA or BETA startup, and have received less than US$5 million in funding to date. An independent panel reviews all applications, selecting the top 42 startups to prepare presentations and deliver pitches onstage. 

Diogo has some valuable insider info that could help you craft your pitch: “When scoring startup pitches, members of the judging panels are asked to take into consideration the following criteria: product, potential to disrupt, team, financial viability, and quality of pitch.”

3. Benefit from the expertise at Mentor Hours

Imagine sitting down with a group of like-minded founders and spending 45 minutes soaking up the hard-won wisdom of an executive who has already built a successful company. That’s what Mentor Hours offers.

These interactive sessions put you directly in touch with high-level attendees who want to coach startups by drawing from their own experiences.

Based on the track you choose – Lead, Build, Engage, or Grow – you’ll be matched with a mentor whose expertise aligns. So, whether you need advice on leadership strategies, marketing tactics, product development or securing funding, you’ll get tailored insights.

4. Have an outstanding stand

You’re exhibiting with thousands of other startups. How do you get noticed? Make sure your stand or booth draws people in.

There’s no wrong way to do this… Our attendees love tech toys. Would VR goggles help demonstrate your product or service? Maybe a cute robot would help get the message across. 

Don’t just bring some free stickers or pens to give out to passersby. Make people want to stop and take a selfie with you, or even create a TikTok or Instagram post. Maybe you have a fun mascot for your startup or another eye-catching prop?

We have plenty of past examples, from a startup making IoT sensors for monitoring beehives – they brought a box full of honeycomb – to a startup with a pet-sitting app who covered their stand in cute soft toys. 

“We encourage startups to get creative to capture attendees’ attention,” says Diogo. 

“Consider wearing matching shirts that have your company logo and name. And, from a marketing perspective, think about your target market and whether you want to focus on building a brand there. Do you want to connect with all attendees, or focus on a particular type?”

5. Do your research

Download the Web Summit Qatar app, and look through the attendee list and speaker lineup ahead of time. This will give you an idea of who you might want to arrange meetings with. There might be certain investors or companies whose niche aligns with yours.

Don’t forget to check out all our content sessions and build a schedule of ones you or your team members would like to attend. Web Summit Qatar isn’t just a networking event – it’s a learning experience, with plenty of experts speaking about the latest trends in marketing, development, investment and more.

Meet the startups headed to Doha this February for Web Summit Qatar.

Main image of Marco Antonio Rodrigues Santana, CEO, Atomica Health Tech, speaking at Startup Showcase during Web Summit 2023: Web Summit

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