Ready To Rumbllllllllllle at the Web Summit! (Startup Tips on Exhibiting)

Marketing / News

Back in 2011 as a lil ol startup, myself and the guys at Redeem&Get rolled into the RDS for what was going to be 48 hours of fun, fact finding and ultimately a game changing moment when we won the Spark of Genius Award.

To say the Web Summit made a big change to our company is nothing short of an understatement however, an awful lot of work went into getting ready for the event so that we made sure that our time at the show was used to its full potential.

I have grown up in a family business catering for exhibitions, seminars and conferences. Having spent most of my childhood working at events in the RDS it really is as good as a second home to me. I have had the opportunity to work at events in a wide field of business sectors including business, food, health and beauty, fashion, craft, architecture, automotive and a few more to boot! During that time I have met countless numbers of exhibitors and attendees and as a result of this I believe there is a repeating pattern of success.

I’ve broken down my thoughts into three sections with my tips on what to do Before, During and for Follow up after the event. I really hope these points help your startup experience at events such as the Web Summit.

Get Ready to Rumbllllllllllle!

Tick Tock - Before you come to the Web Summit, you need to research the attendee lists and think about why do you want to be there, and who do you want to meet? You could be hoping to meet investors, press or partners. By sifting through the attendee lists you can find the Top 50 people that you want to meet. Emailing or tweeting people in advance could be useful, but knowing the criteria for who you want to meet is critical.

Pitch Perfect - You only have 8 hours in the day to talk to as many people as possible. It’s reasonable to allow 1-2 minutes per person that you meet. Get your pitch spot on in advance so that it doesn’t matter what industry they’re in as the same pitch will be suitable for every person in this quick fire way to break the ice. Prepare in advance with your whole team so that when people start hitting the stand, you can all take the lead, explain your startup and get their details!

Love Thy Logo - There are so many startups and people at the event that it becomes very important that you distinguish yourself from the crowd. Merchandise can be useful for this, and will help you to get people’s attention. Your proud of your startup right? Then get your t-shirts and have some fun and make sure people know where you’re from!

Inception - the event within an event… - When you’re an exhibitor there’s a whole range of business done between stand holders.
The exhibition stand is extremely beneficial because you can use it as a meeting point for everyone who you’d like to do business with and on the setup days it is a great time to make contact with other exhibitors and do some business!

Get Going!

Early Bird, Catch Worms…etc etc - Be there early every day so that you can talk to everyone, make introductions, and get to know the companies that will be exhibiting alongside you. You won’t just be meeting attendees, you’ll be meeting other exhibitors too. Build in time to see a few key talks too. Find the ones that you want to attend they should give you some helpful insights.

Backup Material - It’s great to take attendee details directly on your site, laptop or a signup form on a service like Mailchimp, but if something goes wrong, don’t get stuck. Keep a simple set of clipboards and pens handy so that you have a fast way to take peoples details in case you get slammed by a bunch of people at once looking to know more about your great startup! Every lead is important so make sure you don’t miss any of them.

Scribbling and Notes - When you’re meeting people, make sure to take a business card and jot down anything you should remember from that conversation as soon as possible so that you don’t forget key information. To acquire the most information and collect as many leads as possible, you should talk, take a card, make a note, and move on to the next person. This counts for after parties and networking events. There’s only so much information that one person can remember. If there’s anything important, get it down immediately!

Don’t Be Nervous - The reason you’re there is to meet startups. There’s no reason to be nervous. If you prepare in advance then you’ll be less likely to find situations intimidating. Make sure to ask the person you’re speaking to what they do. Every conversation has to work two ways to be of the most benefit.

Get Calling

Follow Up - When the dust has settled, the last party is finished and there’s no more pitching to be done (for now) it’s time to start following up on all of the great work you have done during the event. Don’t leave it too long or forget about it. Put a plan in place to immediately follow up on your leads.

Timing - You will get a feeling from chatting to attendees when they are most likely to be back at their offices so use this as a guide as to when to begin contacting them in follow up to the great conversations you had during the event.

Debrief - A good event should help you generate a lot of leads and you will more than likely pick up a lot of tips about what you are doing in your startup and get ideas that you may never have though of about your service. Take time out also to read back through your daily notes and run a debrief meeting with your team to think back through the conversations you all had at the event. In these types of meetings some really great information can be found that may make a change in your startup so make sure to give time to this process as well.


The one thing I believe about exhibitions and conferences in general is that per euro of cost to you to attend or exhibit there really isn’t a better value way to learn what people think about your product and meet new people that could be long term benefit to you and your Startup.

Above all else you are going to have an amazing time at the Web Summit. With a little bit of preparation you can make sure that you get the most from this event for both your team and your startup.

And never forget the volume of tasty confectionery at conferences, as illustrated here…


Redeem Team

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