It's been a busy travel schedule for the Betatron team over the last couple of weeks. Several of us have been on the road, visiting a variety of startup conferences and diving into their ecosystems.
SaaStock (Hong Kong)
It was great to see SaaStock bringing their conference to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago. Arshad Chowdhury (our Entrepreneur in Residence) was on the judging panel for the pitch event alongside Roland Yau (Managing Partner of CoCoon Ignite Ventures & Founding Partner of Betatron).
Arshad commented, "SaaStock was rich in potential investment opportunities. These companies are focused on working business models that can be more capital efficient than, say, ride sharing and social sites. We invited at least 5 companies to apply to Betatron and are fast-tracking the due diligence process for at least one of these strong candidates."
I flew off to The Next Web's TNW conference which brought together an interesting mix of startups from around Europe. I wasn't surprised to see lot's of impressive tech talent continuing to emerge from Eastern Europe. It was my first startup conference in Europe for quite some time, so it was interesting to see the contrast between the Asian/European startup scenes.
To be honest, Paris and the Viva Technology conference far exceeded my expectations - the enormous venue, the impressive (no expense spared!) production, and the quality of speakers (none more so than the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, kicking it off with a passionate speech).
Paris has a fascinating ecosystem - one where culture, fashion and brand value has an important part to play in everything that goes on. One of the highlights has to be the private dinner I was lucky enough to get invited to with Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands. Really cool and down-to-earth guy, who's on a mission to connect Europe's startup ecosystems together.
Matthias Knobloch (our Managing Director) jetted over to Toronto for Colission Conf. Produced by the team behind RISE and Web Summit, I wasn't surprised to hear it was another great event with a host of top speakers in attendance.
As an investor, Echelon was probably one of the best-structured conferences I've been to. I was a judge at their Top100 pitch competition - which had 100 x 3-minute pitches from startups around SE Asia.
3-minutes is the perfect amount of time to quickly assess a startups' potential. A 5-minute pitch is often too long - that's 2-minutes wasted, which adds up. 100 x 2 minutes = 200 minutes (3.3 hours)!
Up next, I'll be attending London Tech Week (10-14 June) and Techsauce in Bangkok (19-20 June).
If you'll be there, let me know!
How to get the most out of a conference?
I've had quite a few startups recently ask me how to make the most of every conference they attend. The answers sound quite basic, and everyone probably knows them already, but remembering to do them is often key.
1. Do your homework and reach out beforehand
Get access to the conference's attendee list (every conference should be able to provide you with one), whether that's through their app or networking platform. Figure out who you want to meet and reach out around one week before the event.
Reaching out a day or two beforehand is too late. Most attendees will be travelling, won't see your message, and won't get back to you in time.
2. Post on social media that you'll be attending
About five days beforehand, share with your network (especially on LinkedIn) that you'll be attending. You never know who else might be going. The more connections you have at an event, the easier it is to network.
Also, find out the conference's hashtag and include it in your social media post. It will help to increase your post's organic reach (attendees often search for the hashtag before and during the event) and quite often the conference will retweet/share it.
3. Reach out to the organizers and offer to help
Maybe they need an extra panellist for a talk or a speaker just dropped out and you could step in. Participating in a conference really helps. You get access to invite-only afterparties and gives you the chance to promote whatever you're working on for free. And maybe next year, you'll get invited by the organizers and get your tickets, hotel and travel for free.
4. Exchange contact details straight away with people you meet
Everyone is at these conferences to network and build something. Exchange cards/scan on WeChat/LinkedIn straight away soon after meeting someone. You never know when your conversation will be broken up and you'll lose the opportunity.
5. Attend the afterparties and side events
Talking to someone about nothing to do with work, with a beer in your hand, is the best way to build connections at these conferences. Don't make the mistake and skip the side events because you're too tired. Sleep on the plane home! :)
We opened applications for Cohort #5 a couple of weeks ago and have already started reviewing the ones which have been submitted.
As a reminder, here's what you need to know.
The Application Process
To apply, please visit betatron.co/apply
We look forward to receiving your application.
If you have any questions, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know.