The magic of 15-minute meetings or what we learned at Wolves Summit
On the 19–20 March 2019 in the heart of Warsaw, the Palace of Culture and Science opened its doors again to host the 9th edition of Wolves Summit.
We could not possibly miss this event where startups, corporations, investment funds and business angels from all across Europe came together to establish new business relationships, support innovation and discuss the most recent and groundbreaking business and technology trends.
The event was reported to host 4534 1:1 meetings by 2023 participants, from which 225 investors, 353 corporates & executives and 477 startups & scaleups. The Wolves Summit’s notorious match-making tool allowed each participant to schedule up to 40-60 1:1 meetings with up to b2b representatives, startups and investors.
As a part of the main contest, our project KODI - Robot Toy was chosen to be one of 50 selected startups to pitch our idea to investors in front of an audience of 2k+ people. We were happy to share our idea and showcase what social robotics means for the future of the industry.
KODI Robot Toy was selected out of 477 other startups to be pitched at the international conference (Wolves Summit 2019)
After Wolves Summit conference, we decided to wrap up our experience and share with you some tips for startups on participation in similar events we discovered.
Lesson 1: Be prepared
Although it seems like a piece of obvious advice, good preparation is the icing on the cake. Especially when it comes to a 15-minute meeting with an investor or a potential partner, having an ace up one's sleeve might come in handy.
No one is genuinely interested in your business until you make them be. Preparation for a business meeting might be as valuable as for an open stage presentation.
Of course, we made a small research on every person we are going to meet, wrote down the possible questions to ask, as well as all the potential benefits we can gain from each other. But we should be clear with you that it’s not always enough. Preparation also means to have a few pre-planned scenarios of the meeting, including the one when someone does not show up, the conversation goes in a different direction or you simply ran out of time.
We know it’s not a simple task for one to predict the future, but the more you practice preparation, the more control you potentially have over the situation and the more effective your meetings are.
Lesson 2: Learn to listen
As a start-up driven by an innovative idea, we frequently think that we should share it with everyone as soon as we can. Nevertheless, it might not be the best approach for every situation. On the events like this, people have many great ideas and businesses, so your usual pitch, despite how awesome it is may not play as successfully as you expect.
We learned an important lesson of listening to the opposite side first to figure out their expectations for this meeting. It is an undoubtfully challenging task to accomplish in 15 minutes, but with practice comes mastery.
Lesson 3: Don’t underestimate the potential of small players
Big successful corporations may seduce you by their experience and beautifully prepared presentations, yet their prices bite pretty hard and it is difficult for them to offer you a small help in the areas you really need it. Moreover, big firms despite their experience are quite often specialized in very particular things, while your project may require a wider vision. What we really enjoyed is meetings with small companies, who could provide us with more customized solutions on flexible terms.
Lesson 4: Don’t waste time
Nothing is more precious and irreversible than time, especially when you are a startup at its first steps to greatness. We wanted to highlight that you shouldn’t waste time on unproductive meetings with whoever, and at the same time, you should not hesitate to share your idea and project with any potential ally. Don’t miss your train but don’t mix it with another.
Paweł Zarzycki, SmartLife CEO is presenting the idea of social robots and our project KODI Robot Toy at the international conference (Wolves Summit 2019)
Lesson 5: Nail your presentation skills
The first impression cannot be made twice. It doesn't, of course, mean that you have to stress out too much about what people think of you at their first glimpse. We just want to encourage you to be able to present yourself in different formats and within different time frames, so you can always deliver the most important information tailored to a particular occasion. That’s the first and foremost rule of successful presentation - know your audience and what they expect from you.
We hope you will gain some benefit from our experience and wish you the best of luck with your venture.
Overall, we were very happy with the organisational part of an event and be happy to see you there in the next iteration.
SmartLife Robotics is a startup that builds AI-powered robots and toys that boost children’s cognitive development in a wide spectrum of capabilities, https://smartlife.global
Wolves Summit is an international business conference the main objective of which is networking and communication, as well as the creation of growth opportunities for small and medium companies through active involvement of investors and entrepreneurs, https://poland.wolvessummit.com/.