5 Things We Learned from WELCOME Project Matchmakings

Startup matchmaking events by Mind the Bridge, Welcome project, Startup Europe

This is a post written by Mind the Bridge, one of Welcome’s partners. 

It’s been a great ride, the WELCOME project has almost finished. Still, we feel this is just the beginning.

Last month, we flew to Berlin and Dublin for the final stops of Welcome Project’s “matchmaking train”: two years of travelling around Europe to organize 8 light matchmaking sessions between top startups, investors, corporates and accelerators.

Without further ado, let us share some insights from this great experience.

1. Looking for funds? Cross some borders

We couldn’t have organized over 300 meetings in 2 years without thinking “cross border”. The EU is a huge market, with over 700 million people getting more and more connected. All the startups we met have always been keen to find opportunities all over Europe, especially for funding.
Welcome Matchmakings have been a small – yet fortunate- step in the right direction: more than half of our investors and corporates showed specific interest to connect and invest in startups from other EU countries. This effort is surely paying off: our startups collectively raised over €11M, and this is just the beginning.

Entrepreneurs, take note!

2. Keeping it lean always works

During these 2 years, we joined several large tech and startup events, setting up our matchmakings there. We had pitching sessions, matchmaking rooms, networking arenas, 1:1 meetings in Audi limos and buzz-electric booths packed with top investors. More than 90 startups, 50 investors and 30 corporates joined our sessions, set up during large tech events that inspired thousands of people.
It would have been literally impossible to achieve this, adapting to several, very different tech events in 4 EU top hubs without working lean, listening to everyone’s feedback to tailor the experience each time.

Yes, “going lean” still works.

3. From diversity comes strength

One of the things we loved the most about this journey has been the opportunity to connect with people from all over Europe and the world. We met “happiness managers”, “node.js ninjas” and “candy makers” and a legion of brilliant developers, CEOs of all ages and amazing female entrepreneurs. Just…wow.
Our startups connected with more than 160 of these international partners, and 75% of them got follow-ups.

Walls? No, thanks.

4. Connecting EU hubs is crucial

Plant a tomato in Norway, and we’re safe to say it’s not going to grow glowing red and juicy as if you planted it in Spain or Italy. We learned a lot by hosting an average of 40 1:1 meetings per event, each time with around 12 international startups breaking more and more barriers. We saw creativity and hardware companies thrive in Berlin, brilliant foodtech ones in Milan, drones flying over Salamanca and cleantech startups painting the Irish landscape even greener.
Where were they coming from? That’s right, from all over Europe and beyond.

5. Let’s do it together!

Last but not least, this highlight is also a “thank you” note. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the fundamental support from all our Welcome partners, especially the amazing folks at Betahaus, Bisite Accelerator, dPixel and Ryan Academy.
Want to connect with their local ecosystems? The bridge is open!

And that is all, folks. Looking forward to the next journey!
Stay in touch, more to come.

See Mind the Bridge’s original post here: 5 Things We Learned from WELCOME Project Matchmakings

WELCOME Project

 

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