Inforens, a platform that connects prospective international students to students already studying overseas, was recently invited to attend the annual Web Summit in Lisbon. Yash Gulati, MSc International business and Politics, 2021 founded Inforens in February 2022, alongside his colleagues colleagues Devika Ghosal and Pankaj Sharma. Here, Yash reflects on his time at the conference.
Web Summit gathers a community of business leaders, developers, investors and start-ups together. With support from Queen Mary, we visited beautiful Lisbon, Portugal and networked with more than 100 investors, listening to outstanding speakers like Brad Smith (President of Microsoft), TS Anil (Global CEO at Monzo), Katherine Maher (Former CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation) and many more.
The conference covered many topics, including the Future of Education, the humanity of tech, sustainability, climate change and artificial intelligence.
Inforens was selected to pitch and exhibit at the conference. Web Summit gave us access to the web and mobile applications, where we had an opportunity to interact with 2000+ investors and 5000+ industrial experts. We successfully had more than 20 one-to-one meetings with early-stage investors.
Mentor hours were an opportunity to meet with fundraising experts and funding organisations. Each session lasted around 45 minutes.One of the mentors we met was Joao Camarate (Chief Technology Officer at Broadvoice), who gave us personalised advice on the scalability of our business across markets in America and the EU. This was an excellent opportunity to build organic connections and share our vision for the next three years. We successfullyarranged two follow-up meetings with Joao after the Web Summit and continue to receive actionable insights.
Web Summit had 70,000 attendees. Exhibition day was a chance to let everyone know what a start-up does. This was an excellent opportunity for us to gain visibility and meet with angel investors, potential partners and the media. We also interacted with various indirect competitors across Latin America, enterprise solution companies and seed-stage investors.
We were successful in finding the right partners for Inforens. Through our conversations, we successfully established partnerships with five companies, including Stripe and KPMG Beyond. The exhibition helped us network with other start-ups in the same industry, making it easier to learn from them and share our experiences.
Meeting other startups, CEOs, COOs, CTOs, developers and other colleagues from the community allowed us to create networking bonds that could eventually lead to future opportunities. Media reporters were interviewing startups, so the Summit was the perfect moment to get international exposure too.
We enjoyed some great socials, including the opening party, the Night Summit, and Closing Party. After the first day of networking with investors and attendees, we were happy to unwind at the Night Summit. A chance to refresh and experience the Lisbon nightlife before the next day's activities!
This was also an excellent opportunity to network with other attendees and build a network in a neutral setting. We made some great friends who are looking forward to supporting us in this start-up ecosystem.
Web Summit was a massive learning curve for us. We have partnered successfully with seven companies and are in talks with four more. We are still in touch with three potential investors interested in Inforens. We had the opportunity to connect with 15 industrial experts, including experts from KPMG, and Techstars. Last but not least, we learned from the successes and failures of the start-ups around us who were continuously trying to pitch to every walking investor at the summit!
We would never have been able to attend the web summit this year, learn and extend our network to such great lengths in such a short period without the support of the Enterprise team at QMUL. We are very grateful, especially to Emma Davies, David Lee, David Tomas-Merrills, and others at Queen Mary for giving us the opportunity and resources that made attending Web Summit 2022 possible.