Lisbon Investment Summit – a ThirdEye view
There’s a makeshift swimming pool and Live band performing on a carousel — check.
The entire event is being held in a former military exercise facility and Google is hosting speakers in a, Bakery?
Double check on the unexpected.
Where investors, entrepreneurs, VCs, activists and everyone in between gather once a year to talk all things startup, this years Lisbon Investment Summit organised by Beta-i, one of Europe’s leading entrepreneurship and innovation organisations, did not disappoint. Here we give you a fly on the wall insight into what went down from the ThirdEye team.
If Lisbon was having its 15 minutes of fame, it is set to be a long 15 minutes
The investment summit was held in the Beato Creative Hub, 35,000m2 of stunning warehouses with original features that previously made up an industrial zone of East Lisbon factories. 2018 will see the first startups moving into the space to set up shop permanently, fostering a creative hub for Lisbon entrepreneurs and creating an estimated 3,000 jobs. It’s clear, Lisbon is spreading out some sustainable tech hub roots for the long haul.
The Future is coming for work
ThirdEyeMedia founder Clara AD sat down with Marvin Liao of 500 Startups to discuss how the environment for entrepreneurs, VCs and startups is going to require some adaptability on our parts. Expect to brace yourself for a career of, well, multiple careers. The pace of technology, shifting business models and consumer trends may mean the shelf life for an average job could be cut in half with Liao pointing out that we might even see the emergence of a million dollar company with just a single employee — the founder.
The future holds major potential for creativity and finally getting to use that side hustle you have been nurturing outside of work. Instead of thinking employable, think about being entrepreneurial. Have some unrealised ambitions? Stop stalling and start setting them in motion, get comfortable with yourself and your brand, think about how you might market your skills in the new work lands
cape. These days taking risk is actually less risky, having a start up with 10 clients for example is less risky than a single salary. And don’t forget the small things — Marvin highlights that some of the smartest investors and founders he works with are the ones that are always reading, so try squeeze in some time for that last book you bought or that kindle gathering dust. You can catch some highlights of Day 1 here.
The excuses are getting old
On a panel studded with female VCs, angel investors and activists one thing was clear — lack of diversity and exclusion of women from investments is no longer going to be overlooked. Angel Investor Paola Bonomo and Gillian Muessig of Outline Ventures brought sparks to the stage stating that disrupting for more inclusion needs to involve both women and men addressing the white straight male elephant in the room. Ashley Carroll of Social Capital discussed alternative models of funding beyond traditional face to face pitching and venture fundraising and the idea of introducing more data analytics driven platforms for entrepreneurs to access investor capital in a more democratic way. Still, embracing new data driven methods on the quantitative side will also need a strong element of collaboration, as Mariana Santos of Chicas Poderosas explained, the case for diversity can no longer be about the polarisation of men versus women but must focus on the synergy of men and women working together.
Startups and let downs
Another standout talk of the summit featured the head of investments from Web Summit Declan Kelly sitting down for an autopsy of startups from serial entrepreneur Zach Coelius. While starting up and scaling up is typically the prize young founders have their eyes on, Zach references his track record of dealing with his first ventures and the mishaps that came with super scaling. As Zach puts it, when you scale too fast, the things that were once easy to manage become hard, and the things you once found hard become easier. Think of it this way,
- Small startups = small teams = easy to manage
- Small startups = little capital= difficult to manage
Now add some rocket pace scaling and flip it:
- Bigger startups = bigger team = harder to manage
- Bigger startups = more access to capital = easier to manage
Major lesson but one often learned the hard way? Listen to your people, spend time understanding what’s wrong and try to keep a grip on filtering those entering into your organisations.
In a nutshell?
-Lisbon is still nurturing it’s tech hub foundation and is on track to remain a place to call home for global entrepreneurs.
-The VC environment should expect a new batch of CEOs beyond the atypical young white males we see today.
-VCs should also expect a reshuffle of access to capital to accommodate diversity.
-The time to awaken your inner entrepreneur is now, the future won’t wait much longer.