Last week was a fantastic week for South East Europe, since Bucharest hosted the fourth edition of How to Web, the most important web and technology event in the region. Developed around the Let’s grow together central concept, How to Web 2013 brought more than 40 international speakers from 4 continents in front of an audience of over 800 persons. Startup Spotlight, competition and orientation program for the best 32 startups in the region, was organised during How to Web.
How to Web 2013 took place on two parallel stages. Grow Stage, the main stage of the event, hosted presentations of world-class technology professionals. These talks were addressed to developers, designers, and the communities formed around tech products and brought to the attention of the public subjects such as technology innovation, building sustainable teams, actual tendencies in the industry, or the importance of design for developing innovative products.
Who runs Europe?
Thomas Hartwig (Co-Founder and CTO King.com) officially opened the event and talked about the advantages and challenges of accelerated growth and the lessons learned from developing King from 1 to over 100 million users. Mike Butcher (Senior Editor TechCrunch) continued by answering the question Who runs Europe? and revealed more about the most powerful tech people at European level.
Another section of How to Web was dedicated to the lessons learned by working remotely with research & development teams. This subject was approached in a panel by Marius Jumolea (General Manager of the Visual.ly R&D center in Romania) and Michael Levit (Founder of Spigot). The discussion was moderated by Philipp Kandal (Co-Founder and CTO Skobbler)
The second day of How to Web 2013 started with the presentation of Robin Wauters, technology journalist, that talked about industry trends and the way in which small European companies innovate and maintain themselves one step ahead of their competition. The event continued with a fire side chat with Radu Georgescu (Founder of Avangate) that explained the strategic decisions taken for developing the company all the way from idea to its recent exit.
Lessons from HackFWD
David Bizer (CEO Talent Fountain) presented the lessons learned from his 3 years journey with HackFwd, accelerator program that closed this summer, whereas the tools for developers were discussed by Martyn Davies (Developer Evangelist SendGrid), Jamie Hannaford (Software Developer Rackspace) and Michal Wawra (Developer Evangelist Twilio) in a panel moderated by Ivan Brezak Brkan (Netocratica). Christopher Martin (Senior Manager Bosch) discussed about the difficulties of developing a quality tech product, and Vitaly Golomb (Fondator and CEO Keen Systems) talked about design thinking and the importance of design for the development and growth of a product.
During the two days of How to Web important professionals of the global tech industry came in front of the audience to share their experiences: Paul Ford (CIO Softlayer), Alex Hunter (CEO Rushmore.fm), Philipp Kandal (Co-Founder and CTO Skobbler), Marco Cecconi (Software Engineer Stack Exchange), Simon Stewart (Software Engineer, Facebook), Matt Clayton (Co-Founder and CTO Mixcloud) or Åžtefan Szakal (Founder of X3 and [e-spres-oh]).
Ignite Stage, the second How to Web stage, hosted panels that approached startup specific subjects: best practices when going through an acceleration program; how does the right startup team look; shipping the right product for the right market; tips and tricks when looking for investments; how to involve and learn from mentors, clients and investors; what are the most common mistakes startup founders do. All these themes were approached by over 25 investors, representatives of world-class accelerators and investment funds that work with early-stage startups. Particularly addressed to the persons that are currently developing their own startup, the Ignite stage was especially designed for the 32 finalist teams of the Startup Spotlight competition and orientation program.
20,000 cash prizes
The startups were assessed by expert judges that took into consideration criteria such as the team fit and expertize, market size & trend, market validation & traction, customer acquisition cost, scalability and overall feasibility. The big winner of this yearâ€™s Startup Spotlight competition was Smart Hand, Bulgarian startup that engineers a myoelectric prosthetic hand for disabled people. Synetiq, tool that provides businesses with valuable emotional insights about their customers, was the runner-up in the contest. The team from Wyliodrin, easy web based development tool for embedded services, received the IXIA Innovation Award, and the best pitch award went to Data Maid, tool for creating and publishing rich media content on the go. The finalists received USD 20.000 cash prizes offered by IXIA Romania, the main partner of How to Web Startup Spotlight.
Besides the consistent cash prizes, the finalists received several other valuable awards: access to Microsoft Azure’s platform, free infrastructure and mentoring as part of the Softlayer Catalyst startup program, office hours with Jon Bradford (Managing Director of the TechStars acceleration program), Biri Goran legal scholarships consisting of 3 hours of legal advice for startups, the opportunity to pitch their product during Startup Bootcamp, access to Hub:raum workshop in Krakow, a shortcut to attend a Seedcamp event, cloud infrastructure offered by Rackspace, Evernote premium accounts, tech goodies from F6S, as well as direct access to the Romanian Innovation Commercialization Program (RICAP).
How to web, more than a conference
The first edition of How to Web took place in 2009 in the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and we continued with a first international edition in 2010. How to Web grew from one year to another not only in terms of participants, but also in which regards its agenda and objectives. How to Web is more than a conference we wanted to make a useful, practical tool that brings about measurable results for the persons in the audience. We are glad that we managed to reach these ambitious goals and the success stories that we have so far are a proof in this respectâ€, said Bogdan Iordache, Co-Founder and CEO of How to Web.
How to Web 2013 was developed with the support of IXIA, X3, Bitdefender, CyberGhost, SoftLayer, Enterprise Ireland, Avangate, Microsoft, Hubraum, PayMill, Twilio, Biris Goran and Banca Comercial Romania.