With the year 2023 marking the dozenth anniversary of successful entrepreneurial networking and startup growth in EE fostered by the How to Web conference, this year’s edition of Spotlight – one of the most anticipated startup competitions in Eastern Europe – will be pivotal.
Under the motto “Keep Building,” How to Web Conference 2023 will connect over 2,500 attendees, 350 startups, and 60 speakers, building a thriving tech web of visionaries, mentors, and aficionados across Eastern Europe – with Spotlight being in the limelight.
So if you’re a startup founder looking to turn your venture into a successful enterprise, then here’s all you need to know about the Spotlight competition, the 12th edition of which will take place on October 4-5 at the Face Convention Center in Bucharest.
How Spotlight, How to Web’s startup competition, keeps building business resilience
How to Web’s Spotlight is an innovation fest that gives the unique opportunity to turn an early-stage startup into a scaling enterprise. An example of such success is Licenseware with their novel app ecosystem and solutions for license management that won the 2022 competition.
Divided into a few well-defined phases, the competition welcomes startup applications from Eastern Europe seeking to raise investment and get support, with the only requirements for startups:
- A history of up to five years since inception
- A maximum of €500K raised
- Proven traction and potential
Following the application phase, 40 startups will be selected to enter the matchmaking program and learn from like-minded entrepreneurs and mentors, after which 20 of them will be selected as finalists. All finalists will be given a chance to enter the pitch competition and showcase their products and work on the dedicated startup stage.
Six startups will steal the spotlight and enter the final stage of the competition, when they will pitch on the main stage, securing their presence in front of investors. The winner will be announced at the closing moment of the conference and given the final grand-investment prize. While last year’s prize was 465K EUR, the investment-prize for Spotlight 2023 will exceed 500K EUR, syndicated by the following group of investors: Credo Ventures, SMOK Ventures, Fiedler Capital, Underline Ventures, Fortech Investments, and SeedBlink.
… And so much more for startups
While the final prize can be a great boost to any venture’s success, How to Web’s Spotlight brings so much more to founders. True to this year’s motto, How to Web helps startup founders keep building and connecting with their tribe. The Startup Expo, for example, is a wonderful way to showcase one’s ideas and get inspired from other innovative projects.
Startup teams will also have the unique opportunity to meet over a hundred mentors and investors, receive hands-on advice, and learn from industry pioneers like Maya Zlatanova (Find Me Cure), Mihnea Crăciun (Endeavor Romania), Horia Velicu (BRD – Groupe Société Générale), and Nicoleta Proștean (Vienna Business Agency).
No wonder that with such support and inspiration, we can spot among the past Spotlight alumni innovators like Machinations, Cartloop, Codewell, Veridion, and more.
How to Web Conference 2023: Spinning a web of novel ideas, tech projects, and global partnerships
Startups are not the only participants that can benefit from this inspiring How to Web event. Mentors and investors can also get the unique opportunity to showcase their work and connect with peers and even find the next tech breakthrough among all the 350+ startups attending the conference.
Other professionals and guests are also welcome to enjoy a wide variety of learning and networking experiences, including Q&A stage and one-to-one meetings. Because with keynote speakers, such as Sebastian Gabor at Digitail, Irina Haivas at Atomico, Ivan Brezak Brkan at the Croatian unicorn Infobip, Ryan Singer, Author of Shape Up, Stephanie Musat at Warner Bros. Discovery, and Amie-Rose Long at GetYourGuide, this year’s conference will definitely bring some of the most enjoyable and influential voices in the industry, both locally and globally.
The best part is that participants at How to Web not only talk about tech but bring discoveries to life. Whether that’s a social media marketing product or a data analytics gadget, there will be a workshop to help you witness (and even touch) emerging technologies despite the economic instability we are experiencing.
As Monica Zara, Head of Conference at How to Web, said:
“How to Web’s core mission is to enable access to resources and connections to anyone who wants to create or contribute to the development of products and services using technology. Since its very beginning in 2009, we kept our enabler role in this community. In recent years we have learned that resilience and the ability to adapt are the most important attributes in times of uncertainty. This year, we want to support and encourage all those who feel this uncertainty to keep building and join us in October with a #KeepBuilding attitude.”
Romania shows the region how to tech, literally
Long gone are the days when Eastern European innovators would seek professional realization only across Western markets. Now, many entrepreneurs actively support their own region and aim to build an ecosystem of startup success.
The fact that Romania hosts the How to Web conference is not random. With Romania holding the fifth position in the top CEE countries by VC funding raised last year, the country is becoming a tech hub of innovation.
As Alexandru Agatinei, CEO of How to Web, said, “Venture deals involving Romanian startups stood up to 2022’s strong headwinds coming from the global tech scene and the global economy in general. Coming out of 2022 we see strong signals that deals involving Romania-born startups can actually turn into a much-wanted bet in one’s portfolio, to say the least.”
Are you ready to steal the spotlight?
So, if you’re ready to take your startup to the next level, then don’t miss How to Web 2023 and enter the Spotlight startup competition.
You still have time to purchase your Very Early Bird tickets (until June 15) and reshape the tech future of the CEE region. See you there!