Doing the impossible in Gdynia
When I met Piotr Piasek, the CEO of Younity, he was super excited. He returned from Dublin from Websummit Conference and he announced that he and his crew will organize a local startup event in 4 months with +1000 attendees and +200 exhibitors. I really liked his enthusiasm and energy. Piotr, Marek and Basia - the three co-founders - surprised me with their motivation and attitude. They are the kind of people I like - DOers, not TALKers. I knew that this team has already done a couple of local events, including Marketing day and See bloggers, and this one was going to be The Big One.
The Formula of the Event
They decided to name the event Wolves Summit. If you are a startupper, you are like a Wolf, humble and free, and you set your own rules. Of course, it’s hard to survive alone. You need your wolfpack - the people who will believe in you and your product/service. The idea was to create a place where innovation meets entrepreneurship. The main award was 50K in USD for the best startup. Additionally, you had a chance to speed date with the investors and try to sell your idea.
Let’s contribute to the event with Conventica!
I decided to help with the conference. I talked to Piotr and Marek and we decided that an event app would be useful. We didn’t have too much time, so we decided to use Conventica and customize it for the needs of Wolves Summit.
The event app was quite successful - over 500 attendees have downloaded it and used it. The organisers did a great job promoting the app and using it during the show. There were many interactive features such as Competition, Messages or Community. Startuppers are usually demanding users, and Conventica enhanced their experience of the event.
I had a chance to talk to many people and collect feedback. They suggested a couple of issues we need to fix or improve ASAP, but in general it served people very well. Some folks caught up to me and said: “I was looking for you, you are on my list of people I want to meet here.” They did a list in the Community section of the app and they found me. Organisers could easily communicate with attendees via the app and update the schedule (which was changing a lot). I was really happy about the fact that the average rating of the app was 5 stars!
3 intense Wolf - Days
It all started on Monday in Coco club here in Gdynia. We had a chance to network - it was nice and I already knew that there are many international guests who I needed to talk to.
Tuesday was the most intense day in my opinion: high expectations, first lectures and workshops. Startups ready to convince the attendees that their solution is the best in the world. The best part of this day for me (and others) were the people. The representatives of companies like Pipedrive, Orange and TVN Ventures were easy to reach. I had the pleasure to share my stories about 3 startups we did at Desmart and that was a great experience. A few people asked me questions after the presentation and we had a friendly discussion.
Wednesday was the second day and it started lazily. I knew that people were tired after the previous day and the networking party in Zatoka Sztuki. I attended some lectures and discussions and I really liked some of the topics. I learned how corporations cooperate with startups and I understood the opportunities in the FinTech industry. Moreover, I had a chance to discuss Lean Startup with Dawid from Google. In the meantime, there was a great fashion show powered by Elle. Pure beauty in the middle of the startup world.
In the evening, I was invited to a VIP dinner in Vinegre di Rucola. I didn’t expect that there will be so many international people. I talked to startuppers, investors and incubator representatives from around the world. We had a couple of glasses of wine and the discussion was smooth. It was great to talk to Karol from Facebook and some guys from Polish software houses.
Thursday was the last day and some people were gone, but I enjoyed this day’s events a lot for a couple of reasons. I had a chance to attend a workshop on team building and listen to a speech about the key pillars of success prepared by Karol Karpiński from Facebook.
The award ceremony at 4 PM was a great finishing touch. Huge congratulations to all the winners, especially Ourotech for the Great Pitch! If you want to be up-to-date with all the news from Wolves Summit, simply follow their Fanpage
Last, but not least - conclusions
I talked to many people and asked about their opinions. I will try to summarise pros and cons of the conference below.
Pros of Wolves Summit
- Silicon Valley in Gdynia - there were many speakers from SV and USA in general. Organisers did a great job. I never had a chance during a Polish startup event to meet so many great people with such knowledge and open minds.
- Great networking options - events (before and during the conference), community in the application and the venue allowed people to interact a lot.
- The additional events, like Fashion Show with Elle.
- Great topics and discussions. People + knowledge - this is why I enjoy such events.
- Donuts! I love donuts and there were plenty :D
Cons of Wolves Summit (for future improvement)
- Chaos in the agenda - even with the updates in the app or on the screens at the front of each stage, it was hard to find out who’s gonna be the next speaker.
- The venue and maps - PPNT is a great building, but it was hard to find out where things were happening. Startups were separated in another building and you had to go outside to see their stands or attend the workshops.
My opinion is that although there were some organizational issues with the event, Marek, Piotr and Basia did a great job. I was watching them working hard for nights to make Wolves Summit happen. With such a short notice and taking into account that it was the first edition of the event, it was a great success. They involved many volunteers and shared their energy and passion with the people around them. It always pays off. Even if some people were sceptical, I know that bold and humble people make things happen. The crew of WS is one of such teams. If I would have to organise an international show here in Gdynia, they would be the first people I would get in touch with.
I believe the next edition will be even better and people will spread the word about Wolves Summit.
Because if you become a Wolf once, you will stay a Wolf forever!
My Rate: 8/10