By @SimonCocking. Interesting interview with Marcos Martin who we came across at Slush in Helsinki, and who runs the extremely cool world’s first Decelerator 20 days + 1 island + 20 intl. startups + amazing guests & investors, see here for more details.

What inspired you to run this event?

I found in Menorca the 3 key elements that were needed; a paradise that will skyrocket your creativity, and a tight knit network of VIPs in love with Menorca, combined with the startup expertise delivered by me and my cofounder!

What is the 1 minute pitch for it? Why would it be awesome for startups to attend? And why Menorca?

Any startups has to decelerate once in life to oversee the rest, and if you can decelerate in a low mental noise paradise interacting with top VIPs ins flip-flops you will then take the right decisions.

Why Menorca? I was lobbyist in Brussels, flying there every two weeks, the island has paradise, it’s international place, I got to know well connected people, who were using Menorca as a base, and I was able to meet with them, & finally the 3rd thing, is we have the startup connections, and expertise,

It’s like ‘gintonic’ [said with a Spanish pronounciation], it takes 3 things. Like the gin, the ice and the tonic, so too here as well. With good creativity on the island, good inspiration, creative people, and good connections between Sillicon Valley and Menorca, we thought let’s make a 15 days bridge and bring interesting startups.

We first heard about you at Slush, how did you find Slush? What was useful for you?

We have a very close community of super high level of people that have joined the decelerator. We asked  our community about how Slush is becoming a big point of reference for the sector.  We were in 6 different locations at Web Summit, South Summit, TechCrunch, we have a big network now as we go into our third year of doing this.

As a founder / mentor / entrepreneur what tips would you give to people thinking of starting a business?

Never give up, Make sure you surround yourself with the best people and be honest with everyone (investors, team, partners).  Startups are like a carousel, things go up and down, you never know when the market fit is coming. Make sure you have good people around you, and you can deal with the chaos. Look for honest people too, who can express their reservations, it’s good for the company also and good for your investors.

What lessons have you learned from you own journey and experiences?

You have to be ready for the worst scenario and happy to live an adventurous life because you will learn tons of key things that will be very useful for the upcoming startup ventures.

What tech trends are you excited about for 2017?

I think 2017 we will see a lot of VR, Artificial Intelligence, Insurtech, Chatboots, cibersecurity

We recently mentored startups in how to communicate & market on an island off Cork, Spike Island, called #StartupIsland. We found the location – an island – to be helpful => Why do you think this is?

An island is place where creativity goes beyond, small island are always paradigmatical places that attract humans curiosity and this what opens the doors to epiphanies 😉

What will this year be like?

We learned that we are good at attracting European startups, generally getting 1/3rd European, and 2/3rds from the rest of the world. However it makes sense to have one per region, within 5 hours travel time of your own base, especially if you have cofounders have to come.

Our second learning,  was that when everyone is in flip flops, everybody opens their sole / souls. Good connections happen in this environment and the 15 days created a community. We put in a lot of effort to create this community.

How do you manage this?

We have an agenda, with key topics, 1 on 1 meetings, 30 min meetings, with feedback from VIPs, then there are informal meetings, too,. This all helps to build towards something insightful, and then we see how the connections keep growing, both vertically and horizontally. We then help these develop from the 1 to 1 sessions too. Finally there are group activities, to test the team, and see how the relations are within the team are. Last year for example we cooked palleas, in teams. There were great connections between cooking and building a team, this brought great value for startups with some surprisingly good paellas too!

How can people find out more about the event?

Go to our web site or send me an email to [email protected]

Closing date is 15th March, and applications opened on the 15th of  January.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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