By @SimonCocking. Sign up for tickets here.

When is it on?

The next WE’BIZ Talk is on Wednesday, 19 April. This actually begins with the WE’BIZ Pitch initiative, a pitching and fundraising session taking place during the morning, involving 10 startups looking for investments. The presentations will be made under the watchful eye of international guest Chris Wade, a venture partner from Octopus Ventures. During the afternoon, he will be speaking on “How to build a unicorn from scratch in Europe”.

Startups involved: Agroop, eSolidar, Facestore, Fibersail, Glartek, Glexyz, Huub, ISSHO Technology, Muzzley e YouBeep

How many years has it been going?

The WE’BIZ Talks began in 2016 and are a recent focus for ANJE – National Association of Young Entrepreneurs, an association that has been around for 30 years and that was a pioneer in the promotion of entrepreneurship in Portugal.

Although they are a recent addition to ANJE’s vast agenda and to our project portfolio, the WE’BIZ TALKS are now one of ANJE’s prime objectives. These talks, which are here to stay, arose from a very specific ambition to boost the national scaleup movement, bringing the best Portuguese startups closer to the best European and American VCs, making a difference each time they’re held.

Alternating between broader calendars and events based on more specific, specialised programmes, the WEBIZ’TALKS always have an increased value proposition for the new generation of highly qualified entrepreneurs with global ambitions. April is no exception. After the surprising extended programme in March, the event is back, this time devoted to potential unicorns, with the participation of one of the best-known European VCs.

What was the inspiration to start it?

In 2016, ANJE brought investors from Intel Capital and HP Tech Ventures to Porto, as well as accelerators like Capital Factory (Austin, Texas, USA) and the MAD Incubator (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), and mentors from the USA (covering the main capitals of American entrepreneurship), Europe and Asia. In other words, a selection of the best in the world to support our founders on their journey. It was during our 30th anniversary celebrations, a year when we laid out a very specific vision that includes the WE’BIZ Talks: connecting the best Portuguese startups in the pre-seed and seed phases, looking for seed and series A rounds respectively, with the biggest European and American VCs, in synergy with the biggest national investors. Our aim in these WE’BIZ Talks is to provide startups with a fantastic opportunity to benefit from this proximity, perfect their pitches and receive investments from some of the best partners any startup could ask for.

What exciting things can people look forward to for the 2017 talks?

The trail that was blazed by the WE’BIZ Talks is being followed quickly and ambitiously. This is why we are certain that these dynamics will continue in 2017. We are already working on integrated programmes, involving world famous VCs, representatives of well-known risk capital organisations that also stand out for their know-how and their ability to motivate and engage audiences. At the same time, we are firmly convinced that the WE’BIZ Talks will continue to involve other players in the ecosystem, bringing other well-known experts to Porto (and maybe even to other Portuguese cities), from mentors, authors and journalists to specialists in acceleration, founders and corporates.

Despite the fact that WE’BIZ Talks only came public in 2016, the event has already a significant “footprint” in the global entrepreneurial ecosystem. After the debut with Vitaly Golomb, investment manager at HP Tech Ventures, in a session dedicated to investment in tech businesses, the WE’BIZ Talks proceeded, in February of 2017, with an approach to the German market. Tanja Emmerling, investment manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Luka Planinc, managing director at ABC Venture Gates, were the protagonists responsible for answering the question “How to scale in Europe via Germany?”. The last edition of WE’BIZ Talks focused attentions in the scale-up process from Portugal to the world. The event got together Portuguese startups and scale-ups, international corporates (like Microsoft for example) and three international speakers with a huge background: Max Kelly, Managing Director at Techstars, Verne Harnish, Founder of Entrepreneurs Organization and author of “Scaling Up”, and Boris Golden, principal at Partech Ventures.

What opportunities are on offer for people / startups / investors and companies attending?

The invited investors can always expect the best of the Portuguese ecosystem from the WE’BIZ Talks, given that ANJE has put all its experience and network into mobilising the best national startups and scaleups to take part in these events.

On the other hand, the WE’BIZ Talks give startups and the entrepreneur community in general a guaranteed opportunity to contact with corporates with global dimension, listen to the talks devoted to topics that are relevant to business activities, focusing on the reality of specific markets as well as on issues of attracting investment, internationalisation, innovation and management. At the same time, the interaction with investors component is a constant, both through the investment rounds and through the networking events that allow us to extend this opportunity to the other companies present.

What tips would you give to people attending to get the most out of it?

The WE’BIZ Talks are an informal, dynamic, interactive event. Which is why participants are given the opportunity to take home the contacts they want to make, the answers they’re looking for, the solutions that elude them. I would also say that the networking periods that always come after the WE’BIZ Talks are unique opportunities to actually speak to a group of people that would probably be inaccessible under other circumstances. I think these are the best tips we can give. 

How can people book tickets / when does it usually sell out?

Participation in the WE’BIZ Talks is free (online registration): The WE’BIZ Pitch component begins with a scouting process carried out by ANJE, which launches a call involving other players of the national entrepreneurial ecosystem and then makes contact with the startups, invites them to make their applications. After the call closing, ANJE gives invited international investors the mission of selecting the projects to take part in the pitching round.

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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