First ever SWG Getaway held in Madrid

First time in Wise Guys history, the whole family of startup founders from different batches met for a Getaway – a three day event hosted by Campus Madrid and supported by EIT Digital and Microsoft. Our founders from Estonia, Latvia, Belarus, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Armenia, Russia, and Ukraine met with business angels, small VC funds and corporates from Spain and other European countries.

Along with networking and experience exchange sessions, startups and guests were exposed to 5 world class keynote speakers talking about scaling, Artificial Intelligence, collaboration between startups and corporations, preparing for an exit and learning from failures. The goal of the event was to foster collaboration among the graduates of our accelerator, as well as bridge the gap between startup and corporate worlds that sometimes seem miles apart, but can benefit from each other greatly.


Here we compiled some take-aways from the event and speakers:

“When scaling up, startups face various challenges, for example, recruiting people with the right skills, selling to large companies and attracting appropriate growth capital. While corporations are mostly seen in opposition to startups, they actually can help startups dealing with these challenges. And likewise, more and more corporations recognize that they need scale-ups to have corporate innovation going,” comments Carlos Rubal from EIT Digital.

“Being first in a lot of things is not good. Make somebody else go first and make all the mistakes. And then learn from that. Entrepreneurs of today are so blessed with ecosystem that support them, wasn’t like that in my days, » Alpesh Patel, author of book « TESTED » shares his bumpy ride building Africa’s first tech startup and challenging status quo.

“In AI we are moving from narrow intelligence to general intelligence – from machines doing 1 thing to abstract thinking. You have to realize that there are plenty of startups saying they do AI. So in what way are you different from the crowd, » Inma Martinez, AI expert, challenges the founders.

“A lot of startups nowadays are not created because founders are particularly interested in disrupting a defined industry, but rather because they have had bad experience and see how things can be done in an entirely different way. So for corporations apart from direct competitors and disruptors, there is also a whole area of experiential competitors that create products or services across industries like Apple, airbnb, Uber,” says Luis Villa del Campo from FJORD.

Apart from getting inspiration and knowledge, founders had lots of peer-to-peer exchange opportunities and as it turns out – in the family you can talk about the most complicated and deepest questions that you would not normally tackle with your team or at home. Most founders said that sharing their “pain” and helping others during this event was the greatest takeaway, because the founder and CEO journey is quite a lonely road.

We aim to make SWG Getaway an annual event and already marked the calendar for next year – last weekend of September. Because there’s so much value in a portfolio of more than 70 companies!