We have just concluded our biggest to date portfolio gathering in the beautiful city of Bilbao in Spain, bringing together 200+ people – our portfolio startup founders, investors and of course our own teammates. It took us a while – the last onsite gathering happened in 2019 in Alicante… this year we definitely pushed the benchmark high and to our knowledge have hosted probably the biggest onsite gathering among European VC funds’ portfolios. How did it all go? Read more to find out!
So, what is the Startup Wise Guys Getaway?
Getaway is an annual gathering of founders from the Startup Wise Guys portfolio, as well as investors in our funds.
The Startup Wise Guys Getaway is a multi-day business festival that features engaging content and invaluable networking opportunities. There is a good balance between inspirational talks by external speakers and startup founders themselves, as well as, networking and socializing, but above all – fun and gastronomic experiences, in the form of social lunches, dinners, and a Gala night which in this case included dancing up until 4 am.
“[Getaway] exceeded my expectations by 10.000%”
Why are we doing this?
We are big believers in community and the power of peer-to-peer support among our startups. As we run programs in cohorts and since covid they run mostly online, it means startups do not necessarily know other founders from the portfolio, but they could leverage these contacts for so many things, starting with support, knowledge exchange, and most importantly as the experience has shown – acquiring new customers and even finding investors among fellow entrepreneurs.
Getaway is one of our initiatives designed to foster networking among our portfolio founders. In addition to that – we see this event as a great opportunity for founders to get strategic workation – coming for 3 days to another place, traveling together, getting inspired by Getaway speakers and just switching the focus. We believe that can help them run their business even better and wiser!
“In my opening speech I was saying to the founders – this event is probably one of the very rare occasions when you can actually be present, listen to the speakers, without the need to run to ten investor meetings, to connect with fellow founders, who are sharing similar journeys as you. It was great to see how engaged and active people were. Getaway always reminds me of our purpose – to support startups in their journey in building amazing companies.
Something to get inspired with
Although Getaway’s core purpose is networking and building relationships among our founders, this year we paid special attention to gather a rather diverse group of speakers to shine light on topics from leadership to neurodiversity, startup exit stories and AI, to insights into the investment environment. We cannot transfer all the knowledge and insights in a blog post, so we will just say a huge thanks to all the speakers that came from near and far (even flying over the ocean) to ignite the spark in the listeners.
Thank you: Patrick Mork, Mattia Stevanin, Alpesh Patel, Theo Smith, Goda Go, Vojta Rocek, Stoyan Yankov, Alexander Stan, Felipe Peñacoba, Ulla Sommerfelt, Farokh Shahabi, Roman Lobas, Ger Bogan, and of course our own – Cristobal Alonso, Dag Ainsoo, Herty Tammo.
“I was looking forward to meeting people from my batch again. I also wanted to meet other startups, do some networking and get motivated by the talks. And of course the parties :)”
Startups to startups
Brutal honesty – that is how you could characterize the talks happening only in a founder environment. While the investors and other guests were touring Bilbao, we brought all the founders to the BAT Tower to hear the “real deal”, aka love and horror stories of the startup journey – how to hire and not-hire co-founders, what does it really mean to fail and close the company (and build a new one), also how to increase sales or pivot.
Thank you brave founders that stepped on the stage: Peter Gal, Stephane Gombault, Zoran Nasteski, Laimonas Norieka, Karin Kuusk, as well as the panelists Giacomo Malandrino, Vincenzo Abbatantuoni, our own Andrea Orlando, and Pavlina Louzenska – discussing whether European startups should launch or not to launch internationally from day one.
Down the memory lane
There have been 4 on-site Getaways so far – the first one was held in Madrid, in the lovely Google Campus premises, the second one in Marbella, third one in Alicante in 2019, with great support from the local government and Accenture Alicante office. And then the Covid happened and we were forced to move the event online, which of course wasn’t the same. In 2023 we finally could bring the event back on site and with support from the Bizkaia region brought it to the enchanting Bilbao, where also one of the Startup Wise Guys offices in Spain is located.
While we are reliving the impressions of 2023 year’s event and gearing up to start planning Getaway 2024, we’d like to say big kudos and thank you to our partners that made this year’s event special: BEAZ, Deel, BAT Tower, as well as our event organisers The Yellow B agency.