At his surprise appearance at the beginning of Web Summit In early November in Lisbon, Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, appealed to the global technology community to support her country in the fight against Russian attacker not to be left alone. “Russia is putting technology at the service of terror,” said the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the main stage of the summit. Zelenska challenged the participants to put technology at the service of humanity, not destruction.
According to Zelenska, technology can bring people together, for example in the form of social media or messaging services. “We often hear that technical innovations move the world, but it is more than that. They have the power to determine the direction in which the world moves.” Addressing the community of developers and startups gathered in Lisbon, she said: “You are the force that moves the world. You have the potential and technologies that should help, not destroy. I’m sure your world can move in the right direction if you help the world. ‘Ukraine. That’s why I invite you to do it. Let’s do it together. “
The organizers of the Web Summit are expecting more than 70,000 visitors from 1 to 4 November. “The Web Summit is back,” said Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of the tech event, and spoke about the new summit records. “We have the largest participation ever.” Around 2,300 startups will be presented in the Portuguese capital. More is not possible, Cosgrave said. You are reaching the capacity limit.
With the Web Summit, Cosgrave wants to offer a mirror of the present and a window to the future. However, they don’t look particularly rosy at the moment, she admitted. Markets have changed dramatically, investor sentiment has cooled significantly in the face of the recession. However, Cosgrave pointed out that the number of start-ups has always increased, especially in times of crisis. “Many senior executives who have been laid off go into business for themselves,” Web Summit’s father noted. Furthermore, it has never been easier than now to start a company with little money.
Overall, however, disillusionment seems to prevail on the global start-up scenario, given the more difficult economic conditions. Many technological values that have become more and more valuable over the years have lost their value enormously in recent months. In the venture capital phase of the Web Summit, some startup founders admitted they were not entirely innocent of market overheating. It will be announced in the future to show more solidity in your business.
Sabina Wizander, now a partner of Creandum, turned her back on the venture capital (VC) market in 2016. “When I returned in early 2021, I was shocked by what I saw. € 20 million deals are were closed in 48 hours. There was hardly time to look under the hood. ” Her colleague Andreas Munk Holm, founder of European VC, admitted: “We were in a state of madness where we just got some money.”
In Portugal the dream is not over yet. Lisbon Mayor Carlos Moedas referred to the “Lisboa Unicorn Factory” he had created. In the meantime, eight so-called “unicorns” have established themselves in Lisbon, ie start-ups with a market valuation of over one billion euros. Young companies applying for the program can spend eight months in the factory, where they are looked after by large technology companies.
Portuguese Economy Minister António Costa Silva is also hoping for more innovation and technology in his country: “Today we have one of the highest numbers of unicorns in Europe”. The minister wants to attract more venture capital startups. The economic value of the startup sector has grown by a factor of 50 over the past six years. Silva also announced a € 90 million financial package aimed at supporting more than 3,000 startups in Lisbon and across the country.
However, the start-up boom and the courtship of digital nomads also have a downside. The tax breaks, the numerous co-working spaces and the relatively low cost of living make Lisbon attractive to the founders of the tech industry. Life in Lisbon is becoming more expensive for the locals and middle incomes are also under pressure. In recent months, in particular, apartment rents have increased massively. Many “Lisboetas” complain that they can no longer find affordable accommodation in the city on the Tejo.