SPECIAL | Finally, the awaited Web Summit and the World’s Centre of Technology for the next 4 days

It was the 5th of November, and the Web Summit 2018 was about to start in the beautiful Lisbon at “Parque das Nações,” turning it into the “European Capital of Technology and Business” for the next 4 days

70.000 attendees from every corner of the world (170 countries!) are expected to cross the event, filled with the dreams and high hopes…

1.000 speakers from all industries and countries will present and mostly share their knowledge on all tech related subject matters, talk about the current trends and, very important, predict what will be the next hype across the different “tech fields.”

2.500 locals and international journalists will cover the event and report it to the world through all communications channels.

20.000 companies will be represented in the event, including 1.600 Start-ups with fast growing potential, that will participate in mentorship sessions and present their heart & work to 1.500 investors.

This last number is the proof of its success on hosting this summit. Last year alone, the event brought a return on investment of about 300 million euros to the country, with a yearly investment of 11 million euros from the Portuguese Government.

So, what can we say more about numbers? They’re huge, they show the potential, and most importantly, they create great expectations for all of its attendees with the world’s leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and creatives coming together in one place.

Everything was set, so the members of the Macau Young Entrepreneur Incubation Center (MYEIC) and the DSE representatives went to attend the opening speeches from Paddy Cosgrave (Web Summit Founder), followed by fascinating talks from Sir Tim Berners-Lee (WWW Inventor), Lisa Jackson (Apple VP)… going on to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and closing with official opening ceremony by the local Government and Municipality representatives, António Costa (Prime Minister of Portugal) and Fernando Medina (Mayor of Lisbon), respectively.


The night was cold, but what was heard gave some comfort and fulfilled the expectations, that this was the right place to be for all the entrepreneurs from Macau, who aim and seek to find new insights from all the industries represented, learn and talk with all the tech gurus present at the summit and mostly to certify that each one’s strategy for their business is in line with best practices used right now.

Tuesday, November 6, started with the “Lisbon StartUp Tour” from Beta-I (one of the main entrepreneurship and innovation organizations in Europe), giving all Macau representatives the chance to meet emerging and already leading start-ups hosted in Lisbon, from Portugal (TalkDesk, Unbabel, Uniplaces, Seedrs), but also from abroad (Zalando, Zomato,…) from several tech areas, where we met CEO’s and/or CTO’s who shared their expertise, but more important what were their failures, how did they learn from them and their path to success.

Finally, everyone went to Web Summit 2018, and began, what would be an incredible first day of the event.

The venue is divided in 25 different tracks spread with 4 big pavilions and the “big arena,” where the Centre Stage is located. In these conferences all speakers will approach current and disruptive themes, specific location divided in different areas with host hundreds of start-ups (from Travel and Hospitality, Fintech, HR, Artificial Intelligence, Machine-Learning, Virtual-Reality, etc) in tiny-booths (1-meter-wide) where they will pitch their products and services and hopefully reach news partnerships, customers and investments.

Several big themes were approached, but some could be highlighted: the “rise of fake news” and how tech will approach this; all issues about online privacy that affects us all and that are strongly approached by China, for example; and again, as (already) a cliché, crypto currencies, still (and to continue) one of the main subjects discussed and well debated from different perspectives.
But one of the most expected sessions, was going to be the “China Start-up Boom” and how should entrepreneurs be looking towards China for future start-ups. 3 Investors were invited as speakers, Robin Li (Vice President, GGV Capital), Tina Cheng (Managing Partner, Cherubic Ventures) and Arthur Zhang (Managing Director, ZhenFund).

They all mentioned the amount of effort China is putting on encouraging talent and companies to really solve people’s problems, creating a big network of incubators and accelerators all over the country, both public and privately owned.

They closed with big predictions for 2019, on what will be the industries to invest in next year:  Deliveries, education, payments and convenience solutions.

It was time to wrap-up the day, but it was clear to everyone that this event required a lot of preparation and focus, has the scale, it’s amazing and broad range of interesting events happening each day made it clear that like everything, clear goals and priorities should be in everyone’s mind.

After a good night’s sleep, batteries charged, both human and mobile, the 2nd day of the summit was going to start, with talks on robots, gaming and 20 years of Google. Again, a day promising to be very full and rich on knowledge and networking.

A great talk on the subject China vs USA: “How will the global power map be reshaped by technology?” discussing how China and the United States dominate the digital world; which one will come out on top; and if there will be anything left for the rest, was one of the days most expected session.

Great insights, some different opinions but with a clear message from every speaker, that these 2 countries should maintain always its business relations with each one’s different competitive advantages, and most importantly, always cooperate for a safe and prosper digital world for everybody.

The day was closing down, but still an important side event had to be attended, the Protechting – Startup Accelerator Program created by Fidelidade and Fosun. Two companies from Macau, previously awarded in a startup competition created by Parafuturo de Macao Investment and Development Limited in co-operation with Chinese investment and technology groups like Alibaba, were going to pitch along with 10 more companies to reach the final to be staged at the Web Summit.

TMASS and Baylife Tech, the two Healthtech companies selected, represent the best of what is happening in Macau, showing that is possible to be disruptive and innovative in our special region.

This was a good and proud way to end the day!

*By Marco Duarte Rizzolio and Hugo Ricardo Felicio, Co-Founders at Follow Me Macau