Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon is right around the corner, and we can’t help but look back at our journey over the last year.
One year ago, our product was BizChatBox. We were self-funded with two founders and a small team of developers. We had scratched together enough to release a customer support CRM solution in May, 2015 and by September we had 3000 companies worldwide who were using our free product. This was a critical time in our journey. While we had some proof there was a market for our product, we needed funding to build the product we really wanted.
To go or not to go?
The decision to attend Web Summit in Dublin in 2015 was a tough one; we had to weigh the cost of attending (a pain point for any startup) vs. the potential return. Our goal was primarily to meet investors but we also wanted to be immersed in a tech environment and get in depth feedback about our vision for our product. Ultimately, we decided that we needed to take a chance on ourselves and once that decision was made we were all in.
The Web Summit Experience
Thousands of dollars and a combined 40 hours travel time later, we were in Dublin. Our first impression of Web Summit 2015 was the sheer size of the event. With over 50,000 attendees from every corner of the world, it was truly a global gathering.
Looking back, our time in Dublin was a bit of a blur. We wanted to get the most of the event and our days and nights were completely packed; from exhibiting on 2 separate days, to meeting hundreds of different people, to pitching in front of 60 potential investors organized by Business Sweden, to attending Pub Crawls (hoping for our very own Uber moment). Sleep was a luxury but we were determined to get as much out of it as possible and as the week drew to an end it was evident that Web Summit had been hugely successful for us.
By the time we flew out on Saturday we had investor meetings lined up for Monday in Stockholm and less than 2 weeks after Web Summit we had secured our seeding funding from two venture capitalist firms – Lexis and Frescano Group.
In January, 2016 we set up our headquarters in Stockholm and on March 1st we opened our development center in Sri Lanka. Our product was rebranded to ZupportDesk and was released in September with a Live Chat tool, a Support Ticket System, Contact Management and a Knowledge Base. We now have a strong, passionate team of 26 and soon will be releasing Sales and Marketing tools with the goal of providing small and medium businesses with a truly complete CRM solution that is seamlessly integrated.
Looking to Lisbon
While it’s sad that Web Summit has moved from Dublin, we expect Lisbon to present us with brand new opportunities. We’re excited and looking forward to getting there, not just to showcase our products but to be around thousands of the best tech companies from around the world. Last year’s conference gave us an amazing boost and a momentum that took us to the next level, and I’m hoping that this year will be no different.
Nos vemos em Lisboa!