The bright lights shine down to illuminate the stage where a group of musicians are playing the last notes of their overture. Investors, startups, corporates and entrepreneurs put their hands together as a man who created a $26 billion dollar business takes to the stage to share his knowledge and wisdom.
He has a smile on his face as he greets the crowd and takes a seat on one of the cream leather chairs centre stage. He is, of course, Linkedin co-founder Allen Blue. And we are, of course, at South Summit 2016.
“We launched in May of 2003 and had a bet on the number of users we would have in one week”, Blue recalls of Linkedin’s launch. Co-founder Reid Hoffman bet they would have 10,000 users that first week. Allen himself guessed 5,000. The winning bet turned out to be 2,000 users. And even that wasn’t correct. It turned out Linkedin actually had 1,700 users by the end of their first week.
The team at the time was small - just 10 people. When a team is small and you’re just starting out “the one thing that you need to do is pick the most important problem you need to solve and stay with it”, Blue says. “Have a vision of where you want to go, stick with it, and then deliver the best you possibly can on that one thing”.
Over the following 72 hours, more than 12,000 attendees would pass through the doors of La N@ve for 3 days of networking, discussions, debates, keynotes, inspiration and insight like this.
Jeremy Johnson of Andela talked about diversity being good for business, and South Summit presented a fantastic opportunity for those willing to take him at his word. Here, in this venue, were a group of like-minded entrepreneurs from over 100 countries all pitching, networking, building relationships and doing good business. As entrepreneurs preached, angels listened. It was as easy as A, B, Seed.
Dave McClure of 500 Startups rounded off the first day analysing his investment strategy for making lots of small bets in order to find that often-elusive unicorn. Local investor Jose del Barrio from Samaipata Ventures, Niklas Zennstrom of Atomico, and Martin Mignot of Index Ventures were just some of the investors to take the stage during the event. They were joined by over 400 local and international speakers.
By the time Friday rolled around the winners of the 10 startup tracks had also been announced, with Spot-a-Home taking the title of startup of the year. Barcelona-based Bioo won most disruptive startup for their photosynthesis based energy system. The Motion took home most scalable product with Orphidia winning best team.
In the final keynote of South Summit ’16, Kike Sarasola took the opportunity to challenge the crowd to think differently. “The entrepreneurs are the ones that are going to change the economy”, he passionately told the crowd. “We need entrepreneurs”.
The whole programme can be re-watched and re-lived right now, right here. And if you’re already excited about South Summit ’17 then be sure to take advantage of our 2 for 1 promo code available for a limited time only on our homepage.