Today was a beautiful day here in Budva, Montenegro where the first day of the WebFest.me conference just finished. We had a chance to hear some great startups talk about their experiences, as well as stories from some investors as well. We even had a couple of influential domain experts on stage, so it was a great time spent in hotel Splendid.
Here’s summary of the presentations from the first day. Tomorrow, we’ll round up the Web Fest conference with the summary from the second day. As you know, the conference was powered by .Me! 😉
First on stage was Branko Milutinović of Nordeus, an internet company from Serbia that created Top Eleven, the Facebook football manager game which outran EA’s FIFA Superstars with four million people playing it monthly. Branko told us how he started his career in social gaming; he refused to work on corporate applications because he left his previous job as a developer on one such software. He got inspired by Zynga and had a passion for computer games and football, so he and his team created Top Eleven.
His company is not actively looking for ivestments today and they would rather end up as a social gaming kings than being bought by EA or some other gaming industry giant.
Andraž Tori of Zemanta spoke about his experience of creating a WordPress plugin could find appropriate photos and links for your blog posts, automatically. Andraž explained how they couldn’t get funds in Slovenia because they didn’t have any business plan. They didn’t know how to make one because Zemanta was all new technology. Once they’ve learnt about Seedcamp, everything went in a different direction. Andraž gave some simple advice for new startups; make a proof of concept, make a product. Nobody will invest in an idea, no matter how great it is.
Vibor Cipan of Wall of Tweets said that we’re lucky to be today’s Internet generation, because to do business you need a product and an Internet connection. If you speak English, the whole world is your market. There is really no need to focus on a natioanl or regional market only. Wall of Tweets is a customized service for conferences (Web Fest had WoT set up!) which shows tweets mentioning your conferences’ hashtag.
But their real specialty is that they will design each any every WoT differenty, completely customizing it for your conference. And that was Vibor’s conclusion; you can copy the product, but you can’t copy the relationship between people working together on a solution.
Nedim Šabić talked about the importance of SEO optimization. He explained some major problems that people have with SEO and how everybody thinks it’s possible to get the results in a matter of days. One of the biggest mistakes people make is redesigning their site a lot, which takes away all the linkjuice from the site when they chance its structure. If you do your on-site optimization, you’ve already done most of your work.
How to Get Money For Your Projects?
Jure Mikuž of RSG Capital told us a thing or two about their investments. RSG will not invest ina company founded by a single person, only a team. They’ve tried once with a single founder, and that investment failed. They do love to read business plans, but they’re not of the most imporance. If you’re intriguing enough, if you have your own personality, that will be much better for them than any other business plan.
Jure also mentioned that if you can’t raise any funds, at least the 10,000 Euros from 3F (friends, family, fools); you will not be able to raise seed funding from any VC fund.
We had a chance to listen to a great discussion with some of the biggest experts in the domain name industry; Michele Neylon, CEO of Blacknight and Yong Lee, vice-president of business development in GoDaddy.com. Neylon said that the domain industry is actually a boring business and you need to offer more to your clients to have some better profit margins, while Lee said that GoDaddy is about 4-5 times bigger than their next competitor.
Veselin Jevrosimović of ComTrade says they now employ more than 1,000 software developers and they’ve spread their offices all around the CEE region. What is so special about ComTrade in the context of Web Fest is their new company portal, which will me driven by social media, unlike countless other corporate sites. He also said that if you want to do any business, you need to own four characteristics; talent, knowledge, passion and be willing to take risks.
David Emmet is the editor of MotoMatters.com blog, which doesn’t have an impressive number of visits, but it’s a source on its topic to many media outlets like Reuters. He claims that with a community, focus on topic and identity you can create successful sites from your bedroom.
Day one is over, see you all tomorrow 😉