Julian Studer, founder and CEO of LORIOT, looks back on his roadshow week with the Venture Leaders Mobile 2022.
Mobile World Congress 2022: Between restrictions, COVID and the path to normality
Let me start with the conclusion before going into the details: the Venture Leaders Mobile roadshow was worth it, and I would do it again. It was a well-organized and intense week where we were able to meet many people and make valuable connections, not only for the company and the investments, but also on a personal level with the other startups.
The number of new contacts we made in such a short time was impressive: we were at Mobile World Congress (MWC) every day, attending events and meeting investors and startups. There were also brainstorming sessions to share our experiences in order to learn from each other and support each other.
Saturday February 26: Getting to know each other over tapas
After waking up and having my coffee, I was already excited for the next few days in Barcelona. I was wondering how the team would be (spoiler alert: coolest team ever), how the talks would go, which investors would listen to us, and how the MWC would be organized with the COVID restrictions. Many thoughts went through my head as the time left to start packing my bags became shorter and shorter. But I managed to put everything in my suitcase and got off at Thalwil station. It was a bad day and I was looking for the sun while waiting for the train.
After checking in and heading to the gate, I was one of the first to arrive and started looking around to see if I recognized anyone from the team. I waved at one of the guys I thought I recognized, but he ignored me, and I felt pretty stupid. I waited a little longer and saw Mathew (Adresta). Again, I waved. Again he looked my way, slightly confused, and ignored me. I figured I would reduce the likelihood of failing and decided to wait until at least two people I thought were my team members got together. Finally, Raffael (Venturelab) joined Mathew, and I got my sign not to embarrassingly fail by going to say hello. Mathew and I agreed that we were both unsure if the other person was a business owner. In the end, it’s not so easy to recognize people who wear masks and big headphones.
After a smooth flight, a bus drops us near the hotel in Barcelona. We quickly went up to our rooms to drop off our belongings and continued two blocks from the hotel to a tapas restaurant, where Jordi and the Geneva delegation joined us. The tapas were a highlight, and we felt like we were back in Roman times: so much food, so delicious and so fried. Of course, the delicious meat arrived when everyone was already about to be full, but we all managed to move or open the belt to make a little more space for the last tapas challenge.
While eating and enjoying the local wine, the team got to know each other better. I was seated next to Beat Schillig, who told me about the beginnings of Venturelab, his motivation to organize events for entrepreneurs and his passion for supporting the growth of Swiss startups.
Sunday February 27: Delicious tomatoes to save lives
After a fresh breakfast – the fresh tomato bread makes you start the day like a king – we headed to the port. Today was sailing day, and we all got fancy shoes that kept us from scratching the beautiful sailboat that Rolf Auf der Maur prepared for us. My shoes were olive green and made me feel like Peter Pan. In combination with the “hardcore” veil, I felt like a cross between Peter Pan and a character out of a sci-fi movie.
The sailing trip started at a relaxed pace and we had the first opportunity to talk to the investors who joined us on board. Once in the open sea, Rolf and Beat’s eyes began to sparkle. We knew something was about to change: the countdown to the Venturelab 2022 Trophy was on! The sailboats were bouncing side to side at what looked like a 45 degree angle. I’m used to the angle of riding motorcycles on race tracks, but racing a huge sailboat in open water with lots of wind was a new and exciting experience. We had to work together and jump from side to side being careful not to bump our knees, trip or get stuck between all the ropes.
My second OMG moment that day – after the delicious tomatoes in the morning – was after we had to change sides and I looked to the other side of the boat, which seemed to me to be about four meters below where I was standing. Mathew was halfway overboard! Peter and Olivier managed to get him back up, and other than getting wet and startled, Mathew was fine, and the whole crew finally calmed down after that little incident. We definitely deserved a drink and more (tomato) tapas.
After a delicious paella lunch, business picked up: we pitched our solutions to a group of investors and laid the groundwork to continue inspiring conversations about innovation and entrepreneurship.
Monday, February 28: Mobile World Congress, connections and stands
I’ll skip the tomatoes, but they were very delicious again today and any day after. We got to Mobile World Congress around 8am. The subway was very busy and we were all excited, knowing it would be a long and interesting day. Arriving at the stands, we all prepared ourselves with flyers and business cards to present our solutions and attract new customers, partners and investors.
It was a long and noisy day, but we all spoke to a large number of people, taking advantage of the time to increase our networks. We had Monday night off, but the connection with partners and competitors never ends, and I joined other entrepreneurs at an IoT event.
Tuesday March 1: Meeting with the Ambassador
Another productive day at Mobile World Congress! This year’s congress had the perfect number of visitors and booths. I remember three years ago it was packed and it was hard to walk through the halls. Last year it sometimes felt a bit empty due to the pandemic.
In the evening, we met the Swiss Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Hanspeter Mock, at the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona. We had the opportunity to present our startups to the public, eat delicious tapas and chat with investors and business leaders. I noticed that many of us were a little tired – after two years of the pandemic we weren’t used to being on our feet all day. On the way home, Bart, the CEO of Fotokite, surprised us all by switching from dress shoes to sneakers. We envied her wise decision to pack an extra pair of shoes.
Wednesday, March 2: Innovation presentation at the International Mobile Startup Pitchfest 2022
After spending the morning at the MWC, we had another chance to pitch in front of investors in the afternoon, with Spanish startups! The International Mobile Startup Pitchfest 2022 brought together 10 Swiss and 10 Spanish startups who presented in front of an audience at the Real Club Náutico de Barcelona and online. It was interesting to learn more about Spanish innovation and see what other startups are working on.
Thursday March 3: Celebrating a successful week at Swiss Innovation Night
Things started to calm down on the last day of Mobile World Congress, so we managed to rest for an hour before heading to Swiss Innovation Night. The evening included speeches, appetizers and a great view from the rooftop.
Our team has formed a strong relationship over the past few days, and although we were all a little tired after this intense week, we took our conversations from the rooftop to a nearby club. More drinks and more music made us forget how tired we were or how much our feet hurt.
We have agreed to host a Venture Leaders Mobile 2022 team event soon, and I can’t wait to see everyone again!
For more on the Venture Leaders Mobile roadshow, watch our review:
Founded in Switzerland in 2015, LORIOT AG is a world leader in IoT, already present in more than 150 countries on 5 continents. Due to a unique positioning in the LoRa ecosystem as a… Read more