Report on the startup conference

Not so long ago, I read on the upcoming conferences for startup founders on the blog . Since at that moment my husband and I were working on our project , it interested me. We did not know anything about startups as such, but decided to participate anyway.

The choice was between the closest in time and territorially accessible conferences in Europe.
These were the Bitspiration Festival in Poland and in Montenegro. The lack of a visa, and the opportunity to visit the most beautiful country in Europe, did their job. And we went to Montenegro on .

The conference program included a school for startups, the conference itself and a competition among startups.

We applied for both a startup school and a competition. But, unfortunately, we were approved only for participation in the school. This is of course a minus, but the plus was free tickets to participate in the conference.

And so, the vacation was taken, the tickets were bought, and now ... we are in Montenegro.

A small indent from the topic. A few words about Montenegro itself.
A small, cozy country with friendly aborigines. Wonderful nature. Tired of looking at the sea, turn 180 degrees and admire the mountains.

Startup School

At startup school for ourselves, we developed the main motto of startups - “Do your homework”. Nothing should happen spontaneously. For every event, meeting, presentation, pitch you need to be prepared. To have answers to all possible questions, “Know your numbers” - to know everything related to your project and even more.

In two days of school for startups, we learned a lot. Since we were pretty little familiar with the topic of startups as such, and just released their first Android application, we were faced with a new world full of interesting people and opportunities. Now we know what bootstrap, accelerators and crowd funding are. When to rely on yourself, and when it is quite possible to turn to venture capital funds. How to develop your network of useful contacts, write letters to prospective partners and make presentations of your projects. We also emphasized the importance of a well-knit team and the focus of each of its participants on the result.

An incredibly interesting report was read to us by Ellie Zhelevaon the topic “User research and design thinking”. Having identified an important problem for all startups, in her opinion, this is the lack of research on user needs before the start of product sales.

All participants of the school had the opportunity to pitch about their project and get specific recommendations and advice from Max Gurvits and John Biggs . It was a very interesting experience and we received specific advice and possible directions for development.

We also took part in a master class led by Ellie Zheleva, in which the path of creating a project was passed, from generating an idea to pitching this idea to an audience. A very useful, in our opinion, master class covering the main stages of work on a project.

At the end of the second day, a surprise awaited us fromHeather Russell in the form of the wonderful game “Pitch what”.
An unlimited number of participants and alcohol can participate in the game. The deck goes in a circle and the two previous players, stretching out on the card, at the same time say one of the words written on it. (For example, “Sheep” and “Tooth”, “Chew” and “Zombie”). And the player following them is given 5 seconds to use these two words together to come up with a possible product with that name and try to sell it to the entire audience. If everyone liked the speaker’s pitch, then he gets two cards with words, but anyone can offer his own choice and then the best one will be determined by voting. The winner is the one with the most cards. This game perfectly warms up the brain and helps generate ideas on the go.


The conference itself also lasted two days and was conducted in one stream. As participants of the startup school, we received these badges, on the back of which there was a schedule of all reports.

The most vivid speaker in our opinion was Alf Rehn , he, speaking first, literally lit the entire hall and set an excellent mood for the entire conference. In his report, entitled “Innovation Bullshit, Innovation Crisis,” he emphasized how much the word innovation lost its original meaning. An example of the apogee of the meaninglessness of the modern IT industry, he called the application “Yo”, in which you can’t do anything except send a message with the text “Yo” to your interlocutor. This startup received investments in the amount of $ 1,000,000 and this, in the speaker’s opinion, and in our opinion, too, is evidence of the absurdity of the situation in the industry.
Most modern applications are not created to help those people who need it, not to solve their pressing problems, but only to satisfy the solvent masses. The speaker introduced the term “Innovation pornografy”, which gives us the opportunity to draw a parallel between sex and innovation. In sex, in which everything is not so simple, circumstances do not always work out in it, everything does not always work out and everything is very different from pornography, in which everything is so beautiful and easy. So it is with innovations that are easy and pleasant to talk about at conferences, but which are not so easy to bring to life, especially real innovations that change people's lives for the better.

You can see all the speakers and topics that they discussed on the conference website And we just want to say a big thank you to the team of organizers of the conference, which went all out 101% and gathered in one place such interesting people who inspired the whole audience to make this world a better place.


An important part of the conference was a competition between seven startups. Teams represented countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Germany, Slovenia and Russia.

The competition took place in two stages. The first teams were given the opportunity to talk about their project for 5 minutes and answer questions from the judges. After that, the best startups were selected, which at the end of the second day of the conference received 3 minutes to convince the judges to give them the main prize.

Three projects reached the final:

BodyRecog (Croatia) - an application that analyzes photos of a person and tracks the change in his figure, changes in the volume of his muscle and fat mass.

Edgar the storyteller(Slovenia) - a platform for creating promotional stories and marketing for hand-makers of any direction.

The winner was a project called Fishing Booker (Serbia) - a service that allows you to book tourist fishing anywhere in the world. The entire team of this project got the opportunity to present their project at TechCrunch Disrupt 2014 in San Francisco (paid for flight and accommodation).


I would also like to emphasize the excellent organization of the entire conference, including lunch on all days and a bunch of various nishtyachki, as well as the coolest beach party in the only five-star hotel in the Budva Riviera “Splendid”. Throughout the conference, the latest tweets with the #sparkme tag were broadcast on a separate screen.

PS Phrases that we remembered from the conference participants:
“Porn is lovely, sex is messy. Talking about innovation is lovely, innovating is messy ”
“ Know your numbers ”
“ Ideas like buses, next one will come ”
“ Something for everybody is something for nobody ”
“ The safest thing you can do is to take the risk ”
“ Social media is garbage ”
“ Don’t take money from people who don’t know your business ”

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