Did you know that your early stage startup can get sponsored to exhibit at globally happening events such as SXSW, RISE, Web Summit and TechSparks?
That's what the Startup League
can do for you! In fact, this unique startup support programme will not only get you free booths at some of the most iconic events across the world but also get you access to a global startup community and a whole lot of other benefits that an early stage startup would need.
In this interview, we speak with Suman Das, who leads the Startup League, to understand more about this programme and its vision. The Startup League was launched by domain registry Radix in August 2016.
1. What is the Startup League and why did you create it?
Having visited key global tech fests such as TechCrunch Disrupt, Web Summit, SXSW and RISE, we realised that these events are most beneficial for early stage startups for getting proof of concept, brand visibility, attention from investors and media.
However, the high cost of exhibiting at these events is a deterrent for startups that can effectively use the platform as their go-to-market strategy. We wanted to bridge this gap with the Startup League.
The Startup League supports early stage startups by offering them sponsorship on exhibition booths, on-ground event marketing assistance such as free branded t-shirts and other merchandise, media coverage, digital marketing support, among others.
The programme is meant for startups who are either already using or are looking to use one of Radix's 9 domain extensions for their websites. Radix owns and operates 9 domain extensions including .TECH, .STORE, .SPACE, .ONLINE, .FUN, .SITE, .WEBSITE, .PRESS, .HOST.
2. Tell us how the Startup League is creating value for the startups that are part of its community.
Since August 2016, we have helped startups exhibit at 25 massive events such as SXSW, The Next Web Conference, RISE, TechSparks and Tech Day NY. The exposure that our startups got by showcasing their product/solution at these events was remarkable. They have been able to pitch their products to VCs, journalists, industry influencers and potential customers, and have been able to form strategic partnerships.
For example, Nu-rise (www.nu-rise.tech), an early stage startup from Portugal, came on board in 2016, when we first sponsored their Web Summit exhibit. From there, they went on to pitch at various competitions and accelerator programmes, ultimately winning a spot at the coveted Mass Challenge accelerator program in 2017.
They were also awarded a free exhibition stand at Web Summit last year through the Startup League.
Last year, we sponsored over 50 startups to exhibit at the Web Summit conference in Lisbon, Portugal. They were selected through a well-defined process that saw applications from over 300 startups. One of the selected 50+ startups, WATR (www.watr.tech
) from UK, was also ranked among the top 3 finalists at the event's popular PITCH competition that had over 1,000 applicants.
It's an honour to directly make such a significant difference to so many innovative business ideas and the brains behind them by giving them an opportunity to go-to-market.
3. What are some of the most amazing startups that you have on board?
Our community consists of more than 150 startups from over 30 countries across verticals such as marketing, Big Data, eCommerce, clean tech, fintech, foodtech, gaming & VR, hardware & IoT, travel, medtech, HR, enterprise, software, sports etc. We are fortunate to have some of the most amazing startups from around the world:
- Nu-rise.tech (Portugal), a startup that develops cancer radiation sensors and equipment. It was part of Mass Challenge 2017.
- Oceowater.online (India), a startup that offers an IoT-based solution for clean drinking water. It was named one among the Tech30 startups at TechSparks Bangalore 2017.
- Shadow.tech (France), a hardware startup building a high performance PC that raised a funding of $57million in June 2017.
- Naktergal.tech (Stockholm), a consumer-focused lending system.
- Sourced.tech (USA and Spain), a startup that uses AI to analyze and understand the codes written by millions of developers and matches them with suitable job availabilities.
- Boutir.store (Hong Kong), a mobile commerce platform to create and manage an online store via a smartphone.
- Sensei.tech (Portugal), an AI powered in-store analytics tool.
- Digidice.tech (India), a unique Bluetooth enabled dice which communicates with smartphones for playing traditional dice games.
- Dinesmart.tech (India), a food tech startup for movie theatres, restaurants, etc.
- Sunami.tech (India), an AI-powered SMS organiser.
We are looking forward to bring on board 500 startups by the end of this year. Applications are now open.
4. Who are your partners from the global startup community?
It's phenomenal how supportive the global startup community is. We couldn't be more thrilled to have onboard impactful partners such as Founder Institute, Founder Space, WHub, Highway 1, TechNorth and Brinc. In India, we have been able to forge alliances with T-Hub, Awfis, Cowrks and Ginserv. We also have a partnership with events such as RISE, Web Summit and The Next Web. Their support has been tremendous in helping us create value for our startups.
5. Since this programme is exclusively for startups on select new domain extensions, tell us how these extensions can help startups in creating a powerful online brand?
Every entrepreneur can relate to searching for one-word domain names only to find that all the names that they like have already been taken. So, they tend to choose two-word or three-word domain names which are long, complicated and a compromise. New domain extensions take away those pain-points and provide an opportunity to choose keyword rich, meaningful, and memorable domain names.
While all domain extensions are technically the same, however they mean something different linguistically. For example, .COM means commercial, .EDU means education. With new domain extensions, you can choose the one that is relevant to your industry. For example, .TECH for technology, .STORE for eCommerce, .FUN or media and entertainment, etc. Some cool examples of startups on new domains include eyeware.tech, devteam.space, amazing.website, igetfit.online and thatmerch.store.
6. What next? Where does the Startup League go from here?
Over the last 16 months, we have been able to create an interestingly strong community of over 150 startups, garnering interest and support from over 70 partners from the startup ecosystem, and were able to sponsor over 100 of these startups at more than 25 events.
In 2018, we look forward to not just growing our community of startups to be over 500 startups strong, but also increase our offerings by bringing in additional services that startups would require in their launch, growth and scale stages.
We are also working towards building a 'discovery platform' that will allow startups to be featured and discovered by investors, media professionals, et al and also for startups to connect with other startups who are part of this growing community!