A couple of weeks ago, we participated to the London WebSummit, where our little venture was nominated amongst the 25 Startup Award finalists.
The news came quite as a nice surprise in January, while we had still our hands full and heads down trying to finish some last tweaks before our Beta Release.
We were (literally) in our bunker/cave bootstrapping – ok, we admit a little bit of seed – our project since many months. Of course, we were pulling our heads up from time to time to check with our targeted audience (independent merchants) if what we were doing and our concept made sense to them.
“Kireego’s been selected for the finals at the London WebSummit!”.
Well, it seems that out of hundreds of other applicants from all over Europe, they thought our Startup/Concept/Service/Idea was worth a shot.
And so suddenly, we were on the map!
We will certainly remember that moment as an important milestone, because we realized how this could be used to shift gears and attract media attention, locally and internationally.
We had suddenly an angle to get through to journalists and bloggers.
But the challenge was, how does a startup leverage that news, with no PR nor any existing network of media contacts.
So we started the old fashion way and looked for emails on newspaper articles, through forums, with the help of some friends, or just by spending hours analyzing tweeter accounts to see who might bring a potential spark for some online exposure.
A great example is how we just boldly got in touch with a few “twitter influencers” we didn’t know before (you might know one of them if you read that blog!). Sébastien tweeted about us, got retweeted by several people which triggered interest by a couple of journalists who got in contact with us. That happened in a 6 hours period and ended up with a couple of online news article! Followed then by newspaper articles and even Radio and TV interviews.
So we must admit having milked that as much as possible… and on the other hand, we prepared for the event with the intention of meeting as many interesting people as possible.
The event itself was extremely interesting for us, and although we did not go through the last final stages of the Final, we had an amazing opportunity to sit down with some VCs or startup scouts that we would have had a real hard time getting in touch with otherwise – such as Index Venture, Redstone, Octopus, Ventech, and many more.
Time will tell how all the conversations we are having with them now will end up, but we will certainly remember this London adventure as a pivotal moment in our history:
A moment when you can proudly feel that you may be going the right direction.