Matchmaking event – is it a relevant tool for countries to help their startups?

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Due to the limited amount of events because of the pandemic, everyone is taking every opportunity they have to represent their startup, fund, and country.

One way how to do it is to organize a matchmaking event as a side event at big conferences. That’s what some countries recently did at Slush – the biggest tech event in the Nordics. Was it worth it? We talked to startups to find out.

Matchmaking has become a well-known networking tool in business due to the growing popularity of startups. It is really important for startups to meet investors and vice versa. That is one of the main reasons why both parties are willing to attend different events. 

Matchmaking is a tool to make meetings more effective. If event hosts organize the matchmaking, all slots fill up very fast, thus proving the necessity of meetings in such formats. Some countries have adopted this experience by matching their startups with investors interested in the profile of companies that a particular country offers.

Matchmaking event with LIAA at Slush

For example, that’s what the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) did during Slush. 10 promising startups from Latvia took part in the matchmaking event under the Latvian flag. 20 investors participated and met startups in pre-arranged slots.   

The Latvian startups that participated in the event agreed in unison that it was worth it.

We took part in the matchmaking event organized by LIAA because there were pre-selected investors. This means that the possibility of high-quality conversations was significantly higher than would have been the case if the meetings were with some random investors.

The matchmaking side event is exclusive in this sense. Investors are prepared in advance for what they are going to meet.

We don’t have to start with who we are. We can proceed straight away to the development stage and achievements of the startup.

says Sigvards Krongorns, co-founder of the fracture treatment startup “CastPrint”.

He also stresses that these events are very important for country branding as tech companies are intended to work globally and can become true ambassadors.

Of course, the matchmaking events is just an initial contact, and we cannot expect investment several days later, but you never know when these contacts might turn out to be useful.

adds Sigvards
Matchmaking event at Slush

Lightspace Technologies – a startup that creates augmented reality (AR) headsets with the visualization quality and eye comfort that outperforms all other AR headsets and glasses available in the global market – was represented at the event by its CEO Madara Kalnina-Kalnmale.

She went to Slush because the company is preparing for the A investment round.

Eight pitches in one afternoon – it’s not easy, but it was definitely worth it.

Most of the investors I met during the event shared their contacts and wanted to stay connected, so I believe they knew what they went for.

The biggest value is that some of the investors that attended the event organized by LIAA were not known to me previously, so the event was worth it in this regard alone.

Madara says of the Latvian matchmaking event

This was not the first tech event for Kristaps Krafte, founder and CEO of “Vigo Health”. His startup creates a digital rehabilitation program that helps patients in their recovery process after a stroke. Kristaps emphasizes the overall interest from investors – they have become more active than before and are really into investing.

However, half of all our meetings with investors during Slush happened during the LIAA matchmaking event. I should add that 70% of them were very successful. I’m very happy that LIAA is doing these events.

They are vital for startups. Even if we don’t raise money after this event, it is not often that we get the opportunity to pitch to so many investors in such a short period of time.

says Kristaps

If you are an organization that would like to support startups and help them grow – here is a takeaway. Organize the event, invite investors, and conduct the matchmaking between investors and startups.

Matchmaking event

You will save time and money for both parties. You will help investors to find the brightest startups and you will provide opportunities for startups to pitch their ideas to several investors at once.

They will both appreciate this along with your role in the process.