What we liked about Web Summit this Year

8 November 2019, By Deborah Gray

These are 4 days that change the Portuguese capital like few other events can do. The 4th edition of Web Summit, has been, according to its founder, Paddy Cosgrave, the “best ever”. Highlights included an opening session with Edward Snowden, and the presence of the President of Microsoft and former British Prime-Minister Tony Blair who joined  the other 70.469 participants, 2.150 startups and 239 partners to discuss what’s new in technology. In addition 11.000 CEO’s, 2.000 journalists and more than 1.500 investors, came to Lisbon seeking for THE new business opportunity. So… what’s new this year?

© Pedro Marques / Madremedia

Women more visible in Web Summit

It’s one of the good examples of the event, and something that should be replicated in technology events all around the world. Women comprised 46,3% of the total participants, in a year where new records of attendance were set. According to data published by Publico newspaper, since Web Summit came to Portugal more women are more represented in leadership positions in Portugal, going from 14,3% in 2016 to 24,8% in the numbers of April 2019.

© Web Summit
Women compromised 46,3% of the total participants

An increased presence from African countries

More than 40 startups  from the African continent were also present in this edition of Web Summit. Bringing ideas that could change the way Africa and the rest of the world can grow in the future. One of these examples was the idea presented by the Senegalese singer Akon, called “Akoin”, a cryptocurrency which aims to develop the African economy. It’s an initiative designed to encourage entrepreneurship amongst young people in Africa.

Akon talked about “Akoin”, the cryptocurrency to help Africa. ©Vaughn Ridley / Web Summit
It’s an initiative designed to encourage

Some startups we liked


Mixing Cork and Legos? Yes, this is a reality for CorkBrick, a Portuguese startup that wants to change significantly the way as we build our furniture at home. Creating adaptable cork modules, people can simulate the real construction of a lego (the modules fit in each other) to build the foundations or objects that we use every day, like desks or walls.




This Portuguese startup also brings a new idea in the field of sustainability, by adding environment to energy. The main goal of ECO2Blocks is to develop and produce construction materials by using industrial waste, non-drinkable water and carbon dioxide. The objective is to remove the toxic elements of the environment, reusing them and transforming them in usable materials.

João Castro Gomes and Pedro Humbert are the founders of Eco2Blocks ©Jornal O Interior


To the Rescue

An app that you hope you will never have to use. The Latvian company Chili Labs has created To The Rescue, an app that coordinates on the spot the execution of searching for missing people, in the moment that they disappear. In this platform, we can check, through a map in real-time, where each member of the search group has passed and detect the areas that are unexplored or not verified. The CEO of this company, Igors Nemenonoks, has said that 12 people have been found with the help of this technology.

App can help in the process of searching for missing people ©



Most of us like to drink coffee. So why not help refugees at the same time as drinking a cup of coffee? This is the premise of HireChance, a startup that wants to promote education and job opportunities to the refugees, with the help of coffee. The company makes the direct sale of coffee, and pledges to invest 25% of the global sales in sponsoring the access of refugees to online education and, in this way, improve their professional careers. The coffee is from a unique origin, sustainable and ethically cultivated in countries of origin of some refugees, like, for example, Colombia.

Platform wants to give education opportunities to refugees by selling coffee. ©Facebook HireChance