Earlier this year we were delighted to discover that we had been accepted for the ALPHA Program at this year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal from November 6-9, 2017.



As newly appointed Head of Marketing for Zocket, it was my first Web Summit for the business and what a year to be in attendance!

Having been accepted for the ALPHA program, which is exclusively for early-stage startups, we knew that we were in for a very special 4 days.

We made as many preparations in advance and together (with our CEO, Kieran Canisius) I flew to Lisbon for the start of the show on the 6th of November.



After much anticipation, we were finally checked in and through security at Schipol, Amsterdam having a relaxing coffee in the departure lounge, strategizing over our Web Summit approach and the possibilities that the next 4 days may hold.

A short flight later and seamless taxi ride through the colorful city of Lisbon, Portugal we were through the Web Summit registration process with ease, collected our stand details, name badges, and 4-day itinerary.

It was time for lunch before it all began.

We had time for a quick spot of lunch before the Grand Opening Ceremony, But we made sure we took advantage of everything the event had to offer, by also joining a woman in tech WhatsApp group. This amazing group was made up of founders and other tech women, all connecting and sharing information on how to collectively make the summit a success (and of course meet up).

But before embarking on the show itself, it was time for the Opening Ceremony, so we hopped into an Uber (self-proclaimed “Happy Uber”) and enjoyed a taxi trip during the busy rush hour traffic up and down the narrow, bustling Lisbon city streets. We arrived literally just in time to discover that the ceremony was opened by surprise keynote speaker Stephen Hawking – what an amazing highlight for us!


During the Opening Ceremony, a few of us from the earlier women in tech WhatsApp group decided to meet up and learn about each other’s businesses. It surprisingly ended up being a Secret Women’s Business Event sponsored and hosted by Jozu. We met such great women entrepreneurs this evening such as Stephenie Rodriguez from Jozu and Kate Briscoe founder of LegalBeagles with which we shared start-up woes and highs and how we can help each other grow.

We were really excited about Day 2, where we going to be standing on the show floor talking about Zocket with all of the visitors to the Alpha HR Tech zone.


“A high-energy, sprawling event, where the excitement is palpable. Funnily enough, it was the one-on-one meetings where I met inspiring entrepreneurs, data scientists and investors which were the most inspiring.”
– Kieran Canisius, Zocket CEO



We started the day at 7 a.m. waiting at our hotel for our pickup bus that never arrived (we affectionately called it the Ghost Bus) and afterward a panic-ensued Uber ride to attempt to make it in time. We quite literally ran into the show to our ALPHA stand with seconds to spare!

Between inspiring meetings with partners, investors, and HR leaders we also had inspirational talks with our stand neighbors like MentorJam.

We are thankful to have had so many great people to meet and learn from. We got inspired by so many people and tech.

One thing that stood out to us was how busy we were at our ALPHA stand. We were non-stop meeting people interested, curious or inspired by HR tech and the future of the space.


Day 2 was a whirlwind, but we had the most exhilarating and insightful day, meeting more inspirational people, potential customers, and alliance partners then we could have possibly imaged.

We rounded off the exhibiting day by heading out to a BBQ with other people in the HR Tech world – thanks to HR Tech Valley for the food, drinks, and great company!


“What a cool conference to dip your feet into the tech world or embrace all that is to be seen at such a huge event. Lovely time in Lisbon (my first time!) and inspirational conversations abound! Till next year!?”
– Gina Dunn, Zocket Head of Marketing


DAY 3 + 4

We took time over the next few days to meet with investors and press but also to catch some inspiring session talks.

Our favorite and most interesting talks from the event

1. Women in Tech special: Hacking the gender divide in investing and company leadership

2. Of course, the Keynote Opening with Stephen Hawking

3. Secret Business women’s event from Jozu was our favorite as we met entrepreneurial leaders, digital marketing specialists from acceoss the world and had a super fun time boot!



After 4 exciting, long days, it was time to pack up the ALPHA Stand, say goodbye to our Web Summit friends and hop in our last Lisbon taxi bound for the airport.

We were so pleased with the conference and look forward to continuing talks with those we met.

We would also like to take this opportunity to seriously encourage any start-up business out there in the tech world to sign up for next year’s event.