Soft-Landers meet in Madrid – Highlights & resources from the #ScalingMasterclass

It was a pleasure to gather our startups and ecosystem leaders from all over Europe in a single moment in time and space: the #ScalingMasterclass in Madrid, on 1 October 2019. Let us guide you through it (includes video)!

The event was powered by Soft-Landing, together with our sister project Startup Lighthouse – two successful Startup Europe initiatives. It brought insights not only into European startup ecosystems (Berlin, Dublin, Lisbon, Paris, Vilnius and Zoetermeer), but also global markets (Boston, New York, Silicon Valley, India and Israel).

“The Scaling Masterclass was an excellent opportunity to step back and look at the big picture of what it takes to grow a company in the EU and to gain perspective and experience from talented people who have built great businesses.”

Words of appreciation

The #ScalingMasterclass was hosted at the awesome Google for Startups Campus and organised with the support of South Summit. Thank you for the amazing collaboration.

It wouldn’t have been possible without the brilliant set of speakers and facilitators. We really appreciate your time and insights.

Finally, we would also like to hugely thank everyone that traveled to Madrid for our event and helped us celebrate the end of the Soft-Landing project. We really wanted to gather people together and share the lessons learned over two busy years bringing European startup ecosystems closer and supporting startups in their scaling up and internationalisation journeys:

Alumni chilling: Scaleup challenges and founder confessions

The day started with an informal gathering of the Startup Europe community: startups that have joined EU funding acceleration programmes, and Startup Europe Ambassadors who manage H2020 projects, mentor scaleups, run accelerators and/or startup conferences. We gathered representatives from Soft-Landing, Startup Lighthouse, MY-GATEWAY, Startup Europe Partnership, Nordic Angel Program, among others.

Startup Europe alumni got to know other founders and key players from multiple startup hubs. Participants were split into workshops focused on different scaling up challenges and the discussions were facilitated by Soft-Landing mentors and ecosystem leaders:

  • Growing fast without breaking (too many) things – Robin Weninger, shaping work Academy
  • Sell while you sleep – Aurelija Petrauskyte, Trafi
  • How to fail at building a team? – Olla Jongerius, TCC Tribe
  • The steps to building brand love – Richard Versluis, Rosterbuster
  • How to get your first check from an angel – Marta-Patricia Aparicio, Keymon Angels
  • How experiments helped me fail fast and succeed! – Farid Singh, Startup Wise Guys
  • Anyone can start but can you scale? – Joe Haslam, IE Business School
  • Corporate vs startup: ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’ – Daniel Salgado-Moreno, etventure


Open Masterclass: Scaling up in Europe

Our energetic afternoon was designed around the learnings, failures and successes of the startups and ecosystem leaders that explored the hottest startup ecosystems with Soft-Landing and Startup Lighthouse in the past two years and learned how to scale up abroad.

The masterclass kicked with a mindfulness exercise to get us in the here and now, and then offered key notes on scaling up, inspiring (and frankly honest) startup flashtalks, startup hubs pitching, a supercharging panel discussion, and lots of networking opportunities. The event included live illustration, scroll down for the wrap up design.

Jurga MečinskienÄ— from Startup Division shows the missions’ impact & importance of soft-landing services
Jeroen Bontje from Symbid tells his rise and fall (and rise again) story
Mladen Panov from Vorwärts opens up about “scaling down” and explains why Focus is more important than your Mother
Key note by Julien Coulon from Cedexis awes the audience: Scaling without failing – 10 things you need to know

Discussion between Mor Eini (GERMANTECH), Matthieu Heusch (IE Business School), Krisztina Toth (Startup Europe CEE & Western Balkans Networks), Anu Oks (Estban) and Rodolfo Lissia (Mind the Bridge)

Watch the #ScalingMasterclass highlights ?️??


If you would like to refresh your memory with the learnings from our amazing speakers, contact us and we will happily share the presentations with you. Or download your favorite pics from our photo gallery (pin 7911), and the Soft-Landing Flyer.

And check out the awesome #ScalingMasterclass wrap up illustration, done live by SmartupVisuals.


Looking to scale-up in Europe? Get in touch.

The Soft-Landing team is here for you. Check the key actors in each ecosystem:

  • Scaling up in Berlin? GermanTech [mor @]
  • Scaling up in Paris? IMT Starter [augustin @]
  • Scaling up in Vilnius? Startup Division [jurga @]
  • Scaling up in the Netherlands? Crosspring [koen @]
  • Acceleration opportunities & #ScalingMasterclass? F6S [sofia @]

… And connect with our alumni to learn all about their experience of scaling-up in Berlin, Paris, Vilnius, Zoetermeer, India and the United States. You will spot key ecosystem leaders that every day support startups to scale & founders from all over Europe and beyond.



See you soon!