With its characteristic mix of investors, customers, job seekers and entrepreneurs, the Antwerp Startup Fair had its second edition on March 28th, at De Shop. The concept, that was tested for the first time in last year's event, proved once more to be a killer combination for startups in the search of the essential fuel for their business: great people to join their teams, customers and investors. 

Besides the 75 startups that exhibited, the fair welcomed around 500 attendees that eagerly chatted with the entrepreneurs. In addition to the spontaneous networking, over 500 face-to-face meetings were scheduled via the networking tool Conversation Starter. 

A first-timer at the Antwerp Startup Fair, Ellen Malfliet, Marketing & Communication Manager at Unifly, acknowledges she didn't know what to expect from the fair: "I came here without expectations, without an idea of how it would be. Now I can say I liked it and enjoyed the event's mixed concept".

"The fair was definitely useful for us. I met several people that were great candidates for the company, they were very enthusiastic about 'flying' with us so for sure I will take next steps there. I also met a couple of investors and crowdfunding contacts, so that could definitely be an interesting area to discover. And we also got in touch with several potential partners, so I would say that all in all, it was a very positive experience". 

For Ellen Malfliet, Marketing & Communication Manager at Unifly, the event was a good surprise.

As for the job openings, Unifly is looking for technical and business development profiles, both of which approached the company booth during the fair and walked out with great possibilities to join the organisation.

Since the company recently collected €5M in funding, they are not actively looking for funding. However, Ellen highlighted that the crowdfunding approach could be interesting for them because it is not only about the money, but the network. "In Belgium and in Europe we have to help each other", she stated.

In the other side of the coin, Vividoctor is a startup actively looking for funding. For the platform that makes instant virtual doctor visits possible exhibiting in the exclusive track which welcomed over 30 investors meant a lot: "After a couple of hours here, I am walking out with around 15 truly valuable business cards, including contacts of several potential investors. Having the organisers inviting only investors to the first part of the event was very smart and it worked well for us.", highlighted Sidar Ok, CEO and Founder at Vividoctor.

"I was not expecting so much because it is my first time at the event. I thought it would be fun and I would meet a couple of people, but I was not expecting this. It is a fantastic event and I have not stopped speaking during the entire day!", opened up Sidar.

As many other participants, he liked the more relaxed approach of the fair in comparison to other more mainstream events. "I like the Antwerp Startup Fair because people here really have time to ask you questions, they are not in a rush and overall the atmosphere is dynamic and intimate", he concluded.

We take his word on the business cards success!

By Gabriela Fernández Scala