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Not to be missed if you own a startup: key points from the people who created Lovin Dublin, ZOOT and Venture Friends

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Having Facebook, Google and Instagram on ICEEfest stages was great but incredible motivational speeches came from speakers whose businesses were just local startups a couple years ago.

Yes, Lovin Dublin is about to become huge worldwide, ZOOT is on everybody’s lips today and Venture Friends have a great portofolio but things weren’t always like this.

How hard is to make a profitable business from a startup? Work, passion, dedication and … trust in yourself.

From Dublin, with Love

This is my office. I had one laptop and an idea“, said Niall Harbison at the beginning of his presentation at ICEEfest, pointing to an ordinary photo:


But there’s nothing ordinary about Lovin Group, the company that now means 30+ people working for a multi-channel organization with a reach of 100 million people every month.

Twitter is dead for our business but Snapchat gives us great opportunities. Anyway, Facebook is more popular than ever“, thinks Niall, mentioning that content is very important these days.

  • 81% from our traffic comes from mobile devices
  • 75% of engagements off site (our users produce the content for us)

To do a startup is really, really hard but it’s massively rewarding. It’s a crazy world, one day you are doing fantastic, the second day it’s the end of the world“.

These are the words of a man who’s been through many ups and downs in order to make his dreams come true.

  • The story of Niall is on our blog, where you can read how he managed to build a company from zero and in 3 years sold it for 2 million £.

Niall Harbison came to ICEEfest and openly talked about what it takes to be an entrepreneur these days. What are the main challenges? And, more important, how do we make money? Always a good question, right?

Find out Niall’s answers in the presentation below:

The potential of the CEE region

What kind of startup do you want to have: a local or a global one? Well, if Niall Harbison is trying to take his business all around the globe, Oldrich Bajer wants to stay in Central and Eastern Europe.

Oldrich has a vast experience as an entrepreneur, which helped him transform the company he co-founded, ZOOT, into today´s CEE leader in eCommerce fashion.


Zoot is different to traditional eCommerce, well positioned to disrupt the fashion commerce market“, said Oldrich. And these are his arguments:

  • You can chose from more than 350 brands
  • You only pay for what you love
  • You can order more sizes and types without pre-payment
  • You can try everything in one of Try. Fit. Buy stores

This is Oldrich Bayer’s presentation: discover all the reasons why he thinks that CEE as a region represent a big potential for startups.

The requirements for a good startup team

After investing in and supporting a great number of startups (>40), Apostolos Apostolakis believes that there are 6 questions to ask yourself before launching a startup:

  • what is the product
  • pain solved/ benefits of product
  • market size/ competition
  • team
  • go to market plan/ investment required
  • exit

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As investors, we are ready to take risks only because we believe in people who are telling us a story about what they can do” said Apostolos, who is now Partner & Co-founder @ Venture Friends.

Inside Startups vs Investors session @ ICEEfest, he put his great experience as an entrepreneur on the table and came up with a series of practical advice about the requirements for a good startup team and building a sustainable business.

This is a presentation with a huge applicability in the startup area:

How can you get access?

  • If you have a valid ticket for ICEEfest 2016:
    • Send us an email at tickets@upgrade100.comand you’ll receive your password in 1 hour or less.
  • If you don’t have a ticket for ICEEfest 2016:
    • You can buy one for ICEEfest 2017 here (this also includes your password for ICEE Academy)
    • You can buy only one password to watch the presentations (here, also).

For any other question please email us at tickets@upgrade100.com and we will reply in 1 hour or less.

For other great keynotes from ICEEfest ’16, please check out ICEE Academy. We’re working hard to upload the best of them (almost) every day now… so stay tuned!




iCEE.news is the publishing platform of iCEE family, formed by iCEE.fest (the main festival, taking place each June in Bucharest, Romania), iCEE.health (our satelite event covering eHealth), iCEE.academy (our e-learning platform), and iCEE.news.

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