Highlights from South Summit 2024: Key Insights and the e-Residency Meetup Experience

Another year in Madrid, and the city was once again brimming with innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. From June 5-7, 2024, the 11th edition of South Summit took place at La Nave, attracting over 24,000 attendees from more than 120 countries. This major event, co-organized with IE University, showcased the vibrancy and diversity of the global startup community and generated an estimated economic impact of nearly 35 million euros, a 25% increase from the previous year​​. Featuring engaging keynotes, more than 500 speakers including high-profile figures like Pau Gasol and Pablo Isla, and numerous networking opportunities, South Summit 2024 solidified its reputation as a premier gathering for startups, investors, and thought leaders from around the globe​. It proved once again why it’s a must-attend event for anyone involved in the startup ecosystem.

A Global Stage for Startups

The heart of South Summit is its renowned Startup Competition, which this year saw a record-breaking 4,500 applications. From these, 100 startups were selected to pitch their innovative solutions to a panel of esteemed judges. These startups represented a wide range of sectors, including fintech, health tech, and sustainability, reflecting the broad spectrum of modern innovation​​.

Engaging Keynotes and Panels

A very highlighted session at South Summit 2024 was the keynote by Peter Janech, Coordinator for Innovation, Education, and Investments at the UNWTO. Janech explored the ethical implications of AI, stressing the importance of developing technologies that serve the greater good of society. His discussion emphasized the need for AI to promote inclusivity and equity, benefiting society as a whole rather than a select few.

Steven Bartlett, an accomplished entrepreneur, writer, and investor, and the creator of the podcast ‘The Diary of a CEO,’ captivated the audience with his insights on the importance of making timely and strategic decisions in business. Bartlett highlighted the necessity of agility and foresight in entrepreneurship, noting that the ability to quickly adapt to changes can mean the difference between success and failure.

Christopher Hui, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivered a compelling talk on the risks and opportunities posed by technology in the financial services sector. Hui emphasized that while technological advancements offer significant potential for growth and innovation, they also bring challenges that require careful management, particularly in areas such as cybersecurity and regulatory compliance.

The Competition

Amidst the vibrant atmosphere of South Summit 2024, the Startup Competition is always a highlight, showcasing the cutting-edge ideas and relentless drive of innovators from around the world. This year’s competition was particularly fierce, with over 4,500 entries vying for recognition across diverse categories. As each finalist presented their solutions, the energy and anticipation were palpable, reflecting the spirit of innovation that defines the event. The competition culminated in the celebration of ten outstanding startups, each making significant strides in their respective fields. From disruptive technologies to sustainable solutions, these startups represent the forefront of tomorrow’s business landscape. Let’s delve into the remarkable achievements of these visionary entrepreneurs and the impact they are set to make on the global stage.

Overall Winner: Invopop

The Spanish startup Invopop emerged as the overall winner of the 13th edition of South Summit, triumphing in the Enterprise vertical. Invopop, based in Madrid, provides a global solution for businesses to issue invoices in any country, facilitating sales registration, invoice conversion, and communication with respective tax authorities. This significant achievement underscores Invopop’s innovative approach to simplifying international business transactions, positioning it as a leader in the fintech sector​.

winners startup competition south summit
Winners Startup Competition South Summit 2024

All track winners of the Startup Competition

Health: Sycai Technologies

  • Awards: Most Disruptive, Best Health Startup
  • Description: Sycai Technologies from Barcelona utilizes AI and big data to improve radiological diagnostics. Their innovative technology enhances diagnostic accuracy and patient care, setting new standards in medical imaging and analysis​


Mobility & Smart Cities: NaviLens

  • Awards: Most Sustainable, Best Mobility & Smart Cities Startup
  • Description: NaviLens, based in Murcia, developed an advanced QR code system that enhances accessibility for visually impaired individuals. Their technology can be read from a distance and improves mobility and independence, promoting inclusivity in urban environments.


Future of Work & Talent: Shakers

  • Awards: Most Scalable
  • Description: Shakers, a Madrid-based startup, connects freelancers with companies using an AI-driven platform. Their model efficiently matches skills with project needs, demonstrating strong scalability and potential for market expansion.


Fintech & Insurtech: Embat

  • Awards: Best Team, Best Fintech & Insurtech Startup
  • Description: Embat from Madrid provides an AI-powered financial management platform designed for SMEs. It offers real-time updates and connectivity with financial institutions, showcasing excellence in financial decision-making and team collaboration​​.


Consumer Trends: Webel

  • Awards: Best Consumer Startup
  • Description: Webel, another standout from Madrid, offers a comprehensive platform for buying, selling, and renting services and products. Their versatile app meets a wide range of consumer needs, reflecting a dynamic approach to the consumer market​​.

Digital Culture: Sticky

  • Awards: Best Digital Culture Startup
  • Description: Sticky, a UK-based startup, developed a no-code operating system that improves customer interactions in retail and event settings. Reduces transaction times and enhances engagement, leading the way in digital transformation for physical spaces​​.


Industry 5.0: IBBX

  • Awards: Best Industry 5.0 Startup
  • Description: IBBX from Brazil integrates IoT and AI to create smarter, more efficient industrial operations. Their technology enables machines to communicate, self-optimize, and predict maintenance needs, revolutionizing the manufacturing sector​.


Trust Tech & Data: TransferChain

  • Awards: Best Trust Tech & Data Startup
  • Description: Swiss startup TransferChain offers a secure data storage solution that combines cloud technology, blockchain, and cryptography. Their approach ensures robust data protection and integrity, redefining how sensitive information is managed and stored​.


Climate Tech: Sunthalpy

  • Awards: Best Climate Tech Startup
  • Description: Sunthalpy from Asturias focuses on sustainable heating and cooling solutions for homes. Their eco-friendly systems are easy to install and significantly reduce energy consumption and carbon footprints, making a strong impact on climate change efforts​.


Enterprise: Invopop

    • Awards: Overall Winner, Best Enterprise Startup
    • Description: Invopop from Madrid simplifies international electronic invoicing with their innovative API. By automating compliance with various tax regulations, they streamline financial operations for global businesses, earning recognition as the overall winner​​.

South Summit Kids Competition

The South Summit Kids Competition recognized the Colegio Internacional de Aravaca for their initiative ‘Kids Sustainable Guard Raids’. This project, showcasing the entrepreneurial spirit of young students, focuses on sustainability and environmental stewardship, encouraging the next generation to innovate with a conscience​​.

Estonian VCs Speed Dating and e-Residency Meetup South Summit

One of the standout side events of South Summit 2024 was hosted by Estonia’s e-Residency program. This exclusive event provided pre-screened startups with a unique opportunity to engage directly with leading venture capitalists from Estonia and nearby regions. During the dynamic “speed dating” session, entrepreneurs pitched their ideas and explored potential investment opportunities with top investors. These interactions offered valuable insights into the investment landscape and showcased how Estonia’s e-Residency can attract funding and support for innovative ventures.

e-Residency Meetup South Summit
e-Residency Community Meetup at South Summit 2024

A Night of Networking and Connection

The event culminated in a lively meetup at Impact Hub, designed specifically for e-residents and forward-thinking entrepreneurs. The evening was a prime opportunity to connect with digital nomads, innovators, and business leaders who appreciate the flexibility of running their businesses globally. The relaxed setting, combined with stimulating conversations, created an ideal environment for forging new relationships and exploring collaboration opportunities. Attendees enjoyed a variety of delicious snacks and refreshing beverages, which kept the energy high and facilitated engaging discussions throughout the night. This atmosphere allowed participants to delve deeper into the benefits of e-Residency in a convivial and informal setting.

Why E-Residency is a Game-Changer for Entrepreneurs

The meetup also highlighted the significant advantages of Estonia’s e-Residency program, which enables non-residents to establish and run an EU-based business online. This program effectively removes barriers to international entrepreneurship, especially in an era where digital transformation is reshaping the business landscape. The potential of e-Residency to drive global business expansion was underscored by the presence of startups like Dooiu, Teco Mobility, and Thxu, which had the opportunity to pitch to investors during the event.

Estonia’s thriving startup ecosystem, which secured over $750 million in venture capital in the first half of 2022 alone, is a testament to the immense opportunities offered through e-Residency. Leading Europe in VC investments per capita, Estonia’s ecosystem boasts a high concentration of unicorn companies. This makes e-Residency an invaluable tool for entrepreneurs aiming to access international markets and drive significant business growth.

Exclusive Interviews at South Summit 2024: Watch Now!

We had the unique opportunity to conduct some insightful interviews at the South Summit 2024, capturing the thoughts and experiences of key speakers and participants. Dive into these conversations to get an inside look at the latest trends in entrepreneurship and innovation.

In our exclusive interview, Iwo Szapar, CEO and Co-founder of Remote-how, shares his journey through the evolving landscape of remote work and his vision for the future.

Iwo’s dynamic leadership and forward-thinking approach have been instrumental in revolutionizing the way companies adapt to the new norms of remote work. His insights into the challenges and opportunities within the remote work industry today are both insightful and transformative. Join us as we explore his thoughts on embracing change, the critical role of AI in the workplace, and his strategic vision for Remote-how’s ongoing growth and success.

In our exclusive interview, Guillermo Chávez García, Head of Spanish Markets at the E-Residency program, shares his fascinating journey and vision for the future of digital entrepreneurship in Estonia.

Guillermo’s expertise and innovative approach have been instrumental in expanding the reach and impact of E-Residency across Spain and France. His insights into the advantages and opportunities offered by Estonia’s business environment are both enlightening and inspiring. Join us as we delve into his thoughts on fostering a global entrepreneurial ecosystem, the transformative benefits of E-Residency, and his strategic plans for continued growth and success.

In our exclusive interview, Vincent Rosso, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Consentio, shares his remarkable journey and vision for transforming the food supply chain.

Vincent’s forward-thinking leadership and dedication to innovation have been pivotal in tackling food waste and enhancing the efficiency of supply networks. His insights into the challenges and opportunities within the agricultural sector are both enlightening and inspiring. Join us as we explore his thoughts on digitalization in agriculture, the critical role of technology, and his strategic plans for Consentio’s continued growth and success.

Luís de Matos, CEO & Chairman, Follow Inspiration

In our exclusive interview, Luís de Matos, CEO and Chairman of Follow Inspiration, shares his remarkable journey and vision for the future of industrial automation.

Luís’s dynamic leadership and innovative approach have been pivotal in transforming how industries manage heavy materials and ensuring workplace safety. His insights into the challenges and opportunities within the robotics sector today are both inspiring and enlightening. Join us as we delve into his thoughts on technological advancements, the importance of fostering innovation, and his strategic plans for Follow Inspiration’s continued growth and success.

Experience South Summit Live 🔴

We wanted to bring you the excitement and vibrant atmosphere of the South Summit 2024 in Madrid, so we captured the event live! Our livestream includes enhanced coverage with real-time interviews, giving you an immersive experience and a front-row seat to all the action.

Dive into the heart of the South Summit and explore the highlights by watching the livestream here:

Embark on an Exciting Journey with GSTF On Tour: Next Stop, Granada!

As GSTF On Tour continues to build momentum, we’re excited to announce our upcoming destinations across Europe. First up is the historic and vibrant city of Granada, followed by visits to Munich, Madrid, Lisbon, and Davos. Each city offers a unique blend of culture, innovation, and networking opportunities. Here’s a quick look at what’s in store!

Granada 🇪🇸 – Starting with a Bang at Alhambra Venture

Our next adventure takes us to Granada, a city where history and innovation collide. GSTF On Tour will be adding a stop at Alhambra Venture, one of Spain’s leading startup and investment forums. This is an incredible opportunity to network with top entrepreneurs and investors, all while soaking in the rich cultural ambiance of the Alhambra.

Make sure to apply for your ticket below!

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