15 Crucial Minutes at the DLD Tel Aviv Marketplace

“All I need is 15 minutes for my pitch to see if the person in front of me is interested or not,” said Adir Zimmerman, CEO of the startup Screemo. “It’s getting those 15 minutes that’s the challenge.”

To give promising startups like Screemo those precious 15 minutes of pitch time with industry players, Microsoft Ventures Tel Aviv held its second Marketplace event on September 17 at the DLD Tel Aviv Digital Conference. Israel's largest international high-tech gathering, DLD Tel Aviv is an annual confluence of innovators and industry figures which draws participants from all over the globe: it’s a networking opportunity like no other, if you can secure a meeting with the right people.

That’s where the Microsoft Ventures Marketplace fits in.

We created the Marketplace to provide one-on-one “speed dating” meetings between startups and key industry players. This year, we hosted 84 executives from VCs and top companies like Yahoo, Google, eBay, Sequoia, Intel Capital, JVP, and more. These key figures met with 115 startups (out of 400 who applied) in a series of quick 15-minute meetings in one big hall.

“I love the intensity of the Microsoft Ventures Marketplace,” said Liz Wald, VP of International at Indiegogo. “You get 15 minutes to cut to the chase and have a meaningful conversation and then you can always do a follow-up later. The other events at DLD are more about schmoozing and slowly talking and such, so the Marketplace is a fun contrast to that.”

In true startup spirit, Marketplace is about hacking networking for the better.

One major factor set the Microsoft Ventures Marketplace apart from other networking events: the startups were the ones who choose the meetings with the industry leaders and not vice versa!

Adir Zimmerman of Screemo was one of the 115 startups who participated in the Marketplace this year. “As a startup, we put a lot of effort in trying to make connections,” he said. “Before each event that I attend I have to spend weeks just trying to track down and connect with the execs I’d like to meet with. The Marketplace event did this for me, so it was a huge time saver.”

But the startups weren’t the only ones to benefit from the fast-paced networking at this year’s event. It’s a fantastic chance to forge relationships for established industry players as well.

“The Microsoft Ventures Marketplace is great because […] it has so many entrepreneurs and investors coming to this one place,” said Bruce Haymes, the SVP for Global Business Development and Mergers and Acquisitions at the Nielsen Company. “I don’t think I’ve been anyplace else where you have such a diversity of investors and startups all in one location.”

Zimmerman of Screemo was impressed by the caliber of execs that his company met with at the event. “All the execs that participated were handpicked by Microsoft Ventures, so you know that if they’re there, it means they are the top industry players in the world.”

“In the Marketplace, I met with a VP of a huge company,” Zimmerman said. “This is someone I would have never met with for a one-on-one meeting any other way. That’s huge.”

Marketplace is just one of the many ways we help connect the global innovation community. To see where Microsoft Ventures is headed next, follow us @MSFTVentures or check out our Events page.