How we select our startups

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Our startup programme, ALPHA, shines a spotlight on early-stage startups with outstanding potential. Here’s how we select our startups.

In 2022, 17,892 startups applied to our startup programme, ALPHA, and 2,296 of these startups were eventually selected to join us in Lisbon.

Our startups programme is an opportunity for growing businesses to get their name out there, meet with investors and potential customers, and learn from other companies.

We have plenty of material on how to apply for ALPHA, but here let’s explore how our startups team selects successful applicants.

First steps

The first step for any startup is to apply for ALPHA on our website, here. Once you have applied, a member of our startups team will reach out to you to discuss your company and decide which category of startup fits best for you.

These categories are:


  • ALPHA – Your company is in the pre-investment stage, or has under $1 million in funding.
  • BETA – Your company has launched successfully and is often a Web Summit alum.
  • GROWTH – Your company is experiencing considerable growth and expanding globally. Often you have raised over $3 million.
  • ​​

How is each startup assessed?

Each startup receives a score out of a hundred, based on the following criteria.

Growth potential

We’ll take a look at how many competitors are working on similar products. We’ll also consider whether you’re operating in a growing sector, and whether you’re targeting a single country or developing a global product.


We want you to maximise your impact at Web Summit. We’ll consider how relevant your product is to our attendees, how well your startup fits with the various industries touching tech, and whether your team has any proactive ideas of how to engage Web Summit attendees.

Product and team

We’ll rank your product depending on the stage of development you’re at. We’ll be thinking about whether you have a working prototype, and how many existing users you have. We also consider the expertise on your team, how many employees your company has, and your level of experience in your industry.

Pitch quality

Finally, we’ll judge you on your overall pitch to make sure you’re ready to work the crowd at Web Summit.

What are the benefits?

Successful applicants have access to a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Three passes valid for the duration of the three-day event.
  • Exhibition space for one day.
  • Access to all startup activations, including Startup Showcase and our world-renowned PITCH competition.
  • Company branding and profile feature on our website, and within the Web Summit mobile app.
  • Exclusive Startup Lounge access for all three days.
  • Access to the Web Summit mobile and web apps to build connections prior to (and during) the event, and to curate your own schedule.
  • Dedicated startup success manager to help during your preparations for the event.
  • ​​

Applications for ALPHA are open now. Apply today.

Main image of Growth startup booths in Pavillion 3 at Web Summit 2022: Sportsfile/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

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