8 Sep 2022 | Sam Sprigg
Discover all that AWE EU has to offer Start-ups this year
AWE EU 2022

AWE EU – Europe’s leading XR industry event and conference – is six weeks away. AWE events are always the perfect opportunity for AR/VR start-ups to showcase their innovative spatial computing technology and solutions, and offer those in attendance a glimpse into the bleeding-edge of what the industry’s up-and-coming companies are working on.

With the six week countdown underway, here are six reasons why start-ups should seriously be considering attending this year’s AWE EU event in Lisbon, Portugal.

Be a part of one of Europe’s leading VR/AR communities

AWE is the world’s largest community of virtual and augmented reality professionals and enthusiasts. Every AWE event sees creatives, developers, founders, investors, end-users, press, and more gather to share their passion for XR. Whether it is learning about the current direction of the industry, connecting and networking with other professionals, or growing a business through exhibiting on the expo floor, there is something that AWE events offer everyone and AWE EU in October will be no different.

Connect with investors and end users

Investors are drawn to AWE because of the start-ups that are showcasing their innovations and talent. By attending, you’ll be putting your idea or solution directly in front of those who are on the lookout for their next financial investment in the XR industry, such as investors. But also, end-users who are searching for the solution to their business problems. Your XR product may well offer the key that fits the lock for an enterprise company, but you won’t know unless you hear directly from them in person.

Several start-ups have landed investments either at an AWE event, or as a direct result of attending an AWE event and through the contacts they make there.

Some AWE success stories include:

Varjo The company first exhibited as a start-up at AWE in 2018, where it won the Auggie Award for “Start-up to Watch.” Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength and is now seen as the industry leader in human-eye resolution virtual and mixed reality headsets. It even just announced an additional $40 million in funding this week.
Proprio Back when the company consisted of only two people (and only a laptop and a single HMD), Proprio managed to land their first six-figure lead investor cheque at AWE thanks to a strong relationship that founder Gabe Jones managed to build with a member of the Venture Reality Fund (VR Fund). According to Jones, this “wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the community at AWE.”
Fungisaurs This fun startup was able to obtain some pre-seed funding after attending AWE in Santa Clara, which directly assisted the company in getting its MVP (Minimum Viable Product) off of the ground. You can listen to what Fungisaurs CEO and Founder, Aiman Akhtar had to say about his start-up’s attendance of AWE below:

Participate in the AWE EU Start-up Pitch Competition

AWE is the home of the legendary Auggie Awards ceremony – an industry recognized accolade that is proudly displayed by companies big and small. One of the most coveted Auggies handed out at AWE EU is for start-ups, with the winner receiving the title of “Start-up to Watch” for the year. 

Eight finalists are selected from a pool of submissions for the Start-Up Pitch Competition, where they compete to convince our leading panel of judges that their idea is worthy of the grand prize. Not only is this a great place for start-ups to gain some pitching experience, but it is also an incredible opportunity to showcase ideas in front of a packed audience that consists of industry leaders, experts, talented attendees who may well be looking for their next XR role, and of course, investors on the lookout for the next XR unicorn.

Shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the world’s leading XR companies

AWE is not just an event focused on start-ups. Several of the world’s largest corporations and business have a presence at our events multiple times a year to either showcase their own XR products on the expo floor, participate in panel discussions and presentations on one of AWE’s many Agenda Tracks, or to attend and experience all that AWE’s XR events showcase on the current state of the Augmented and Virtual Reality industry.

For start-ups, not only does this mean that your company name will be on the same expo floor map or agenda listing as these big industry players, but there’s also a good chance that you’ll be brushing shoulders with executives, developers, and XR specialists from some of the world’s leading companies whilst in line for a cup of coffee, or at one of AWE’s incredible networking events. Big names that are regularly in attendance at AWE events include Epic Games, Google, HTC, Magic Leap, Meta, Microsoft, Niantic, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Snap Inc., Unity, and many more.


A focus on start-ups this year with several pavilions

AWE EU will feature some start-up pavilions this year, with a contingent from Korea in attendance that will be hosting the following start-ups: 3i, AIPARK, Extriple (MetaVu), Haegin, Marvrus, Studio W, Wide Brain, Woongjun Thinkbig, Xrisp, Zion Network. There will also be a pavilion from UK-based B2B start-up accelerator
Startup Wise Guys, which will feature 10 unique startups from their incubator.

There is already so much anticipation around the start-up presence at this year’s AWE EU, from the start-ups themselves, as well as from investors and confirmed attendees who are excited to see all that will be on offer. There hasn’t been a better year for any start-ups (who for whatever reason may currently be on the fence about attending) to commit to making the trip to Lisbon in October, where you’ll certainly be able to capitalize on this excitement.

Experience Lisbon and its leading tech ecosystem

Finally, there is of course the appeal of the city of Lisbon itself, which is shaping up to become a leading European tech hub. We’ve already gone into detail in a
past blog post as to why this is, but to quickly reiterate, there are several reasons why Lisbon and Portugal in general is an attractive destination for start-ups, including:

  • The Portuguese Government offers a variety of incentives for businesses and start-ups to make the country their home;
  • The coastal nation and tourism is enticing to investors, partners, and employees alike;
  • Lisbon’s central location offers fantastic travel connections to nearby European capitals and the rest of the world;
  • There are a number of different types of Digital Nomad Visas for Portugal that start-ups and professionals can explore;
  • As well as other incentives for start-ups offered through the ‘Startup Portugal’ program.

Not to mention the fact that the city is absolutely stunning, has an incredible nightlife, and is rich in culture. If these aren’t reasons enough to visit Lisbon as a start-up or founder, then we don’t know what is.

So there you have it. Six weeks until AWE EU, and six very convincing reasons why you should seriously consider attending this year’s leading European Augmented and Virtual Reality event.

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