Midway spotlights fresh ideas, startups and technology

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ONA’s Midway is a great place for attendees to network with vendors, hear exciting ideas, swap business cards and fill bags with swag. For those looking to grow their business, the Midway is a place to meet the people who can make that happen.

Here are a few Midway features for those who ready to propel their company to new heights — including one that doesn’t begin until Saturday morning.

Launchpad for new ideas

It’s “Shoot Your Shot Saturday” in the Midway. For students or pre-startup entrepreneurs looking to pitch ideas to ONA attendees, The Midway’s Launchpad is the place for anyone who wants to share their pet projects.

According to ONA’s website, 95% of the nearly 3,000 attendees will roam the Midway before the conference ends, making this special feature the perfect opportunity for people looking to get feedback and build valuable networks.

Those who are interested in pitching themselves to the crowd should visit the Midway Help Desk and speak with Midway Producer Hanaa Rifaey. 

“It’s meant as a launchpad. It’s a place to (promote) themselves,” Rifaey said. 

Startup Alley for new companies

Prior to the Launchpad, the same space was used for Startup Alley, where new startups made their debut to ONA members. Companies in the Startup Alley must be two-years-old or younger to qualify. 

Founded in 2016, Lucidweb is European virtual reality company showcased in Startup Alley.

Each year, the selected Startup Alley presenters are given a discounted rate to appear on the Midway for one day only. This year, there were 12 startups selected to be featured. 

Lucidweb, a virtual reality startup from Brussels, was featured in the Midway on Friday. Founded in 2016, the six-person company received government backing to participate in ONA’s Startup Alley. 

“Pitching ONA to my boss was very easy,” Lucidweb spokesperson Diana Del Olmo said.  “It’s the conference for media and innovation.”

Del Olmo said that while at the conference, she has connected with many of her European colleagues and potential customers. 

Other companies new to Midway floor

This year’s Midway is full of new businesses selling products, technology and looking for job candidates. 

New this year are companies like The News Project,  Oovvuu, Triton, Zephr and Pico. 

Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail is promoting its new predictive analytics software tool called “Sophi.”

The Japanese company Nordot is a content sharing platform at ONA for the first time to expand its market to the U.S.

“I think a lot of companies have a lot to offer to journalism outlets that might not be obvious,” Rifaey said. 

She suggests that attendees make their way to the Midway to talk to companies even if they don’t seem relevant to them. In her four years of producing the exhibition, she’s noticed that many great connections come from those unexpected conversations. 

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