Start, Pitch & Launch



We want to ensure that anyone that applies has quality insights in order to aspire to create great things. We invite you to work and play with the best in the field. As innovation comes not from motivation but instead from inspiration, we’ve gathered some of the best practices and insights to get your creative juices flowing.

Once you are selected to enter the development phase, you may at times feel lost, isolated or simply stuck on a specific challenge. We’ll help you overcome that through quality one-on-one time with mobile experts. Three open days are provided to help you get past any roadblocks or if you simply want to enrich your BIG idea.

On the final stretch, having gone from the BIG idea to design to reality, you’ll begin to smell victory… you are so close, yet so far. Dave McClure predicts startups will ‘f***ing fail’ 24 hours before demo day, but we’ll improve those odds, in two intense days with seasoned, international and national mentors, enthused to prepare you for the BIG day.

First Things First

Vodafone Big Apps Lisboa is not your run of the mill competition. We are looking for hackers and entrepreneurs that understand the real benefit and possible gains in providing added value to those that live, work and visit Lisboa. Ideally, you’ll identify a real need, one that has yet to be addressed.

Lisboa is a great start, a vibrant city that has yet to evolve technologically in terms of services – its unchartered territory where you will be able to develop, deploy, learn and redeploy, ready to take on any other city.

It is important that you carefully fill out the application process. We have brought together a diverse and experienced judging committee in order to ensure that no BIG Idea is left out in the cold.

Building a Movement

One of the key features of the Vodafone Big Apps Lisboa competition is the social element that not only widens your reach but also results in the honorable prize – voted by the public. As Derek Sivers so eloquently displayed at his TedTalk, it only takes 2 people to create a movement.

We have included tools to let you create a page that showcases your BIG idea. Like any other profile page, the secret is in the content. Make sure you add video, text, images and a personal touch, engaging your community, once you are selected for development and your page goes live, to come and reshare, like and vote. The more authentic, relevant and interesting the content you provide, the closer you will be to winning the popular vote prize.

It pays to remember that marketing is not an after thought. Be prepared to engage the community, test your ideas out, experiment, collect valuable feedback and reiterate fast and furiously – leave the perfectionism to the big brands.

From Design To Reality

We all recognize that having a BIG idea is just the very first stage of any successful endeavor. What we have also learned is that BIG ideas need nurturing and some TLC, and that’s why the development phase has three important milestones to help you gauge your planning. We’ve put together 3 open days that consist of one-on-one sessions with mobile experts that can help you either unlock a nagging error or simply test the application to see how it stand up to usability.

We’ve also got some expert advice and tips from SoftLayer’s technical geniuses, that will help you bring your BIG idea into the future. All these resources are provided to ensure you have the best possible support throughout the development phase.

Two Days From The Finnish Line

Having submitted your BIG idea, gone through selection to development, and initiated a small yet effective movement centered on your future, you will be ready to show the world what can be expected from your final and robust service.

Very few people are truly great at presenting, yet that is one of the most important assets to have as an entrepreneur – sometimes, the pitch is what separates obscurity from success. You’ll have just a few minutes to pass the smartphone test – whereby investors don’t check their emails whilst you are presenting.

Two structured days will guide through the process of presenting, help you identify which information to include in a slide, which to ditch, the tone to use as well as the speed at which you speak. If you don’t feel that you sound stupid, you’re most probably talking too quickly. And believe it, almost everyone talks way too quickly on the day.



So once you’ve made it past the first hurdle and have been selected to become one of the 20 startups in the run-up to the finale, it’s time to leave the closet and reveal all – the opportunity to showcase your BIG idea to a group of influential people. You know you are ready; you’ve done the 1-on-1 sessions, the App-a-thon, met with mentors whilst supercharging on SoftLayer’s impressive technology. The world awaits your creation.

There are no losers on this day. Whilst 3 lucky winners will pass GO, collect the prizes and move onto the next phase, the remainder will still be able to pitch to investors. We provide the tools, inspiration and stage – you understand that Big Ideas Grow and pitch like there’s no tomorrow. Good luck

The BIG Conf

The term Big Data first emerged in the late 1990s but it was only last year that Big Data came of Age. Its vast, various and high velocity. The BIG Conf will help demystify this exponential trend, through best practices and keynotes delivered by those at the forefront. Get ready because this is BIG news.

One of the key elements of the BIG Conf, is the final pitch you will make in front of an audience, and more importantly, the judging committee that will decide who wins the 3 prizes that include cash, incubation and exposure. Don’t forget that all that hard work creating and sharing content, could land you the ultimate prize – people’s choice, removing you from the stress of the final pitch.

Demo Meetings

These meetings are the way to showcase your BIG idea to those that could eventually become your investors. At this stage, we’ll have you ready to confront the barrage of questions that usually accompany this process. You’ll want to act and be smart, but remember, they aren’t just choosing you – you are choosing them too. Your presentation will be rock solid and your speech slow and convincing. All that information that you want to share with the world will be abbreviated to what really matters; who, what, when, where and how.


Funding is one of the greatest challenges for startups, once they decide what they plan to do. Some are underfunded, others are overfunded, and yes there is such a thing as too much money. It all comes at a cost. We will assemble a diverse group of potential investors in order to maximize the potential for acquiring funding at the level you require.

Most investors offer investment and support whereby it is imperative that we help you identify your real needs, instead of embarking on the highest bid possible. There is a fine line between your real needs and your romantic view of future evaluations.



The world becomes a much smaller place, thanks to Vodafone’s commitment to ensuring that your BIG Idea reaches the largest possible audience. Through its internal and external channels, its partners and targeted campaigns online, your BIG idea is sure to reach the masses. You’re off to a sprinting start; the rest is up to you.

If behind every great man is a great woman, behind every great company is a great team, behind every great team is a great leader, you’ve got to realize that behind every BIG idea is a BIG partner. You’re lucky because SoftLayer’s got that covered too, turning your BIG data into BIG value, whilst empowering the entrepreneur in you to find success through its Catalyst Startup Program.

As your customers/users are your biggest assets, you know you’ve got to take care of them and FreshDesk provides the platform you need. For 12 months you’ll get the Garden program for 3 agents for free. Use their support to get yours up to scratch. It will be no surprise that they know support and practice it religiously.

And whilst we are on the subject of customers/users, you know you’ve got to communicate with them via newsletters and transactional email, so we’ve partnered up with the best in the business – SendGrid. You’ll get 12 months of their Silver Program that includes 100,000 emails per month, but make sure you take advantage of their mentors and support so that your reputation online stays intact.

Your new home for the following 4-6 months, depending on your needs, Vodafone Power Lab, the prestigious incubator in the heart of Lisboa, will support you along the way, assisting in the nurturing of your BIG idea until its ready to see the light of day. Everything you need to ensure an eventful stay in one of the hottest cities in the world – and we aren’t just talking about the weather!