ClassroomX Agenda

For our inaugural session at Web Summit, we have assembled a variety of product, marketing, tech, and sales experts
to teach others how to overcome common challenges startups face. 

We deliberately designed class sizes to be small so that attendees could get hands-on instruction, ask questions, and connect directly with instructors. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2019
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Integrating online and offline worlds

Speaker: Brandon Hoffman | Strategy and Innovation, Samsung NEXT

Today startups need more than just a digital strategy for success. In this session, attendees will learn why the best new companies are being built on a thoughtful integration of physical and digital experiences, and what that will mean for their businesses going forward.

About Brandon: Brandon is a researcher and strategist who has spent the past 10 years identifying disruptive trends across industries, geographies, and technologies. Previously at Morgan Stanley, he now works with Samsung’s Chief Innovation Officer to help shape the company’s strategy.

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
COUP: The commandments of outstanding presentations

Speaker: Iskender Dirik | GM of Samsung NEXT Europe

In this session, Samsung NEXT Europe GM Iskender Dirik will provide a tasting menu of his COUP framework, which empowers everyone to be more successful through outstanding presentations and speeches. He’ll share his top advice for three of the five modules of his COUP framework, including script, slide design, and preparation.

About Iskender: As a VC, angel investor, and entrepreneur, Iskender has seen thousands of pitches. Formerly the CEO of Microsoft Scaleup Europe, MD of Bauer Venture Partners, and founder of multiple startups, he’s now leading Samsung NEXT’s European operations.

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
Pricing strategy: From cost-based to value-driven

Speaker: Maor Gordon-Guterman | Director of Innovation and Strategy at NUMA New York

An optimal pricing strategy can double a company's revenue in the first five years. Attendees will learn about the various methods of pricing and strategies to drive positive impact for their businesses.

About Maor: Maor facilitates data-driven clarity and empowers founders to tackle their startup’s biggest obstacles to growth. As the director of innovation and strategy at NUMA New York, he helps startups scale in the U.S. through key partnerships with corporations, investors, mentors, and experts.

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM
How to earn the media’s attention

Speaker: Nick Taylor | General Manager, Ballou

Is your startup ready to launch? In this session, the general manager of Ballou’s London PR practice will share tips on when it’s the right time to engage with an agency and how to set expectations around media coverage.

About Nick: Nick has worked with hundreds of high-growth technology companies across Europe and the US; accompanying them from launch to $100M+ investment rounds and exits. As the GM of Ballou in London, he’s an expert in helping early stage startups navigate the competitive UK media landscape.

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM
How to build a product-driven company

Speaker: Bo Ren | Head of NY Ecosystem, Samsung NEXT

Strong product thinking -- the ability to analyze a problem, develop and test solutions, and make data-driven decisions -- is the key to building a defensible moat against both competitors and market volatility. In this workshop, you will learn how to make your first product hire and how to instill product thinking into the DNA of your startup.

About Bo: With a degree in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Southern California, Bo spent nine years building consumer-facing social products at companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr. Still a PM at heart, she now spends her time serving founders and supporting the NYC tech ecosystem.

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
Startup product management: calmly defusing extreme uncertainty

Speaker: Ido Yablonka | Tech executive and serial entrepreneur

Risk is inherent to startups and effective product management is required optimally mitigate. In this session, attendees will learn a practical product management methodology to optimize for given uncertainty and externalities.

About Ido: As a serial entrepreneur and former software engineer in the Israeli air force, Ido built and  exited multiple companies to the likes of Yahoo and Palo Alto Networks. He is currently working on multiple products in cybersecurity and AI, and is an avid mentor and contributor to the Tel Aviv tech ecosystem.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM
Validating your distribution strategy

Speaker: Jakob Fricke | Director of Platform, Samsung NEXT

A solid distribution strategy is based on a good understanding of your target market and product value. This workshop will help founders understand how to de-risk their distribution strategy and connect their products with the right market segment.

About Jakob: Sometimes called the swiss-army knife of Berlin’s tech ecosystem, Jakob has co-founded several startups in the publishing and entertainment space, was Director of Product at, and helped build up the digital unit of German car-manufacturer Daimler. At Samsung NEXT, he facilitates collaboration between Samsung and the European tech ecosystem.

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
How to grow a community around your brand

Speaker: Severin Matusek | Founder, co-matter

Today it’s easier than ever to build a brand, but much more difficult to get people to actually care about you. So how do you stand out? This session will teach startups how to communicate their values and build a real community around their products and services.

About Severin: Severin works across technology, culture, and creativity to bring people closer together. Based out of Berlin, he built EyeEm’s community of 22M photographers, was a founding member of Copenhagen’s Techfestival, and now runs co-matter, a global network that explores what makes communities thrive.

12:15 PM - 1:00 PM
Negotiation tactics for startup leaders

Speaker: Chip Massey | Former FBI Negotiator

Many founders find themselves without the necessary tools needed to have difficult conversations with employees, investors, and even customers. In this session, learn how to be intentional with your empathy and to drive communication towards optimal outcomes for your startup.

About Chip: For more than two decades, Chip served as an FBI Special Agent and hostage/crisis negotiator. During his tenure, his work ranged from collaborating with the CIA to crack espionage rings to high-profile corruption cases, to post-9/11 counter-terrorism investigations at key Washington, D.C. sites. Today, Massey teaches the techniques he has mastered to corporate leaders, enabling them to grow their businesses and professional relationships quickly and profitably.

1:45 PM - 2:15 PM
Finding your path to market

Speaker: Scott Armanini | Senior Advisor, Portfolio Company Growth

After launch, how do founders create a sustainable revenue stream that will enable them to further develop their product offerings, build their infrastructure, and pay their team? This workshop will provide hands-on advice to help attendees build a scalable go-to-market strategy.

About Scott: Scott has more than three decades of experience in product, sales, and business development at the likes of Microsoft, Cisco, and Hewlett-Packard in Silicon Valley. Today, he’s an investor in and advisor to startups solving big, thorny problems, many of which affect billions of people.

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM
B2B SaaS pricing: How to stop guessing

Speaker: Ulrik Lehrskov-Schmidt | Behavioural Strategy

A good pricing model can be the secret sauce to establishing product-market fit. It lowers acquisition cost and churn while increasing both initial ARPU and growth.In this session, Ulrik shows how to use pricing design to create B2B SaaS pricing models to fit your market.

About Ulrik: As the Managing Partner of, Ulrik helps B2B SaaS companies with pricing and is the author of several books on the topic of pricing design. He holds an MA in finance from Harvard University.

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM
Product innovation in a hypergrowth era

Speaker: Paulo Dimas | VP of Product Innovation at Unbabel

With the emergence of new hypergrowth technologies, the lifespan of tech companies continues to decrease. In this talk, Unbabel’s VP of product innovation Paulo Dimas presents a framework for discovering the next generation of game-changing products.

About Paulo: Paulo is an award-winning researcher, entrepreneur, and innovator in the AI and geolocation space, where he holds several patents. At Lisbon-based startup Unbabel, he’s leading a team that is inventing the future of AI-powered translation technologies.

Thursday, November 7, 2019
10:30 AM - 11:15 AM
Building your product as cultural reflection

Speaker: Reggie James | Founder, Eternal

Products should not be built in a vacuum, but with an eye toward the culture that is defining the world around them. In this session, founders will learn how having a definitive view of the surrounding culture will enable their product to manifest the direction of the crowd.

About Reggie: Reggie is the co-founder of Eternal, an avatar-based social network launching in 2020. He was previously an analyst at Uber, specifically at JUMP bikes, and a product manager at, a live TV network for the internet.

11:30 AM - 12:15 PM
How to build a badass business model

Speaker: Christina Bechhold Russ | Director, Samsung NEXT

Got a killer idea but not sure what to do next? In this workshop, participants will learn the practical steps necessary to create a business model to plan, test, and ultimately turn their ideas into viable business ventures.

About Christina: Christina is a venture capitalist and angel investor based out of London. She’s the co-founder of Empire Angels, a New York-based angel group and a director at Samsung NEXT, where she invests in early-stage startups in the mobility, consumer IoT, and fintech space. She was recognized by About Time Magazine as one of the top 10 Female Tech Entrepreneurs to watch in 2019.

1:45 PM - 2:30 PM
How to disrupt yourself: Lessons from Rent the Runway

Speaker: Josh Builder | CTO of Rent the Runway

In this session, Rent the Runway CTO Josh Builder will share how his company made the switch from an event rental business to a robust subscription fashion service. Along the way, he’ll discuss how RtR had to completely rethink its technology around reverse logistics, inventory, user experience, and membership -- all while dramatically scaling its business.

About Josh: Josh Builder is a software engineer, web developer, and project manager based out of Brooklyn, New York. Previously CTO at Soulcycle, he is now CTO and head of product of Rent the Runway, a US-based service that makes subscription fashion accessible.

2:30 PM - 3:15 PM
A beginner’s guide to startup valuation

Speaker: Abby Lyall | Program Director, Big Idea Ventures

Learn the fundamentals of startup valuation to impress VCs and place yourself in the driver's seat when it comes time to negotiating term sheets.

About Abby: Previously with Blackrock and Quake Capital partners, Abby currently explores the plant-based foods and alternative protein ecosystem with Big Idea Ventures.

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Startup challenges that enable success

Speaker: Tracy Hinds | Head of Platform, Samsung NEXT

Building a company is difficult mentally, physically, and emotionally. In this session, attendees will learn the tools founders and startup employees use to manage stress, and how they can combat conflict before it escalates.

About Tracy: Having studied psychology in college, Tracy began her career in mental health/addiction and healthcare administration. But after learning to code, she immersed herself in the world of tech and startups. Combining that knowledge, she is interested in looking at patterns of human behavior and using them to help manage and resolve broken collaboration and processes.

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