Pitching, for better or worse, is a fact of start-up life. Whether you’re scrambling to impress a single investor in the proverbial elevator or showing your demo to an audience of thousands, you’ve got to be able to inform, convince, and entertain (or at the very least, hold their attention) within some tight constraints. And believe it or not, structuring your ideas into those constraints will actually help you to think more clearly about your business as a whole.
So we’re going to try something here at the Seedcamp blog: a quick-pitch round-table using our Disqus-powered Seesmic video comments. Think of it as a way to get peer-feedback and low-risk practice so that when it does matter you’ll be prepared.
One important note: while this is an informal exercise in which anyone can participate it’s also tied in with our Seedcamp application process. We’ll hold one spot in our short-listed interview day for the best video pitch, as voted by you, the audience in a poll we’ll post after the deadline
(we’re figuring out the voting mechanism, presently, but will get back to you). The deadline is the end of day (GMT) Wednesday, August 6th. That’s it – just leave your pitches in the comments below.
UPDATE: the competition is now closed. Congrats to Billioninayear.com, our winner.
After lots of planning we’re happy to release our Seedcamp 2008 program. Those of you familiar with last year’s schedule will recognize a similar format, though we hope to have improved it even more based on feedback from 2007.
Themes for each of our Seedcamp Week 2008 days:
One of our core aims at Seedcamp is to get the best advisors we can to surround the teams that come to Seedcamp Week in September. We’re happy to announce some of our marquee attendees for Seedcamp Week 2008:
Of course this is only a subset of a much larger group of experienced and wise veterans we’re gathering, but hopefully it should give an idea of the kind of mentorship we’ll have in store.
You can read our full press release here: Seedcamp Announces First Round of Advisors for Seedcamp Week 2008.
Keep the applications coming!
It’s a little embarrassing for a company so intertwined with technological progress to let their own forum languish for so long, but it seems our Seedcamp forum was borked for… well, all of 2008 so far. Since, unlike S3, we don’t have thousands of customers yelling at us if the forum goes down we only now just fixed it.
Anyway, the good news now is that it’s up and running. The forum is a great place to post questions (especially things you might not want to ask us directly) and get advice from the broader Seedcamp community.
We always like to support initiatives that help entrepreneurs in Europe build their network and find a good ecosystem that can help them grow their companies. A good initiative from Chinwag is their trip ( http://digital-mission.org) to the East Coast of US in September (14th-20th). Yes, it is the same time as Seedcamp Week but it’s nice to see multiple avenues for entrepreneurs to meet a great group of advisors and mentors.
The applications deadline is less than 48 hours away so if relevant for you, make sure to apply! Good luck!
In an industry so obsessed with equity it’s no secret that VCs are anything but equitable with their time. They get to engage with dozens of entrepreneurs each week, soaking up new ideas while on the other side of the fence an entrepreneur might have a meeting with a dozen VCs all year.
At Seedcamp one of the functions we serve is as a bridge – when we connect stellar founders with top-notch advisors and investors, all three groups benefit. But we can also be beneficial as a bullhorn, broadcasting out to prospective entrepreneurs some of the thoughts of those we know that usually only make it as far as a dinner conversation. Better-prepared budding business brains are more likely to make a connection, and the VCs with whom they meet will see higher-quality opportunities. So we’ll attempt to, if not even the exposure, at least reduce the asymmetry.
We asked two questions to our network of VC bigwigs:
For those of you hell-bent on venture funding, you could read these as “what can I work on to get in their office?” and “what can I do to stay there?”, but keep in mind these questions are only a small part of the larger investment-worthiness puzzle.
So without further ado, here are some of the responses we received.
#1 – Where do you see the biggest gap between the supply of new startups vs. the demand thereof, and in what direction is it imbalanced (too much supply or not enough)?
#2 – What’s the one thing you wish the start-ups coming into your office came prepared with that they typically don’t?
So there you have it – a healthy diversity of opinion but without much overlap or disagreement. We hope these points help you to refine your plan, whether it includes applying to Seedcamp or not.
Special thanks to our VC respondents!
As promised in the last post about our dinner with Fred Wilson, our chairman Saul Klein has just written a great piece (one might even say manifesto) on his blog expanding on the idea that validation in its many forms still matters, but thankfully it’s never been easier for a first-time entrepreneur to obtain.
There is nothing more validating at an early stage than a team that shows how they can bootstrap with limited resources to produce something which solves a real problem and that people want.
First timers who have come through YCombinator or Seedcamp have real validation. They have been filtered in the application process, they have had feedback from smart, experienced entrepreneurs and investors and they have plugged into the collective wisdom of their peers.
This is powerful stuff. So its not surprising that for many investors, teams who have been through these programs have a real mark of validation that makes it a lot easier to take an investment risk on a first timer.
You can read the whole thing here: From First Timer to Funded — Valuing Validation
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