I’ve been reading a few posts lately from Sarah Lacy or Paul Jozefak about how tough it is for startups in Europe. While I agree that startups need easier fundraising opportunities, I also think the ball is in our court, this goes for Seedcamp companies as well as all the other startups.
We’re not doing enough to share learnings, reach out to each other, and generally take time out to help the many people and companies that help us. I think it’s a huge disservice European startups are doing to themselves and I don’t understand why this is. I also believe it’s one of the key ingredients in creating a tighter community and ultimately lowering the hurdles towards executing and iterating faster – another key advantage I see from Valley companies over those in Europe.
There are some notable exceptions like Moo , Songkick , Zemanta , Ubervu so big thanks to you guys. But all in all, thinking beyond one’s own startup is in high order.
So, here’s a call out to European startups to set a better example. We’ve created a Business tools Wiki to help startups in Europe, US, or anywhere really to put up content that they used themselves and found very useful. The idea is for you guys to help each other and therefore hopefully shorten the learning curve on using some very beneficial tools. So, please do use it and the more you contribute the better it will be for you!
Otherwise, would be happy to hear thoughts from you on whether you agree or you think I’m off the mark.
A picture perfect exchange occurred the other day on the forums. You know the story, developer meets designer, start creating a prototype, and apply to Seedcamp Week…
We have been overwhelmed by the response from teams interested in Seedcamp Week since applications opened earlier this week. We figured lots of you would have questions and comments that would benefit yourselves and other teams. So, we put together the forums for you to get advice, ask questions and connect with other startups.
One of the teams from last year used the community in an interesting and effective way, Decisions for Heroes crowd sourced their application, earning them a place at Seedcamp Week. An exchange we would like to see happen is the community helping teams compile applications.
In the coming weeks we will encourage Seedcamp winners and judges onto the forums to give top quality advice – so why not join up?
After the great success of Mini Seedcamp 2009 that attracted nearly 500 applications from across Europe, we are very happy to announce open applications for Seedcamp Week 2009 being held from 21st to 25th September at UCL in central London. We have seen some great talent throughout Europe this past year and along with new teams we haven’t met yet, we want to encourage teams who attended or applied for previous Seedcamps to apply again to win a spot on one of the most rewarding and prestigious startup programmes Europe has to offer.
Seedcamp Week 2009 is a weeklong programme that connects 20 early stage web tech startups with over 400 highly experienced and sought after entrepreneurs, investors, marketers, product and developer experts. Along with current board members Saul Klein and Reshma Sohoni, the chosen teams will also have access to Seedcamp’s recently appointed board members who have been selected for their broad range of entrepreneurial experience and international background in order to help Seedcamp deliver its mission to build a world-class, sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem.
• Fred Destin, partner at Atlas Ventures
• Charles Grimsdale, co-founder of Eden Ventures
• Alex Hoye, co-founder of GoIndustry plc
• Christophe Maire, Head of Maps & Explore Unit, Nokia Services
• Dave McClure, Founders Fund
• Richard Moross, Founder and CEO, Moo.com
Through interactive panel discussions, master classes and several informal 1:1 sessions, teams will gain invaluable insight and a solid foundation to help kick-start a viable business in Europe today. Not to mention being inspired by fellow entrepreneurs and a chance to broaden their scope within the European startup ecosystem. With 99% of teams who attended the Mini Seedcamp programme recommending Seedcamp to fellow startups, teams know they’re in for the entrepreneurial ride of their lives. London based startup Lovestruck who attended Mini Seedcamp London this year says, “Let me say that I was literally taken aback by the quality of the whole set-up. It oozed quality, from the agenda to the mentors. Hats off!” You can imagine a whole weeks worth!
What do the winners get?
The 20 teams do compete for seed funding, but most importantly, garner world-class connections in the European entrepreneurial ecosystem. At the end of the week Seedcamp will invest up to €50K each in 5 teams for a small equity stake (5%-10%). On occasion, we have been known to select more than 5 teams.
The winning teams then have 3 months in London. This is where we really roll up our sleeves and begin to build a kick-ass product and company with the teams. The startups will have an opportunity to take advantage of the same ecosystem of experts that participated in the Seedcamp event through weekly dinners, topical lunches, conferences, and continued mentorship, culminating in further Demo and Investor Days. Similar to last year, we will also take the teams to the Valley to meet with companies and additional mentors who’ll be important partners and customers.
What we are looking for
We are looking for strong, quality startups that have the talent, drive and capacity to fully embrace the opportunities that participating in the Seedcamp Week programme brings. Which is receiving quality advice from top industry leaders and start building those key relationships to help drive your business. Relationships that normally take years to build, you’ll have access to in one day. Seedcamp is not an event or conference and should not be treated as a one-off. Seedcamp Week is a programme that provides an entrepreneurial ecosystem of support to strengthen and catapult your ideas into a viable business.
To really get your head around it, check out highlights from Seedcamp Week 2007/2008. Our blog posts, videos and following us on Twitter are also great way to stay connected during the run-up to Seedcamp Week and beyond.
Our own Reshma Sohoni says, “The beauty of Seedcamp is that a start-up can fill his or her Rolodex in one day with quality business contacts that it would normally take five years to build. We want to help entrepreneurs experience the whole rainbow, not just the pot of gold at the end.”
The very best of luck to all the teams applying, we can’t wait to see what you have to offer! For more information on Seedcamp Week and to apply click here.
Now that twitter is awash with chatter about the opening of applications for Seedcamp Week ’09, we thought we’d put in our 2c about a few sectors we believe are worthy of startups tackling. As we’re all about seeding, I stress that these are a few thoughts to get you guys talking/working. We encourage and duly welcome the many other crucial problems you are working to solve. Also, just working on these does not take place of having a strong team and convincing us of your ability to execute and deliver a great product or service!
I asked a handful of investors, thinkers, and entrepreneurs what are some critical areas where they can see startups being in the right position to offer solutions and having the capacity to go at it on their own. Here’s 3 I’ll start with and continue next week.
Marketplaces – this is one area that is actively being invested in by both early and late stage investors and the next evolution is starting to happen. First-time marketplaces like referrals and builders are emerging as the recession puts pressure on cutting costs and moving things to digital as quickly as possible. And older online marketplaces are moving on as well, including social media, real-time search, and other advances that take them to the next stage and eek out ever more efficiences and customer satisfaction. And as I’ve presented in the past, there’s real money to be made here.
Presence and location – There are a myriad of point solutions and so many channels as to confuse the most savvy amongst us. We’d like to see startups tackling the challenge of bringing this into one holistic solution – with presence, device, and location awareness all rolled into one along with the ease of choosing the channel to interact whether it be twitter or sms or facebook.
Identity control management – Again, the challenge here is to bring this all together but we’d like to see more complete solutions around identity theft, privacy, and access control. I worked in M&A 10 years ago and this was still an issue. In all things security, there were too many point solutions and a few software powerhouses that usually just picked off these companies. And integration always proves hard. We’d like to therefore see more complete solutions.
So, if you are a startup and you think you’ve got some of these challenges cracked, we look forward to reading your applications for Seedcamp Week ’09.
I’ll be continuing next week with more seeds of thought so I encourage you to comment here or write to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or apply next week with your own killer startup ventures.
After the previous forums, using the now abandoned Beast Forum technology, began to suffer massive amounts of obscene spam attacks a unanimous decision was taken to replace them with up-to-date technology.
Although we didn’t do badly with the old forums (I added word filters and post censors to the ruby source code) these ones should be much easier to secure and maintain.
You will need to re-register with the new forums.
What other future developments can you hope to see? Quite a lot over the next few months. I’ve been hard at working fixing, fonting, and fudging the old Application System into the New Application System. In a strange case of the-early-bird-missing-the-worm syndrome, people have been applying before we’ve opened the system for submissions! They must be really keen to attend the “APPLICATION TEST JUDGING” event that’s being hosted at 0:00:00 on 1st January 1970.
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