Seedcamp helped the launch of many Eastern European startups during last years. In fact, around a quarter of all of our companies are from eastern Europe: Zemanta, Ubervu, Brainient, ERPLY, and now also Albia, GIS cloud and Profitero have their roots in Eastern and Central Europe. We are proud to see them launching internationally, growing strong, and attracting top international investors.
Next month, Bucharest will host a great event called How to Web, which is focused on connecting Eastern Europe with the major tech hubs around the world. Seedcamp is a strategic partner of this event that will surely help local communities connect and improve their business skills and networks.
Bogdan Iordache, one of the organisers of How to Web, told us that “Seedcamp has made a huge impact in Eastern Europe, where seed investments was nowhere to be found. By awarding in each edition a few Eastern European entrepreneurs, Seedcamp has encouraged many more to start thinking about the global market and develop technological innovations, rather then staying local.” This is why Seedcamp supports How to web in more ways than one.
The speakers lineup includes quite a few Seedcamp affiliates, including Reshma, our CEO, Katy Turner (Associate at Eden Ventures and a mentor for us), Alex Hoye (CEO of Latitude Group and Seedcamp board member) and 6 Seedcamp winners along with many others, covering topics related to business development, web trends (especially mobile & social media) and web entrepreneurship.
For everybody interested in reaching their Eastern European peers, here’s a special treat: use the SEEDCAMP discount code and get a 15% discount on the ticketprice.
There is a lot of awards buzz around today. No, it’s not Oscars and it’s neither Emmys – it’s the Europas. Europas are Techcrunch’s European Startup awards and this year’s nominees have just been published. We are thrilled to say that Seedcamp is in one or the other way present in almost every category – be it in the form of Seedcamp winning companies or people and investors that form the core of our small but constantly growing movement. We hope to see many of them winning the awards on November 19.
Saying no more, we present you our nominees in this year’s Europas below:
After our successful Seedcamp Singapore in September, we are holding the next event in Mumbai, India, on the 4th of December. After seeing the amazing entrepreneurial activity in South East Asia, we are excited to see what’s happening in one of the largest and most populated countries on earth.
We look forward to connect to the great early stage entrepreneurs in India, and judging by the first responses to the announcement, it will be a great event. We have partnered with some of the most active investors in India to make sure we find the best mentors locally: our partners in Mumbai are the Mumbai Angels, Morpheus, Nexus, and Sherpalo. As in Singapore and South Africa, we will also have some of our mentors from Europe join and give their input.
Applications are open as of today and we want to encourage all early stage internet technology entrepreneurs to let us know about their businesses. We will select the 20 most promising teams and invite them to the event on the 4th of December to get the chance to come to London in 2011.
So, who exactly are we looking for? As always, the hottest internet technology companies in their early days are the target for Seedcamp Mumbai. Have a look at ourportfoliopages, the winners of Seedcamp Week 2010, and of course all of the participating companies in our previous mini Seedcamps to get an idea. If you are an ambitious team of founders with the hunger to take on the world with your company, Seedcamp is the right place – you will participate in a day of intense mentoring with the greatest investors, business angels, product developers and entrepreneurs.
A couple of weeks ago we had a great Seedcamp Breakfast at Return Path‘s London offices. Matt Blumberg, founder and CEO of the global leader in email deliverability gave us some great insights into how he grew his company to more than 200 employees since the founding date in 1999. His story was especially interesting because Return Path is now active on multiple continents – a very difficult challenge for some of the Seedcamp companies who are spreading to different geographies already early in their development.
Matt took us through his 7 ideas and provided a lot of background and good anecdotes to support his theses:
Surround yourself with the best and brightest The first and foremost lesson was to hire the smartest and best people -and you should not be afraid of being less smart than them. As soon as you compromise on the quality of your colleagues and employees, the quality of work will slip – after all, they will be even more afraid of being surpassed by smarter hires. Creating a spirit of excellence is key to ensure long term success.
Create an environment of trust Being there for every employee, in good and bad times, creates the kind of trust that can not be bought. Taking risk is important when building trust, but the effort will come back. One excellent example was how Return Path prepared for board meetings: the decks would be sent around to the whole office, so everybody would know what the company had planned. A very open and trusting environment indeed.
Manage yourself very, very well An apt description for the issues with self management is what Matt called the “French Fry Problem”: you can always eat one more. The need to manage oneself and call it a day at certain points is important to not burn out and lose sight of the bigger picture.
Be the consummate host At Return Path, this means free beers on Fridays for the whole company. Matt would start back in the day to serve everybody a drink, to show his appreciation of work and the team. From another view, building a team is similar effort as throwing a great party: you need the right guests, have fun, and control the black sheep. Being a great host goes a long way to make it a success.
Be the ultimate enabler Enabling people to do great is actually quite easy: don’t be a bottle neck to their work! Running great and efficient meetings is one important part of this – keep them short and efficient.
Let people be people Creating a great work-life balance is important to ensure long term success – even when it comes to crunch time every now and then. Matt told us how sabbaticals and other benefits would go great lengths to keep employees happy and motivated.
Create a thankful atmosphere Not only giving feedback and thank you’s during review time, but saying thanks and giving out personal gifts and small notes are a key part to the culture at Return Path. Peer recognition is important not only to make individuals feel good, but also to motivate and bond inside teams.
We had a lot of discussions and feedback around these ideas, and it was great to hear from a veteran how he handled the issues to build a great company. Many of the Seedcamp companies are now in the process of building out their team – not a trivial effort.
Hot and buzzing – two words that describe the economic situation in Singapore very well – we spent a great day at our first Seedcamp in Asia this week, and it was a full on success.
In the morning, team pitches went very smoothly and displayed the great diversity of the visiting companies: coming from 7 different countries in the region, they were active in fields as varying as cloud storage management and the development of digital sales materials. From consumer focused companies to teams active in enterprise and government sectors, we had a great selection across the board.
Despite the hot and humid weather (challenging for us northerners coming from cold and rainy London), the discussions stayed very focused on the development of the teams’ ideas and businesses. Already after the first mentoring sessions, the teams commented on the great input they received – owed to the great mentors we were able to find in Singapore and the region. Next to the already mentioned repeat mentors coming over from Europe, we had local VCs, angel investors, representatives of large tech companies and government passing on their knowledge to the teams.
One of the striking findings in new geographies (this applied to South Africa and Singapore alike) is the enthusiasm that builds up during only a very short time – both mentors and teams who are skeptical or do not know what exactly to expect in the beginning of the day are teeming with excitement during lunch at the latest. To see this energy carry on throughout the day is one of the most rewarding experiences of running Seedcamp.
The same energy was also what carried many of us through to the hackerspace in Singapore’s Arab street district, where we closed the day over drinks and talk. The final winners of Seedcamp Singapore were announced by Singaporean minister Mrs. Lim Hua Wee one day later during the Techventure conference taking place at Singapore’s newest and undoubtedly most striking addition to the skyline – the Marina Bay Sands:
Cmune from China convinced us by delivering a very performant platform for first person video games on social networking platforms, bringing console style gaming to the browser.
Eyes and Feet from India have developed a solution for restaurant and venue owners to track the social media conversations, check ins, and comments around their properties.
Joukuu is tackling the issue of fragmented could storage silos and their missing backup and synchronisation link – a problem that will only get worse with ever more of our files and data moving online.
The winning teams will join us in London next year to pitch for investment and Seedcamp involvement to bring their business to the next level – not only in Europe and the US, now also in Asia.