At Seedcamp, we’ve been working with entrepreneurs since 2007, when Facebook opened beyond universities and Twitter launched at SXSW.
After four years of scouring Europe’s capitals of entrepreneurship, and raising the visibility of unknown gems like Croatia, Estonia, and Slovenia, in 2011 we made a conscious decision to focus all our energies on what we care about most: the first-time internationally-minded entrepreneur.
What we’ve seen in the last 5 years is what these entrepreneurs really want is: excellent delivering of business advice, an international network to plug into, validation to rise above the noise and access to the smartest capital in the market to grow their businesses.
Last year, we announced a raft of new initiatives and services, designed to deliver on this promise. While there’s a lot of noise in the sector, we focus on results and we believe that we’ve really delivered over the last 12 months. Here’s how:
Building the world’s best network of startup advisors
Offering incredible access to the world’s largest and fastest growing tech companies
Delivering on amazing practical value to entrepreneurs
Ivy League track record of providing access to capital and building real businesses
2013 … Stay tuned!
Growth Day 2012 was focused on taking the teams to the next level – teaching them how to scale their business to tckel the global markets.
We had a surprise announcement in the morning, where David Willett and a selection of London’s leading entrepreneurs and investors shared news about new regulations which will make it easier to take companies public. We were thrilled to host the minister at Seedcamp and proud to share the spotlight.
Growth Day itself was once again focused on mentoring sessions with Europe’s leading entrepreneurs and experts. Besides folks from the tech giants like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Skype, we also had many participating mentors from the founding and growth teams of European successes as Asos, Qype, Skyscanner, and others. The afternoon session was augmented by a great keynote session with Sven Schmidt, serial entrepreneur and now venture partner at Accel, who talked about scalable marketing strategies. He shared insights both from his personal experience and a more theoretical view on where the industry is going.
Michael Acton Smith of MindCandy, the makers of Moshi Monsters, was with us for the later Master Class on the Day. He shared the trials and tribulations of building a nation wide success, which is going beyond the digital borders and is by now a household name brand in the UK.
Investor Day 2012 was focused on exposing the Seedcamp Teams to Europe’s best and most active investors to get feedback on fundraising strategy, learn from anecdotes of past successes, and to network with the best Angels and VCs.
Investor Day at Seedcamp Week is always designed to maximise the amount of mentoring sessions the teams can spend with the investors. This year, we broke up the day in two, and heard a fascinating talk from Nikolaj Nyholm of Sunstone Capital, and Jos White and Chris Tottmann of Notion Capital. All three are successful serial entrepreneurs who are now running active early stage investment firms. The panel was focused on discussing the differences and difficulties of the relationship between founders and VCs, and the misconceptions that make it harder to work together.
Founders’ Day 2012 was focused on learning from Europe’s best entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses, scaled their teams, and live their lives in the tumultuous world of startups. We kicked off the day with team presentations, followed a great masterclass Session by Ed Spiegel, the founder of RentMineOnline from his participation in Seedcamp to a recent Exit. The morning was concluded with a set of mentoring sessions during which teams spent time with Europe’s most successful founders.
The afternoon began with a master class by Seedcamp favourite Dave McClure of 500startups, who shared his views on how startups can and should build a brand. A session with many laughs and gasps at Dave’s signature style (not always 100% pc), it got mentors and teams fired up alike.
After another set of mentoring sessions, Errol Damelin talked about the Wonga story, and was particularly open about how the company is building its talent pool, and how culture and branding are important even to early stage startups. Watch the video of the day to get an idea of the buzz all around:
Located in the extreme west of continental Europe, Lisbon is surrounded by mountain and water with the whole city distributed on six small hills. Some call it the city of the oceans. It’s the only European capital with sunsets on the sea, close to sandy beaches and is one of Europe’s most ancient cities – Lisbon is second only to Athens. Beauty aside, there are some practical aspects that make Lisbon an ideal entrepreneurial hub:
Location: It’s the closest European capital to the United States and just around a 2-hour flight from all the other major European cities. Moreover, it’s interesting to note that the city is connected to Brazil by language, spain by proximity and it’s urban center has a long tradition of exploring and trading. Perfect for those startups with global ambitions.
Value: It’s one of Europe’s best values – officially Western Europe’s least expensive capital. At the same time opportunities in Lisbon are abound. The city produces 45% of Portugal’s GDP. This combination of value and opportunities is perfect for any bootstrapping entrepreneur.
Collaboration: Our Event Partners are Beta-i and we have planned Seedcamp Lisbon taking place on the 14th November to coincide with Silicon Valley Comes to Lisbon. The Portuguese entrepreneurial hub certainly is growing strong. We are also fortunate to have SoftLayer and Yammer sponsoring the event. Harbour view of Lisbon – courtesy of flickr user McPig
Why should you apply? If you are a burgeoning tech startup, if you are ready to expand and develop your service or product, if you want to grow internationally, if you are looking for top international mentorship, whether in finance, marketing, biz dev or from VC, you are in the right place. The winners of the event will receive €50k investment for 8-10% equity. Will you be the next team to win the Seedcamp Investment, a year-long support, and receive the Founders’ Pack of offers from our Seedcamp Founders’ Sponsors? Do you have what it takes? There is only one way to find out and that is by submitting an application showing you are unique, have the right team to make substantial impact?
How can you get some of the action? This will be our first trip to Lisbon and we’re excited to see what the region has to offer. We are looking for innovative internet tech, software, media, and mobile focused businesses, great teams with awesome founders, and slick products that add real value. Take a look at our superstar teams to give you a better feel for the type of companies we like.
Deadline for applications is 9th October – we look forward to seeing what you are working on!
Product Day 2012 was focused on understanding the user experience of the individual customers. We kicked off the day with team presentations, followed by an introduction to user led design hosted by the IDEO team. The morning was concluded with a set of mentoring sessions during which teams spent time with Europe’s most coveted product experts.
The afternoon kicked off with a master class session ran by Ciaran Rooney of Skimlinks, who shared his insights on building Skimlinks to scale: today, more than 14 billion API calls are served per month. Des Traynor of Intercom introduced smart ways of measuring and understanding users and customers, focussing on new types of metrics.
After another set of mentoring sessions, Christian Hernandez of Facebook introduced ways to use the social graph for viral growth, followed by Cat Mallet of King.com, and Mat Clayton of Mixcloud, who shared their respective views on using Facebook products to drive traffic and engagement.
Here’s a rough video cut of what the first Day of Seedcamp Week 2012 looked like:
Since a few months, we’ve been in close contact with the Startup team of Softlayer, a cloud hosting service provider. The Softlayer team was intrigued to work with us and get Seedcamp startups involved in their Catalyst Program, which helps startups to forgo infrastructure costs in their critical inception phase.
Out of these conversations, we are glad to announce today that Softlayer is joining as a Seedcamp Sponsor, supporting us throughout Seedcamp Week this year, and also being involved in some of our local events throughout Europe for the rest of the year. Here’s the official Press Release.
“As a former start-up ourselves, we know it takes more than hard work and determination to transform an idea or vision into a viable business”, comments Paul Ford, SoftLayer Vice President of Community Development. “Our Catalyst program equips the next generation of web savvy entrepreneurs with free infrastructure and support critical for growth and success, especially in the early stages. That includes best-in-class dedicated, cloud and hybrid hosting, cutting edge infrastructure help and advice, dedicated mentorship from SoftLayer’s Innovation Team and executives, and increased exposure through marketing and PR initiatives. I’m here in London as a mentor and to demonstrate our commitment to Seedcamp and the amazing innovation happening in Europe. With the recent opening of our offices in Europe and Asia, we are looking forward to introducing Catalyst in those regions.”
As with all our sponsors, we are especially proud to have the Softlayer team also closely involved in mentoring our teams directly. On top of that, Softlayer is supporting our teams as one of our Founder Sponsors, further increasing the value of free services and products our new startups get to enjoy.
If you’re a startup, in Seedcamp or not – check out the Catalyst Program, and see if it’s something for you!
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