This article was first published on Carbon Voyage’s company blog. We announced our investment in Carbon Voyage after Seedcamp Week London 2014. Having completed the process they wanted to share their experience. This is their story.

The first rule of fight club is don’t talk about fight club.

The first rule of Seedcamp is… put your Out of Office message on.

Not quite as melodramatic, but definitely a crucial rule for companies who get to Seedcamp Week in future, as you won’t have time to do anything else. A month ago, we somehow got our Seedcamp application in on time; now, we have not only attended Seedcamp Week but have made it through to now being part of the Seedcamp family – one of the apocryphal twenty winners out of 3,000 applications.

Attending Seedcamp Week was an incredible experience; yes, it was an affirmation that perhaps we had finally got a business idea that was valid from the perspective of the VC community, but more importantly, the effort put in the Seedcamp team, and the support provided by mentors was absolutely priceless (sort of like a Mastercard experience).

The focus of the week really revolves around the all-important three minute presentations; having a few backup slides is good, but it’s all about the three minutes of craziness.

Fortunately, we had read the experiences of Al Mackin from Formisimo who attended previously, and so I thought I would provide a slightly updated version given that the program has changed a bit (and we will continue his theme a bit, although thankfully without the tube strike issue he had).


Day 1: Lots of coffee, no beer (green tea instead)

I missed the embarrassing ‘tell us something interesting about yourself’ bit as I had a pre-existing meeting I couldn’t get out of (thankfully) – so Tom had to mention how we had met in the army.

By the time I had arrived, the teams were going through their three-minute presentations and getting very constructive, if not brutal, feedback. Having been very used to pitching to potential clients and partners over the last twelve months, it was unbelievably valuable to get an outsider view – which fundamentally resulted in a total re-write. Having a compelling story was key. At the start of the week, we barely mentioned our backgrounds; by the end, our presentation sounded more like an operational plan to go to war (replete with a picture of D-Day)!

The presentation had been fatally wounded, and something pretty dramatic had to be done. Fortunately, the Hoxton Hotel was open until 2am so armed with green tea (demonstrating remarkable discipline), we were able to do what we thought was needed …

Day 2: More coffee, a quick beer

At this stage, we were pretty bullish – we’d fixed our presentation and thought we were on track for success. We got our 15 minutes with Seedcamp investors to presentation (3 minutes plus 12 minutes of question time); thankfully there were lots of questions, and actually some interest in what we were doing. I think silence would have been deadly at this point! That being said, the key take away from the presentation was that our messaging was still missing the mark, which Carlos, one of the Seedcamp team, ‘eloquently’ put to us afterwards. One of the mentors also said that our presentation was good, but our 1-pager which we’d submitted the week before was terrible. The refining fires of Seedcamp were doing their magic!

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Day 3: An even mix of coffee and beer (well not really)

There was a real buzz about day 3 – the chance to present to a big room of grown ups, get lots of advice and listen to the CMO of Just Eat, Mat Braddy – and of course try V3 of our presentation (which in reality was V3.100 or thereabouts). The presentation sort of worked, definitely a big improvement, but we knew that at some point, we needed to fix it. More on that later.

The talk from Mat was hilarious; more importantly, it has fundamentally caused us to reconsider how we position our product. That led into an afternoon of mentoring sessions with a dizzying array of people from many different backgrounds, and we were able to get some great perspectives on some burning questions that we had.

In the evening, our friends at Silicon Valley Bank hosted a party for us. My intent was to not have as big a night as I had the last time I went to one of their parties. We were partly successful. Sadly though, at 11pm or thereabouts when the party was over, we still had our brief to finish off. Fortunately, the Hoxton Hotel hove into view and we were sorted for the next few hours, with beer to help really get our presentation perfected (green tea was definitely not going to make an appearance that night).

Day 4: Need coffee thanks to beer from the night before, then lots of beer that night

Having the ability to present the business to about 100 investors at Amazon’s London HQ is pretty cool and the slight aftertaste of beer from the night before gave way to the real enormity of the opportunity before us – give a hopefully refined presentation that makes sense to a bunch of people who can really help us scale our business.

Luckily I was second up, so the pressure was all off pretty quickly. The transformation of the presentations from all of the teams from the Monday to Thursday was remarkable; I guess in the end it was sort of equivalent to seeing the change of Olivia Newton-John’s character in Grease! Fortunately, giving orders to soldiers or talking to large groups is something I’ve been used to for a very long time, so I think I held most people’s attention, and even a few laughs (and even a complementary tweet).

The presentation session was followed by a brilliant talk again, this time from Richard Reed, one of the founders of Innocent Drinks, where he went through a set of maxims that helped them in their path to success. The mentoring sessions on Day 4 were more focused around investor issues given the audience, but again provided the opportunity for us to think about what we are doing more broadly in the business.

The four days of craziness finished with a great party hosted by the Amazon Web Services Team, and given that there was no need to get the presentation changed again, it was time for quite a few celebratory drinks!

Next: Down the Rabbit Hole

Getting through to Seedcamp Week was awesome; succeeding at that is the next level of awesome, so it is now time to see what happens as part of the program. There are some great stories about how Seedcamp has been the real stimulus for startups to get serious investment both here and in the US, and hopefully that will be the next chapter of our story too!

Between the 1st and 3rd of December, Germany’s vibrant capital city will host Seedcamp Week for the fourth time. And we’re thrilled – Berlin has been a well-known hub of creativity for decades, and in the last couple of years there’s been a huge boom in its tech startup scene. Entrepreneurs from all over Europe are increasingly considering Berlin as their HQ and the ecosystem is thriving. Having already invested in several German startups, we’re proud to have been part of that journey.

But there’s more to do; we know there are plenty of talented startups out there who could thrive with the support of our Network, Academy, and Capital. So Seedcamp Week Berlin returns this December 2014 and applications open today!

We’re looking for tenacious and driven entrepreneurs with a big vision for their startup; if its globally scalable, we want to hear from you. We just announced our investment in 11 startups at Seedcamp Week London, so have a read to get a sense for the range of disruptive and big market ideas we like to see.

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What happens at Seedcamp Week?

Of the applicants that apply to Seedcamp Week Berlin we’ll select up to 20 startups to come along; including some of whom participated in one of our Mini Seedcamp events (Ljubljana and Lisbon, for example).

The three-day event begins with Seedprep – this is where we’ll introduce you to the Seedcamp team and each other. You’ll present your startups and we’ll give you concise feedback to prepare you for the next two days…

For the next two days you’ll be meeting many of our investors and mentors who will ask you some tough questions, but will ultimately help you improve your presentation, messaging, and product offering. It’s a fantastic opportunity to network and receive excellent feedback.

At the end of the week we’ll decide which of the selected startups will join the Seedcamp family!

How to apply

If you’d like to apply for Seedcamp Week Berlin (applications are open to anyone – you don’t need to be based in Germany) then you can apply here. The deadline is Sunday 9th November. Best of luck! We can’t wait to see you.

Last week 21 of Europe’s most promising startups travelled to London’s Google Campus to meet the Seedcamp team and our 300-strong network of mentors. We’re pleased to say that the standard was incredibly high and it was a pleasure getting to know all the startups who took part; fortunately the feeling was mutual, as the feedback we received was great – many of the startups commenting that the experience itself was an invaluable investment of their time.


The week started in haste as Monday’s Seedprep session prepared the startups for the week ahead. We welcomed them up for their first presentations of the week and didn’t look back. On Tuesday we introduced the startups individually to some of our Seedcamp Fund investors who gave valuable feedback on their presentations.

Wednesday and Thursday were the most important days of the week, giving them the opportunity to showcase their startups to our enviable network of mentors, putting into practice the feedback they’d received on their presentations. They were followed by inspiring masterclasses from Just East CMO Mat Braddy and Innocent Drinks founder Richard Reed.

Richard Reed

Mentoring sessions began after the morning’s presentations; Wednesday focusing on product development and marketing, Thursday on revenue and funding. From 1pm till 6pm – coffees in hand – the startups focused intensely on gleaning every bit of advice from our mentors. It was a great sight to see, as we managed to fill three floors of Google Campus and three rooms of Amazon Web Services, who kindly hosted us on the Thursday.

Mentoring Campus

Finally, with presentations over and mentoring accomplished, we let our hair down with a fantastic closing party on Amazon’s top floor, overlooking London’s fast-growing skyline. It was a fitting end to a week that saw so many startups transition to the next stage of their development.

The teams joining Seedcamp

Without exception, we were impressed with all the teams who participated in Seedcamp Week and are confident they’ll all go on to do great things.

We’re especially proud and excited to announce our investment in the following companies:

More exciting news

Part of Seedcamp’s new fund is dedicated to investing in seed rounds as well. These startups become just as much a part of the Seedcamp family as others. Therefore we invited 4 of our newest investments to participate in Seedcamp Week.

We’re thrilled to announce our investment in these companies also:

So, a huge “Welcome!” to all the newest members of our Seedcamp family. We’re very excited to work with them and contribute to the next phase of their journey.

If you’re a startup founder interested in applying to Seedcamp, applications for December’s Seedcamp Week Berlin will be opening TOMORROW! Check back at our website for the official announcement or keep an eye on our Twitter or Facebook for details.

Each year we eagerly look forward to Seedcamp Week London. It’s one of our most prestigious events in the Seedcamp calendar and this year is no exception. Currently there’s extra energy and a buzz of excitement sweeping through Seedcamp HQ! We’ve been delighted by the high standard of applicants in recent years and 2014 is no exception; applications coming from all over Europe and beyond.

It was a tough job selecting just 21 startups to make it through to Seedcamp Week, but we’re happy with the final cut and are confident this year’s group have the foundations in place for a very successful future.


Seedcamp Week London 2014 teams are as follows:

· Altergaze, London, UK – Building a Virtual Reality Ecosystem around our 3D printed smartphone based headset. · Carbon Voyage, London, UK – Building technology to make logistics more efficient. · Clarity, Sheffield, UK – Clarity enables users to map, analyse and query their time. · Goodvidio, Thessaloniki, Greece / Sheffield, UK – Helping e-retailers convert more visitors by recommending the best social product videos for their store. · Homeshift, London, UK – Homeshift is a home moving service which enables you to organise your move hassle free. · Invoice House, London, UK – Invoice House let online retailers offer their customers to pay in interest free instalments. · Kahla, London, UK – Kahla is a mobile app that enables people to consult with health and wellness experts. · KOLLEKT.FM, Amsterdam, Netherlands – Listen to the best music, selected by the web and your friends. · Make Works, Glasgow/ Edinburgh, Scotland – Connecting the design industry with the ability to manufacture work locally. · MangoSteam, London, UK – MangoSteam’s Syncronome smart calendar uses Geolocation data to take the hassle out of time management. · MatrixVision, London, UK – Compliance-as-a-Service tools and Bitcoin analytics to manage anti-money laundering responsibilities with no development required. · Medefer, London, UK – Medefer improves patient safety and reduces unnecessary hospital referrals by providing telemedicine consultant advice. · Mougli, London, UK – Mougli is an online appointment platform that makes local booking simple · MRPEasy, Tallinn, Estonia – SaaS platform, providing an easy and affordable production planning for manufacturing companies. · Newsfixed, London, UK – Online commissioning and workflow platform for media and analysis talent in hard to cover places. · Shoprocket, London, UK – Feature rich eCommerce that integrates seamlessly into any application with a single line of code. · Storygami, London, UK – Storygami makes online videos smarter by adding layers of context to videos. · Swipes, Aarhus, Denmark – World’s first intelligent productivity coach combined with a powerful task manager. · TrackMeo, London, UK – An easy-to-use mobile application that helps people with cardiovascular disease live longer and healthier lives. · Wriggle, Bristol, UK – A mobile-app that connects users with unsold spaces at local businesses at the last-minute. · Zen Assets, London, UK – Zen Assets. Changing the way people invest.

We’re also thrilled to have Innocent Smoothie founder Richard Reed and Just Eat CMO Mat Braddy join us to lead masterclasses for our startups. Richard is well-known for his key role in the incredible Innocent Smoothie success story, but his more-recent involvement as a founder-turned-investor is the topic he’ll be expanding on. Mat too played a crucial role in his company’s success, taking Just Eat all the way to IPO (the first company to list on the LSE’s High Growth Segment); he’ll be sharing key learnings across growth and marketing.

Indeed, we’re thrilled to welcome all our high calibre mentors, some of whom have travelled from as far afield as Russia, Singapore and the US to be here. They’ll be working with our startups all week, providing sought-after feedback and sharing their invaluable knowledge.

A big thank-you goes out to our yearly sponsor Amazon Web Services who will be hosting one of our mentor days at their shiny new office, followed by a party with panoramic views of London! We’re also proud to host the very first event at Runway East, a brand new workspace in the centre of Old Street; sponsored by another of our wonderful partners, Silicon Valley Bank.

Finally, our thanks goes out to Google for Entrepreneurs for their ongoing support in hosting us at Campus, where our team is based, alongside some of our portfolio companies.

If you’re a startup and you missed out on Seedcamp London, applications will open very soon for Seedcamp Week Berlin. Stay tuned for more information!

You may not be entirely surprised to know that we hear a lot of pitches at Seedcamp! We’ve heard the good, the bad and plenty in-between. While there’s always going to be room for improvement and each pitch should be tailored for the audience you’re presenting to, there are a few common mistakes that we see again and again.


1. Forgetting to talk about the team

There are typically three key areas an investor will want to understand about your startup; Product, Revenues and Team. Every pitch talks about their product, the vast majority talk about their current or projected revenues – but for some reason, we see plenty of startups forgetting to sell themselves.

Great people make great businesses, so when you undersell the qualities of the team that’s embarking on what can be a long and gruelling journey, an investor will want to be sure that you have what it takes; whether that’s relevant industry experience, a great network of contacts, or previous startup experience, you can bet your audience wants to hear about it. So tell them about your CTO’s PhD in Artificial Intelligence or the fact you were part of the team that built a similar startup. It all counts.

A great idea is a great place to start, but a startup’s success lies within its execution. Without talking about why your team is best equipped to pull off your master plan, an investor may be left unsure whether to trust in your ability to execute.

2. Trying to cram in too much information

The purpose of a pitch is to get your audience excited about your startup so they want to find out more. It’s a hook.

So don’t worry about needing to go into detail about your multi-channel marketing plan; you’re wasting valuable time you could be using to sell yourself..! Be concise, present the big picture – if you excite your audience enough then they’ll ask about the detail.

Additionally, slides with lots of information can be difficult to take in, so try to keep text down to a minimum. If you really need to cover something complex (such as your marketing strategy, for example) then a simple chart or illustration is a great way of distilling that information. Often, less is more.

3. Not explaining the ‘How’

Sometimes even the better presentations fall short on this point – there’s always room for improvement! Explaining where you expect your product or revenues to be this time next year is useful, but even more valuable is an overview of how you plan to achieve your ambitious goals.

Quantifying your projections is important because it demonstrates the forethought and aptitude needed to execute a plan. It helps investors believe in your team as well as your vision; without both, you’re in for a tough ride.

This article coincides with Seedcamp Week London, our quarterly flagship event where 25 of Europe’s hottest startups have been selected to present and meet 300 mentors and investors from our prestigious network. You can follow progress via our Twitter and Facebook pages.

It’s been a fantastically busy year for Seedcamp and we’re excited to welcome no less than three new recruits to our ranks. They’ll help us cope with the extra workload that comes with a fast-growing company and will help propel us further toward our ambitious goals. So let us introduce Oli, Ricardo and Tom, who bring some excellent new talent to our team.

Oli, left. Tom, right.

Oli, left. Tom, right. Ricardo starts on Monday!

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Oli West, Content Lead

Introduce yourself in a 30-word elevator pitch

I’m a passionate startup advocate and writer with a background in marketing. I have first-hand experience of running two startups and can’t wait to get stuck in!

What are you most looking forward to in your role at Seedcamp?

Seedcamp and its mentors have such a wealth of talent and experience, I’m really looking forward to distilling some of that information into helpful articles and video.

When not working, what are you most likely to be doing?

I’ve been writing music for years, mostly electronic, so probably that. Otherwise I’ll be reading up on something tech/startup related.

Who was your childhood hero?

Asterix, the not-so-typical underdog.

What’s your specialist subject outside of work?

Arsenal and electronic music (absolutely not ‘EDM’)

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a startup?

Stay focused on your core product and don’t be scared to say no to the many superfluous offers that will come your way.

Ricardo Schaefer, Business Development

Introduce yourself in a 30-word elevator pitch

I am half German/half Italian, an ex M&A banker, who loves investing and working with start-ups. I’m very excited to have joined Seedcamp to help nurture and grow their corporate and investor relationships.

What are you most looking forward to in your role at Seedcamp?

Getting to know, and to work with, lots of smart and motivated entrepreneurs.

When not working, what are you most likely to be doing?

Wakeboarding, travelling, photographing, exploring new parts of London, networking.

Who was your childhood hero?

David Hasselhoff (alias “Knight Rider” or “the guy that brought down the German wall”)

What’s your specialist subject outside of work?

Red wines

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a startup?

Keep things urgent and they will get done.

Tom2Tom Wilson, Investment Manager

Introduce yourself in a 30-word elevator pitch

Ex city-lawyer, keen on all things start-up, early stage investing and generally helping founders navigate investment deals and scale businesses. Northener in London. That’s not 30, hold on…

What are you most looking forward to in your role at Seedcamp?

Working as part of a great team and getting involved in the most exciting and vibrant tech eco-system in Europe. And not wearing a suit to work!

When not working, what are you most likely to be doing?

Catching up with friends, playing or watching football, geekily reading about the tech/start-up/early stage investing scene and telling/boring all those around me about some new idea that someone has dreamt up.

Who was your childhood hero?

Alan Shearer

What’s your specialist subject outside of work?

Newcastle United and Wedding Crashers (the movie)

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a startup?

Be yourself and don’t give up.

Seedcamp Week presents a great opportunity for startups to learn from our experienced mentors, investors and speakers. It’s also one of the best ways to receive valuable feedback on your product and, perhaps most dauntingly, your presenting!

We caught up with some of our previous Seedcamp Week winners and asked them to give their advice for the next group of Seedcamp Week startups.



Presentations are a key element of Seedcamp Week; startups will be invited up to the stage numerous times. And as daunting as it may feel on the first attempt, our mentors are on-hand to provide feedback and help you improve throughout the week – you’ll be more confident, slicker and your messaging will be perfected by the end of the week, we guarantee it!

That said, it’s still worth preparing before the first day, as Al Mackin (Co-founder & CEO, Formisimo) comments.

We practiced our first pitch until it became painful, and we made some connections prior to Seedcamp (via LinkedIn). The more you can warm up for the event, the better it’ll be.

James Kay (Founder & CEO, Fluttr) also prepared well for the opening day, knowing how important it is to make a good first-impression.

The most challenging part is probably the opening line – you pretty much lose 50% of the audience’s attention if you kick it off with “Hi, I’m XXX and I’m the CEO of YYY”.


It effects us all differently; for some, nerves are nothing more than a quick stomach flutter before we go on stage, for others it can be completely debilitating. But what’s true for all of us, is that by preparing well you can lessen the negative effects of nerves and even play them to your advantage. As Al Mackin says…

Visiting the presentation space as early as possible was important for me. For the biggest presentation, at Barclays, we were there ninety minutes before we pitched. Getting a feel for where we’ll be stood, where the monitors are and what could go wrong, meant that it improved quality and made it all seem easier.

By preparing well you’re minimising any potential risk, allowing you to focus positively on your presentation rather than all the elements that could go wrong; being familiar with your surroundings can help you own the room. James Kay ensured that even if the worst were to happen, he’d have enough quick-fire ammo to continue…

Memorise your 10 key sentences by heart. If you lose track of your flow it will allow you to jump easily to the next point while keeping a concise and highly powerful pitch.

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What they’d change if they did it all again

Seedcamp Week is one of the best opportunities to develop various aspects of your skill-set. That said, the learning doesn’t stop once the week is over! Al Mackin reflected on his experience…

If I could go back I’d change the way I described ourselves; until you’re exposed to that many high-level individuals you don’t know the exact ordering of words – the prioritisation of describing features or successes – that will get someone excited early. We had to go through Seedcamp to gain that knowledge.

Kevin Straszburger (founder, Krak) adds…

Think about Seedcamp Week as an opportunity to grow, to become smarter. Believe me, no matter what, you’ll be a better person at the end of the week. So enjoy it, don’t forget to have fun, and pre-order your Red Bull if necessary. You don’t want to have any regrets.

Best of luck to all the startups joining us next week. We can’t wait to see how you do!