We spend a lot of time searching for top startups around Europe, but we certainly don’t neglect our home UK market. And while we may be based in London, when it comes to finding the UK’s top startups, our search doesn’t stop at the M25! In fact, we have a pretty good track-record of investing outside the ‘big smoke’; Formisimo (Manchester), Wriggle (Bristol), and MakeWorks (Glasgow), being just a few of our recent investments.
Online Office Hours is another way we continue to talk to startups around the UK. It’s your opportunity to speak to one of the Seedcamp Partners about your startup and receive valuable feedback.
Manchester and Swansea startups, you’re up! We’re really excited to hear from you.
Startups are encouraged to apply using the links below. Because space is limited, we’ll carefully select 5 startups from each city and teams will be allocated a 10-15 minute slot for a video call with one of the Seedcamp Partners.
You’ll discuss your startup directly with our Partners, Reshma Sohoni and Carlos Espinal; two people who have impacted hundreds of startups journeys. Additionally you will:
We’re looking for ambitious founders who want to build global billion-dollar startups. Our focus is on mobile and web, and we look for founders who use technology to disrupt large industries.
You’re at the right stage when you’re anywhere between a rough prototype and a live product (some startups even have some revenue when they join Seedcamp!)
We’d love to hear from you, so apply by Sunday 7th December using the links below and we’ll be in touch!
Tue 16th December – Online Office Hours Manchester (Apply here)
Wed 17th December – Online Office Hours Swansea (Apply here)
Seedcamp Week London applications are now open! – Have you applied? If your answer is anything but “Yes!” then our Meet & Greet event could be for you.
While many startups have applied already, we know from experience that some will be unsure whether Seedcamp is right for them. Some common questions we hear are…
“Is my startup at the right stage?”
“What if I’m a single founder?”
“Does my company need to be registered in the UK?”
“How does Seedcamp provide acceleration?”
Meet & Greet is the perfect opportunity for you to meet us in person, hear about Seedcamp, and ask any questions you may have.
At Meet & Greet we open our doors to startups who are interested in applying to Seedcamp but want to find out more about us first.
1. Understand Seedcamp – We’ll kick things off with an overview; who’s behind Seedcamp, how much we invest, who we’ve invested in, what types of startups we look for, and what support we give our startups.
2. Hear from a Seedcamp mentor – We’re famed for our world-class mentor network. We’ve invited a very special guest to talk to you about the relationship they have with our startups.
3. Hear from a Seedcamp startup – Hear about the value one of our startups has gained from being part of the Seedcamp family.
4. Q&A – We’ll open up to the floor so you can ask Carlos and our guests your questions.
Meet & Greet London will be held at Campus London in the evening so we don’t interrupt your day. While the event is aimed at startup founders, feel free to bring other members of your team along.
We’re holding two events before Seedcamp Week London applications close on 11th January:
Mon 15th December (Attend here) Sold out. Waiting list available.
Tue 6th January (Attend here)
Still unsure? Watch our video from Meet & Greet Bristol to get an idea of what to expect.
We can’t wait to meet you!
This guest post is written by Andrew Mainhart, Founder & CTO of Oradian – the cloud-based back-office software service for financial inclusion in frontier markets. Andrew joined Seedcamp for the twice-yearly US Trip, meeting investors and tech companies across the USA.
Oradian is a bit of a different fish than most startups (Seedcamp family or otherwise). Our target markets are frontier economies – in particular, Africa. Our target customers are informal financial intermediaries working with end clients outside traditional banks. So… it was with some trepidation that Antonio and Andrew joined forces on our Seedcamp US Trip Fall 2014 adventures.
Good luck boys, better luck elsewhere.
While some of these rules were surprising, our biggest surprise was the clear separation between New York-based investors and Bay Area investors. We arrived in NYC assuming east coast venture capital firms would react more positively to our story, our pitch, and our business – after all, many left the Valley to show their counterparts that innovation doesn’t just happen in California. We figured they were closer to us and to our customers. As a result they would be more sympathetic and open to our vision of connecting 100,000,000 families through financial services.
On the other hand, we assumed (yes, we know what they say about assumptions!) that the west coast VCs would be more insular and myopic. Even the investors we spoke to in New York emphasised these factors; regaling us with stories of how their Valley counterparts were ‘lost in the valley’.
We thought long and hard about whether to even join the west coast leg of the Seedcamp US Trip. In the end, we did join and we are glad for it.
Where the New York investors are fighting hard to prove themselves; to their LPs, to their Valley brothers and sisters, and to each other – the west coast guys are pretty secure in their successes. The west coast investors had a lot more time for “big” ideas in far away places – not that we left California with 15 term sheets and millions in committed investment. Quite the contrary. But we weren’t laughed out of the Valley either. We continue to meet and talk with many of the investors there who are interested in our story. Even if they can’t help directly they have actively pointed us in new directions and to new people.
Only time will determine the relative success or failure of our US Trip, especially if success is measured in Term Sheets and total investment raised. But we met a lot of cool people – both fellow Seedcampers and at every investor and startup we visited. We learned how to make a pitch in 3 minutes (or less) but still engage the listener. We learned how be confident while “winging it”. We learned to extemporise and play to the audience instead of “sticking to the script”.
Most importantly, we learned that Andrew snores incessantly and Antonio has really strange musical preferences.
Over the past seven years our mission has been to help European founders build global tech companies. With the bi-annual US Trip and a new office in the Bay Area, we’ve developed strong bridges into the US to help Seedcamp startups raise funds and enter the US market faster and stronger.
We’re excited to continue our global approach of helping startups, this time looking east to Asia; and we’re thrilled to have partnered with Hong Kong’s new blueprint accelerator and workspace.
blueprint is a new space powered by Swire Properties. Over 20,000 square feet across two floors, blueprint will house over 200 co-workers on one floor and run an accelerator for 20 b2b startups per year on another floor. The teams joining the accelerator will benefit from a network of mentors, investors and partners developed specifically to help b2b startups in Asia. Seedcamp will head to Hong Kong twice a year to run workshops with the accelerator’s teams and mentor startups from the region.
For Seedcamp companies looking to expand to Asia, blueprint will be an excellent landing pad where they can immediately plug into a space and strong network, and move with speed and intelligence into the Asian market.
Teaming up with a partner that shares our vision for working together across borders to help give founders a hand building their life’s work is important to us. This partnership is particularly in-line with this ethos as our very own former Investment Manager, Hilary Szymujko, will run the accelerator program at blueprint.
As we wave goodbye to an awesome 2014, we can’t wait to see what the future brings for our next wave of startups. Seedcamp Week London is the first opportunity of 2015 for ambitious startups to join Seedcamp and we’re thrilled to open applications today!
Seedcamp Week is all about putting your startup through its paces. You’ll spend the week presenting your business to our audience of world-class mentors and investors, receiving feedback during our esteemed mentoring sessions, and hearing from some of Europe’s leading business minds in exclusive masterclasses.
We’re looking for disruptive tech startups with globally-scaleable products to join us in London from 2nd-5th February. Apply using our simple application form before midnight Sunday 11th January to be in with a chance of attending. Good luck!
Of the applicants that apply to Seedcamp Week London 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 four-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 (Barry Smith, founder of Skyscanner; Mat Braddy, CMO of Just Eat; Renaud Visage, CTO of Eventbrite, are just a few who attended previous Seedcamp Weeks). They’ll 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!
If you’d like to apply for Seedcamp Week London (applications are open to anyone – you don’t need to be based in the UK) then you can apply here. The deadline is midnight Sunday 11th January. Best of luck! We can’t wait to see you.
Here you’ll see an overview of everything you need to know to prepare for Seedcamp Week Berlin. If you have any additional questions let us know! Make sure to go through this thoroughly as it covers every aspect of the event and how to get the most out of it.
Seedcamp Week is extremely busy – events will run from 1 December through to 3 December and participating teams must attend all events. We will be sending you further information on the schedule shortly, here’s a sneak peek:
Event Announcements We publish a blog post on 2nd December announcing all participating teams. We coordinate our PR and blogging efforts around this time, so please widely distribute this post to gain the most possible exposure for the event and your company – and help the others. We will be in touch about it again close to the time. In the meantime please still keep your participation quiet!
Who Can Join? Each team can bring a maximum of two members to the days. The person limit is due to the tight venue space & in our experience mentoring is optimal with 2 people from the startup. Feel free to rotate one person, but make sure that at least one of you is there for all 3 days.
Investment decisions, joining the Seedcamp Family Investment decisions will be made during the week – not just in the investment interviews, but also based on feedback from our team, mentors, and investors. The best advice we can give you right now is not to worry too much about it – just be you natural self and show us how great your company is and how passionate you are about it. You will have an amazing week regardless of the outcomes.
Onboarding After Seedcamp Week, winners of Seedcamp Berlin will be required to return to London the week commencing 8th December to participate in Onboarding. Check your calendar for the week of 8th December – you’ll need to free up this week for Onboarding if you win.
Prep Call We will do a Seedcamp Week preparation call during the afternoon of Wednesday 26th November for all the selected teams. In it, we’ll walk you through the complete schedule and all materials you should prepare. Don’t worry, we will answer all of your questions. We’ll send you the meeting invite shortly.
Read about the experiences from past teams To ensure you fully benefit from the day, below are a variety of blogs from past Seedcamp Teams. Their preparation experience and tips on how to make the most of the day are definitely worth a read:
What to cover in your presentation? Presenting your company can be a stressful experience if you’re not prepared. We will be practicing and reviewing your presentations during Seedprep on the 1st December, but in the mean time we suggest you:
You have strictly 3 minutes to present your company. This is your chance to introduce yourselves to the mentors and let them know why you are there, DON’T use it like an investment pitch (i.e. ask for money). A beneficial tactic can be to concisely summarise what your company does in the very beginning of your presentation. We also recommend including:
A great question you may want to answer to set the tone for your mentoring session: What do you want to get out of the day? Keep your number of slides manageable and practice, practice, practice!
We will give you feedback during the training session, but don’t rely on this session alone to work on your presentation. Most of our venues have Internet available to demo product. HOWEVER, experience shows that it is prudent to have a slide backup, as there are often connectivity issues. Same goes for using sound and video during the presentation – usually a personal presentation is much more effective. Presentations will be in alphabetical order, and of course in English. If you’d like further guidance this is a good demo to watch. (It’s not Seedcamp’s so ignore the 90 sec rule but it might give you inspiration)
How to get the most out of mentoring Your startup team will participate in mentoring sessions on 3rd December with experienced entrepreneurs, investors, product experts and developers. You should aim to get as much out of these sessions as possible. Each mentoring session lasts approximately 30 minutes and will contain your team and approximately 3 mentors.
Mentoring sessions are meant to give you feedback in an open and honest context. Do not pitch! Research the names and background of mentors you’ll be meeting (you will receive a list shortly) and write down potential questions you want answered. Mentors can get off topic, so asking direct questions and setting topics for individual sessions works best. Teams tend to get most out of the mentoring sessions when they take control of the discussion.
We have grouped mentors so that experts from certain fields are together, so find out what a good topic for the session could be and focus on those issues. For example, you may have a grouping of angels and VCs who you could ask for feedback on your fundraising strategy. With marketing experts, consider discussing your go-to-market strategy. In addition to open sessions where mentors choose their desired teams, breaks and the evening event provide opportunities for deeper interaction. Make sure you leverage every opportunity to interact with mentors. Form a concise description of your business and consider conveying your goals for the day during your presentation.
Take notes & Follow up Remembering the details of an initial conversation can make a huge difference when reconnecting with mentors in the future. Always exchange business cards and be sure to take notes. Some teams choose to have one member especially accountable for taking detailed notes while the other member leads the discussion. It may also be valuable to recap each discussion with your team member after the session.
Post event if you connected with a mentor be sure to follow up! This is the key to forming mentor relationships. Make sure you connect personally with each mentor you met – it’s easy to drop an email saying how much you enjoyed the session, this keeps the door open for future meetings and queries. Mentors are interested what you do, so think about give periodic updates. Mentors may also offer to make introductions they promised during the sessions – reminding them of this could be the best way to get your feet in the door. An easy yet under-utilised tactic is to publicly thank mentors for their time on Twitter.
Business Cards You will meet a lot of new people so ensure you have a stack of business cards available; Moo offers Seedcamp finalists’ 50 free cards for each team, so it’s a helping start! http://moo.com/link/h75g
Finally Finalise your product, prototype, pitch, and get ready for Seedcamp!
This guest post is written by Tom New, Co-founder & Marketing Director of Formisimo – whose checkout/form analytics and reaction engine helps their users collect and analyse data on why their customers don’t complete the online buying process. Tom joined Seedcamp for the twice-yearly US Trip, meeting investors and tech companies across the USA.
We recently finished Seedcamp’s US Trip. It truly was a whirlwind two weeks, and one that we enjoyed and learnt a huge amount from. I could write a list of 100 things, but here are three…
We were told by Seedcamp and others that US Venture Capitalists are most interested in large, far-reaching problems and that can be solved by startups. BIG problems, with a huge potential market. They were not exaggerating.
It speaks volumes that in our time meeting investors and VCs in the UK, so rarely did anyone mention the word Unicorn (billion dollar start ups). Given the amount of capital available in the US, it is unsurprising that many VCs almost solely look for the next Unicorns (if you want a good explaining of why, this TechCrunch article is great).
Even if they aren’t exclusively looking for billion-dollar start ups, almost all of the VCs we met wanted to think about how your idea could be worth at least $500 million. Anything less simply isn’t interesting for them.
Smaller ideas and products aren’t necessarily uninteresting (objectively speaking) – it’s just that startups will find it tough to receive US investment if their aim is to be build a $30 million-dollar business.
That doesn’t mean that you have to completely rethink your startup if your initial offering framed it as a smaller, profitable business; it may just be a case of extrapolating from your initial product, taking a step back and thinking about the broader issue that you are trying to address.
For us at Formisimo, that shifted our pitch away from ‘just’ making forms and checkouts better, to a broader vision about removing friction at the point that a user has to provide personal information at that point of a customer journey. When we thought of it that way, our potential future products and scope were much larger, and that was reflected in the interest of the VCs we met.
There are a number of reasons why a VC might pass on your startup; it might be outside the markets that they focus on, the maturity of the company might be wrong, or any other number of reasons.
However, a surefire way of giving yourself the best possible chance of investment is to listen carefully to the feedback in these meetings. If similar points and potential pitfalls keep coming up, you can address these in your pitch before they come about.
This does two things:
We used six different versions of our deck throughout the two-week Seedcamp trip, constantly tweaking the content and our pitch. At the end of it, I would be confident in saying it is the best it’s ever been.
Obviously, the Seedcamp trip is a whirlwind of meeting some of the East- and West coast’s biggest and best VCs. On our own, it would be impossible to arrange a trip to the US and meet so many.
However, as with the Seedcamp week, we learnt a huge amount of practical tips from the other startups on the trip. This is an incredibly valuable experience, and one that reminds you that many, many others have the same conversations that you and your co-founders do.
From how to deal with the nightmare of VAT if you are using Stripe to sell internationally (thanks Satago), sales strategy and qualifying leads (thanks Minubo) to different approaches to prioritising product development (thanks everyone!), we took a lot of actionable, practical tips with us from this trip.
The organised chaos of building a company is one that all the teams are going through – many of them for the first time. Many of the choices and challenges are the same, and it is incredibly valuable to be able to speak to your peers openly and honestly.
Our residual feelings of the trip were overwhelmingly positive. Ricardo from Seedcamp did a pretty incredible job of organising the trip and Carlos and Reshma have opened doors that we couldn’t have dreamed of opening on our own at this stage of our business. We’re still digesting some of it, but if and when it comes to raising money from the States, we’ll be in a much stronger position than we were before.
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