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California – Meeting the Big 5 and the great mentors in the West

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After a week of meeting 100+ folks in NYC, Boston, and the slopes of Tahoe, we descended into Cali with high hopes for the weather and all the mentors we’d be meeting. Monday morning we kicked off the day with a meeting at Facebook. After seeing the different office cultures at Sermo and ETSY, Facebook reminded us very much of the same level of pin drop silence and intensity we saw at Foursquare.  The teams presented to the product manager, dev marketing, and corp dev teams at FB. There was a lot of discussion around how the companies are using FB platform, credits, social graph and other FB assets and we got a lot of insight into some of the things in the FB pipeline. We are thrilled to get this kind of access to FB and also excited that they’ve put together a Seedcamp group on FB where their team will help our guys with any queries and help they need with the FB platform. 

On Day 2, we went into our mentoring half-day with some of the best VCs, Angel investors, founders, product experts in the Valley. We got some great feedback about the companies and they got invaluable tips on building the business and invitations to come pitch over the course of the week remaining. Google‘s office proved all the more interesting for the sightseeing tour we got and then we spent about 5 hours at Google meeting their Chrome, Chrome OS, Android and several other teams.  We are again grateful for this access and really getting into working together. The evening ended with the Google “Life in a Day” movie.  How lucky do we feel to be part of the privileged few to have seen the movie!

Quite drained by 10+ days of travels, pitches, and meetings… Wednesday was all about visiting with some of the greatest and newest Internet big guys. The teams spent the early part of the day meeting some of the Bizspark and Product teams from MSFT in their Mountain View office. We then went to LinkedIn and got to learn the story behind the story of a company that just filed its S-1 and so has great expectations in store. We got a great presentation from the Corp Dev team about the recent rapid growth of the business, the different business lines, and the extent to which LinkedIn is growing as a platform. After, we headed off to SF in a hurry to meet the Twitter guys. It’s insanely busy there but once again we got to see a completely different culture and get a bit deeper inside a business that we are all so addicted to.  Wednesday, our friends at BlackBox hosted a BBQ where we met a lot of their friends and ours to toast an already exciting week. Thursday morning we went around Sand Hill Road and got to know Sequoia a little bit more. Their wall of honor simply says it all. It’s inspiring to pitch to early investors in Apple, Google, Cisco, EA just to name a few of the frames behind our seats. The rest of the day was spent in mentoring in the City. We were a bit worried that most folks would already be off to SXSW but we were absolutely on a high as the presentations began and we had an audience of 40 high energy mentors in front of us. The sessions were buzzing and we are really grateful to i/o Ventures for hosting us in their cool space. The night ended with a guest blog post reading and a big toast to our 2 weeks coast-to-coast. Friday we caught a very early flight to Seattle and had a really interesting session at MSFT with their M&A lead understanding the model behind acquisition assessment. A really valuable lesson for any startup to understand and appreciate. We met several of the program managers and got to go kid crazy in the Company Store. Amazon was next and they had a fantastic line-up again of their product and Corp Dev teams. Our teams got to meet with the key relevant folks for their individual businesses. Friday night the teams finally got to relax and take it all in what the 2 weeks brought to them.

All in all an we want to thank everyone who hosted us, participated as mentors, and met up with us and our teams. After an incredibly fast-paced 2 weeks in the US ensures Seedamp and our companies are energized by the momentum and looking to share the learnings and takeaways with the European startup ecosystem. Grab a team you know and ask them for their take!

Moreover, we have gathered the best photos from the tour on our Flickr stream. Don’t miss!

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