As my first Seedcamp event, I wasn’t completely certain of what to expect at Mini Seedcamp-Berlin 2008. I’d heard personal effusive approval of previous events, and the coverage I’d read was uniformly positive, but could Friday the 20th of June live up to the impossibly glowing reputation of the past? Well… yes.
Berlin was, much like the Kiev and Paris events, a microcosm of our full-fledged Seedcamp Week: company presentations, a panel discussion, small-group mentoring sessions, and the election of a winner all bottled up into a single day. Unlike our main event, however, there was no goal of immediate financing propelling the competition – instead the emphasis was on sharing ideas with peers and taking full advantage of the unique access to battle-hardened and sagacious mentors.
With just over 20 teams presenting their ideas, the early morning was replete with potential to outlive the audience’s attention span, but the high energy of the participants (not to mention some effective timekeeping by Saul) kept the pace and information flow brisk. The second half of the morning consisted of a panel discussion featuring:
- Lukasz Gadowski, founder of Spreadshirt
- Oliver Beste of Founders Link
- Eran Davidson of Hasso Plattner Ventures
- Prof. Sven Ripsas, from our hosts, FHW
- Max Niederhofer of Atlas Venture
Following the panel discussion and a pleasantly light catered lunch (my stomach was thankful after the previous night’s meal of delicious but hearty Käsespätzle, enough of an arterial logjam before they heaped on the bacon) start-up teams and mentors broke out into small groups for two hours of rotating consultation – consistently the most valuable part of the day for both parties. We organizers had to fight the urge to intrude just to soak up all the valuable knowledge.
Just before I had to grab my taxi to the airport we tallied the votes, revealing <tickerTXT> – a grassroots mobile exchange system – to be the winners. Congratulations to them and all our Seedcamp Berlin participants. We know this is only the start of our repeated presence in one of Europe’s strongest entrepreneurial epicenters, and we hope to see even more great ideas next year.