You may have realised that we’re currently on a huge tour of the US with the Seedcamp companies. Besides sharing our daily insights, checkins, and quotes on our new Tumblr, we wanted to give you an update of what we’re up to – and say thanks to all who have hosted us and helped us make the trip so special thus far.
New York – hitting the ground running
We started our tour in New York – and it is incredible to be reminded that this was just a week ago. After settling in on Saturday, we started off with a bit of sightseeing and meeting friends on Sunday. In the afternoon, Neil at Hubitat was extremely kind to lend us space in their new office building while everybody was getting set up – with pitch training, general introductions, and of course a nice dinner (real American barbecue).
Monday – Seedcampers and crafts
Monday brought us the first onslaught of impressions of the local startup scene. The kind folks at General Assembly invited us to their cool coworking/education space. We invited two of our own, ERPLY’s Kris Hiiemaa and Zemanta’s Bostjan Spetic to share insights and best practices from their move and setup in NYC. Michael Geer, who was one of the early team members of Badoo shared his insights on gaining the first million users for any web service; a session with lots of very practical takeaways.
The afternoon was spent at Etsy’s inspirational labs space, where Marc Hedlund, VP of Engineering, told us about the Etsy culture, the New York tech scene, and shared a few insights from his vast startup experience. The obligatory office tour contained more OMGs and HAVEYOUSEENTHISs than anything so far. It’s really a beautiful place that oozes of creativity. Afterwards, we went straight to Times Square, where Jon and Murat of the ER Accelerator welcomed us, and the Seedcampers spent some time mingling with their teams.
Tuesday – NY superstars and mentoring
Tuesday was another packed day – an early breakfast with Meghan at 10gen, makers of MongoDB, taught us about working with the open source community and how to build a business around it. Jeff, Michael, and David from the Stackexchange team told us about their history and business, with an impressive view from their offices on the 25th floor.
The afternoon was packed with mentoring sessions at Google, with 80 of the best New York entrepreneurs, investors, and product folks to learn about the Seedcamp startups, and give them advice on their businesses. Set up like a Seedcamp day, these sessions included lots of exchange and discussions, and everyone left feeling stimulated, especially after the closing drinks.
Wednesday – friends in the city
Our last day in New York wasn’t any less busy. A great session at Tumblr, where Katherine Barna told us about the overall history and impressive stats (tumblr is now the 15th largest site in the US), and gave us a view of the engineering culture and the individual content teams. Our friends at Union Square Ventures invited us for lunch (thanks Andy and Gary!) to hear the Seedcampers pitch, and of course to give them feedback and share knowledge about trends that are emerging in the local tech scene. Afterwards, we met one of the oldest New York internet businesses: AOL and their Biz Dev groups, who clued the teams into the inside workings of one of New York’s giants.
Wednesday evening was a great ending for our stint in the Big Apple. Seedcamp week MC Evan Nisselson helped put together a great party at Dogpatch labs, a cool coworking space run by Polaris Ventures. Microsoft and Goodwin Procter were the kind sponsors, and we were warmly welcomed by a great crowd of entrepreneurs, investors, and folks we had met over the previous days – including of course the DogPatch and 500 startup crews in New York City.
Boston – Academia and amazing people
We flew to Boston on Thursday, and the day was mostly consumed by mentoring sessions in the same fashion as New York. We were lucky to have some of the most successful Bostonian investors and Entrepreneurs joining us. Due to a somewhat smaller group, the atmosphere was more focused, but buzzing nonetheless. The intensity of these sessions was noted by the teams – thanks to all Boston mentors for their hard work and input.
Being hosted at Microsoft’s NERD center (thanks, Abby and Walter!), we had the chance to stay a little longer and host an intimate fireside chat with Brightcove’s CTO Bob Mason, who was part of the Brightcove IPO just one week earlier. After this inspiring story, the teams headed out to the local Venture Cafe event, and some stayed on for the Lean Startup Circle meetup, where Seedcampers Blossom.io had the chance to pitch their Lean project management tool to the entire Boston audience!
Friday started off with an incredibly warm welcome at Highland Capital. We certainly felt at home and the teams had a great time discussing their companies and markets with the team. Afterwards, we headed to Geek heaven: the MIT Media Lab. Our 2 hour tour included music playing robots, printed cuckoo clocks, the Lego lab, and many more technical and visionary insights delivered by Joost Bonsen, our friendly host. Ryan at the Changing Places Lab gave us some insights on future mobility before we headed off for a lunch hosted by the British Consulate General. We met some local entrepreneurs from around the city, and heard about UberVu, a Seedcamp company of 2008, from their CEO Mark who is now based in Boston. He shared his views about running a team across multiple time zones, and shed some light on the similarities of Boston with European thinking. Later, we toured the Cambridge Innovation Center – an office building in Kendall Square that is home to an incredible 450 startups and spent the evening at the loft at Bocoup, a design agency focused on open web technologies. A nice evening chat over dinner with entrepreneurs from Boston and Bocoup Founder Boaz Sender was a great way to finish off a buzzing first week of the Seedcamp tour.
The media so far
Follow our Tumblr if you want to see what we are up to next – We have now arrived in San Francisco and are looking forward to see how the West Coast differs. The weather already gave us a warm Californian welcome!