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Seedcamp Week 2009 Day 1 Highlights

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Seedcamp Week started today with some stellar pitches from the 22 teams. Year to year the quality of the teams that come through Seedcamp goes from strength to strength, with this year’s teams showing unprecedented quality and confidence. Pitches were mature, on point, clear and entertaining to boot!

With our first day themed around Founders, today’s panel discussion focussed on the first 100 days of a start-up. With our own Saul Klein moderating, words of wisdom were imparted by some very prestigious entrepreneurs including Brent Hoberman (Lastminute.com and mydeco), Errol Damelin (Wonga), Ian Hogarth (Songkick), Turi Munthe (Demotix) and Lukasz Gadowski (Spreadshirt and Studio VZ).

A few recurring key points, takeaways and quotes of note are:

– “Validation is key…before attempting to gain capital investment” (Errol Damelin)
– Focus – ask yourself the hard questions
– “Self- imposed deadlines can drive people towards specific goals “Turi Munthe)
– “The best deadlines are not the one’s top-down but the ones decided on that excites a whole team” (Ian Hogarth)
– “Having little investment taught us how to be lean” (Turi Munthe)
– “Sometimes not having money is an excuse not to get things done” (Lukasz Gadowski)
– “Put your self into the minds of your customers – would you trust yourself?” (Brent Hoberman)
– Sometimes “it’s about deciding what not to do” (Errol Damelin)

On Hiring:

– “Choose a team of passionate people in the same mindset and let them work on challenging things” (Brent Hoberman)
– “Good is not good enough – take only the best (people)” (Lukasz Gadowski)

After an amazing Thai-fusion lunch catered by Deliverence, twitter was awash with quotes from our afternoon Masterclass on ‘Navigating the Startup Rollercoaster’ with Hjalmar Windblah of Rebtel. Hjalmar shared he’s experiences from Sendit and Microsoft to ditching it all in to sail the world for 3 years with his family and on to his latest creation – Rebtel. This was one of the most insightful and heartfelt Masterclass given at Seedcamp Week, with direct kudos coming from Dave McClure (especially for the plethora expletives peppered throughout his talk).

Some juicy Hjalmar quotes:

“Entrepreneurship is a life-long journey”
“Be an honest, transparent and valuable startup”
“I’ve been closer more times to bankruptcy than to selling for lots of money”
“You need passion and vision, but you need to be able to execute”
“If I believe in it, I need to prove that it works”
“Creating a company is at least for 10 years, and you’ll make lots of mistakes”

For the teams it was an intense morning of presenting ideas and companies that for some have been deep underground. They are busy incorporating the tons of feedback they received today from some of the best Founders in Europe and prepping for the week ahead.

Check out our front page or vimeo for daily video posts to see highlights of the day and we look forward to a day of Product and Marketing tomorrow!

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