We’re at the midway point of Seedcamp Week 2009 and this is the cool part for us as we really start to see the light-bulbs going off within the teams…which is awesome, ‘cause that’s what we’re all about!
Day 3 saw the teams get practical advice from the Technical Panel Discussion on ‘Scaling Through Ups and Downs’. Returning to moderate this year (because he rocks) was Matt Biddulph of Dopplr who managed to draw out the essentials from James Aylett of Kittens with Jetpacks, Vijay Pandurangan of Google, Blaine Cook of BT Open Source (formerly at Twitter). The focus was around scaling your product, marrying technology with product and the user and not just scaling or developing in isolation. Also, a lot of the discussion centred around the importance of getting the holy trinity of right people in biz/tech/product in your founding team. The quality and constitution of the team was crucial.
Top takeaways are:
“Hire people that are smarter than you”
“If I had started Doppler a year later, I would have looked into Amazon Cloud hosting”
“Build great products and forget about scaling. If clients love your system, they’ll forgive it for being flakey”
The morning continued with mentoring sessions that got so heated the fire alarm went off – erm, literally! The best of the best teams didn’t loose a moment and continued to show their products and to extract and absorb as much from the mentors as possible while hanging out in the alley waiting for the nice Firemen to let us back in the building.
The afternoon scorched on with David McClure and Sean Ellis holding the speediest of Masterclasses on “Startup Metrics” and “Startup Marketing”, which continued in the vein of Hjalmar Windblah’s Masterclass of telling it like it is. It’s all about the product/market fit and actually doing something with what you measure.
We could quote these guys all day long, but you should really check out their presentations below:
The teams’ eyes lit up when we followed on with an Investor panel that had a fiery discussion on the Ins and Outs of Angel and VC funding. Our own Reshma Sohoni moderated the discussion with Fred Destin of Atlas Venture, Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures, Charles Grimsdale of Eden Ventures, Ben Holmes from Index and Torleif Ahlsand from Northzone Ventures. Touching on points like when is the best time to bring in capital to your startup, to what investors look for in a product, in a team, and even the crucial term sheets, teams definitely had much food for thought.
Key quotes are:
“Buy the smallest amount of runway early on”
“Angels hunt in packs”
“You need to think about the quality of the VC that is interested in your company – be strategic about your VC partnership”
The teams are now working hard on their presentations, implementing the 3 days of priceless knowledge and feedback they gained over the last three days.
Tomorrow is the moment of truth when the teams get a chance to pitch in front of the Seedcamp Investors…and we are waiting with baited breath!
Good luck to all the teams!