Mini Seedcamp Prague at the University of Economics Prague was a frantic rush of startup activity. Finalist teams got to meet with entrepreneurs, investors and other mentors from the region and all over Europe, including Ondrej Bartos (Credos Ventures), Marius Ghenea (FitDistribution), Tony Kypreos (UK TI), Dave Watson (Bulldogmi), and Alan Chelko (Cisco).
But who were the winners? We were really impressed with the quality of all the teams at Mini Seedcamp Prague, but the five winners selected by popular vote were FX Bees, Middlemachine, Nelso, Peryskop, and Trustyard. Thanks to all teams and mentors for taking part.
The panel discussion focused on funding European startups. Alex van Someren (Serial Entrepreneur, UKTI) moderated the panel consisting of Allan Martinson (MTVP), Andy Chung (Eden Ventures), Tom Newbold (HT Venture Partners), Pawel Chudzinski (Team Europe Ventures).
Thanks to our hosts Ondrej Bartos and Nikola Rafaj, and also our Mini Seedcamp Prague sponsors The Tuesday Business Network, Havel and Holasek, VSE, Sun Startup Essentials, UKTI, Elephant Orchestra, and Credo Ventures.
The discussion revealed several snippets of wisdom from the experienced investor panel. Here are my notes featuring some of the best insightful comments from the panel.
How do you get funding? Tom – The five Ps of an investment are: People, passion, problem (clearly articulated), payment (who and how), potential, and prove it. Pawel – Convince the investors that you have the passion and the ambition to be successful. Being needy is a massive turn off. Andy – Need to be going after a large opportunity to entice a VC. The economics of the fund means they need to invest in companies which will become billion dollar companies.
How regional are VCs investments? Andy – Will invest all over, would rather they moved to UK so they can help them grow. Tom – Your network tends to dictate that you find the more exciting companies near your base.
What is different about the investment environment NOW which entrepreneurs need to know? Alan – VCs need to produce exits. Sadly we are at a 10 year low on raising venture funds and getting exits, this dramatically decreases the amount of investment. So there is less money, but more interesting potential investments. Tom – The bar has been raised for investment quality, increasing pressure as it isn’t clear that the company will be able to do another round. Pawel – The EU is plowing money into the wrong companies disrupting the market.
What are the things entrepreneurs should not do in a pitch? Tom – Don’t say you have no competition – because then you are saying you have no market! Alan – Understand how a VC works, associates lead to the decision making partner, so produce a short deck/document which is suitable for a partners meeting. Pawel – VC money does not equal revenue! Never say that a strategic decision depends on the preference of the investor. Andy – Always highlight the problem you are solving. Check portfolio companies as you can’t apply to a fund where you will be in competition! Don’t put in exit or revenue analysis, the fund will work that out.
What good resources are out there for startups looking for investment advice? The Startup Bible AVC, Fred Destin, your network Your network – others who have been through the fundraising process Venture hacks The funded.com Seedcamp startup tools