What an incredible week.
Seedcamp set out in 2007 to help build a cohesive network which promising entrepreneurs could leverage and tap into to build great businesses that as Fred Wilson said yesterday, adopt the Silicon Valley mindset and “go for it”.
This year, we’ve hosted 22 stellar teams in the time zone between London and Amman. They’ve been mentored by 350 world-class advisors. The quality of teams just keeps improving and as the Seedcamp network grows, the capacity to build great companies keeps improving.
So, without further ado – we’re thrilled to announce this years Seedcamp Week 2009 winners (in alphabetical order):
• Boxed Ice (Birmingham, UK – Server monitoring for all website owners.
• Brainient (Bucharest, Romania) – Helping video publishers monetize on the increasingly growing video content.
• Codility (Warsaw, Poland) – First line of testing of programmers, saving employers a time and money.
• Erply (Tallinn, Estonia) – ERP on the web. Comprehensive CRM, accounting, billing and inventory management for SMEs.
• Patients Know Best (Cambridge, UK) – Revolutionizing how patients ineract with doctors as a start to better provided care.
• Talasim.com (Amman, Jordan) – The Comedy Channel of the Middle East, providing a space for self-expression and sharing humour.
These teams will all receive a €50k investment from Seedcamp and active support over the next 3 months to help develop these companies into world-beaters.
All 22 teams demonstrated outstanding performance and growth throughout the week. They listened to the wisdom of serial entrepreneurs like Hjalmar Winbladh and Brent Hoberman about the rollercoaster of startups, learned about pivoting and continuous deployment from Eric Reis, product/market fit from Sean Ellis, how to swear (and something about metrics!) from Dave McClure and to fail fast, think big and build great businesses from Fred Wilson. On the way they had practical advice from the great successes of the tech world like Google, Yahoo, last.fm, Twitter, Microsoft, eBay and Skype.
What impressed us the most was how the teams processed this torrent of feedback and evolved not just their pitch but their business and thinking between Monday’s and Thursday’s presentations. Shortening the loop between listening and learning is so critical to sustainable startup success and every team showed they had this in spades.
Seedcamp is not a one-week event and most of the teams in London this week were folks we’d met at one of the 7 Mini Seedcamp’s we ran this year. Building this localized network is core to our vision and we want to take this chance to call out Kwaga (Paris, France) and Platago (Vienna, Austria), both of whom Seedcamp has invested in this year from our Mini Seedcamps in Paris and Berlin.
We’ve always believed the start-up world doesn’t revolve around one location but we love the Valley. Last year, we went out West with the Seedcamp alumni and this cycle we’ll be going on the road again, this time taking in New York as well as San Francisco. Immersing yourself in the US market is something we always advise to startups – learn, make contacts and then go back home and code ☺
So joining us on this year’s Seedcamp on the Road, we are also inviting these talented tourists:
• Advertag (London, UK) – Advertag extracts data and creates tag cloud based on the advert.
• Fabricly (London, UK) – A web-based solution for fashion labels to manage their supply chain.
• Pearl Systems (Bristol, UK) – A web-based solution for SMEs to customize billing, CRM, accounting, business improvement software.
• Joobili (Budapest, Hungary) – A travel website offering inspiration specific to your dates and interests. You say when, Joobili says where.
• VouChaCha (London, UK) – A location based mobile discounts for consumers. A usable platform for brands to engage with their customers.
Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s Seedcamp Week including all the amazing mentors, Seedcamp investors, Tim Barnes from UCL for being an awesome host and our numerous Seedcamp supporters – without whom, we could not function.
Thanks again to the teams for converging on London for the week where we hope your experience was life changing and you continue to grow, network and emerge as successful entrepreneurs.
Please keep in touch and come see us at one of our Mini Seedcamps over the next 12 months and check out our video blog for day 5 highlights.
Well, we can’t say much about yesterday as it was a closed session for the teams to re-pitch to the Seedcamp judges for funding. But what we can say is WOW!…it was tough! Check out our daily video blog to get a feel for the Seedcamp buzz on day 4.
Besides the pitching and judging, we had the pleasure of having Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures in the US give an awesome masterclass on “Going for It”.
Stay tuned when we announce the lucky winners shortly….
Seedcamp Week 2009 Day 4 Highlights from Seedcamp on Vimeo.
Well, we can’t say much about today as it was a closed session for the teams to re-pitch to the Seedcamp judges for funding. But what we can say is WOW!…it’s gonna be tough! Check out our daily video blog to get a feel for the Seedcamp buzz today.
Besides the pitching and judging, we had the pleasure of having Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures in the US give an awesome masterclass on “Going for It”. Fred wrote a great post that really sums up Seedcamp, so check it out.
Stay tuned tomorrow when we announce the lucky winners…hmm, don’t even think a few cocktails at the TechCrunch party will help us sleep tonight!
Until tomorrow everyone….
Seedcamp Week 2009 Day 4 Highlights from Seedcamp on Vimeo.
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”
Check out our daily video blog here and previous ones here:
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!
Day 2 of Seedcamp Week was all about Product and Marketing. We kicked off the day with a panel discussion on Product, featuring a few friends from Silicon Valley. Moderated by Dave McClure of 500 Hats and “Geeks on a Plane’ fame, he poked and prodded the best out of the likes of Eric Ries, from TheLeanStartup.com, Ian Dodsworth of Tweetdeck, Ali Mitchell from Huddle and Matt Ogle of Last.fm.
A recurring theme from yesterdays panel emerged around validating your product and the importance of customer feedback.
A few juicy bits from those who know the game when it comes to Product are:
– “..what is the one thing (about your product) that will make you grow as a business”
– “there can’t be any product development without customer development”
– “Act on their (customer’s) behalf – not their request”
– “you haven’t completed an iteration until you learn something about your product”
– “Know, not guess, if the features you’re building are making a difference – using split testing is essential”
– “people don’t mind bait & switch IF the switch is better than the bait”
– “get customer feedback integrated into your release process so it’s a NATURAL process”
– “I don’t think your capital structure should drive your startup strategy”
– “all startup advice is contextual…”
After an intense discussion, teams immersed themselves in morning mentoring sessions, where no doubt the above was front of mind.
Post lunch saw us back in the main lecture theatre and being enlightened by a Masterclass from Eric Ries on The Lean Startup. Both teams and mentors were treated to his insightful trilogy of ‘Shadow Beliefs” and how these can hamper any startup from the outset. Slides from the same talk he gave at The Web 2.0 expo are embedded below.
Here’s some meat from Eric’s tough-talking Masterclass:
*Shadow Belief #1*: “We know what customers want.”
*Shadow Belief #2*: “We can accurately predict the future.”
*Shadow Belief #3*: “Advancing the Plan = Progress.”
– “The biggest source of waste in startups is building products nobody wants.”
As if that wasn’t enough food for thought, we went right into our Marketing panel on ‘Growing Users and Turning Users into Customers’ lead by our own Saul Klein. We were very lucky to have with us Thomas Gensemer, whose agency ran the Online campaign for the Barak Obama campaign, Lisa Rodwell from Moo, Andrew Hunter from Qype, Sean Ellis (advisor to Xobni and Dropbox) and Anders Hallin of Stardoll (exSkype). A well-rounded discussion was had from positioning and pricing to partnerships and SEO and the importance of email marketing and cohort analysis.
Key takeaways were:
– “email was the backbone of the Obama campaign”
– “If you’re treating everyone (customers) as equal, you’re not spending you’re marketing money wisely”
– “Critical component in marketing is pricing”
– “it’s important to develop SEO in-house and educate (employees)”
– “..wait for the right partner…the one that is the most enthusiastic, not just the big ones”
– “Partnerships can be a big distraction for a start-up”
– “…implement best practice with SEO…don’t look backwards”
The general view from the teams is that today has been one of the most valuable days so far on their Seedcamp journey. They’re taking it in and processing all the data! We look forward to the output on Thursday’s final pitches.
Bring on day 3 where we get to dig into technology issues in the morning with a Panel on ‘Scaling Through Ups and Downs’ and get thrown in front of some of the heavy hitting European investors who will talk about the ‘Ins and Outs’ of raising funding.
We’d like to say Happy Birthday to Moo who is 3 today and throwing a party tonight where no doubt many Seedcampers will be present. And a big thanks to Atlas Venture who once again treated Seedcamp to a swanky opening party in London last night…hopefully we’ll all make it back in tomorrow!
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)
– “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!
It’s hard to believe that we are about to kick off our third Seedcamp Week event. It has been a whirlwind over the past three years as we try to create a platform that helps first time entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in Europe. That’s obviously a lofty goal, and our approach has definitely been refined and adjusted as we learn more about what is most helpful. We are now focused on offering a complete program, not just a week-long event, which includes ongoing mentoring from our amazing network, events all over the world, flexible investing structures, and access to the companies and people who happen to know a thing or two about building businesses.
Here are a few quick points that help put the last three years into perspective:
• We have reviewed more than 1,500 applications
• We’ve seen teams from 53 different countries
• We have connected entrepreneurs with more than 500 mentors
• We’ve held more than 1,620 mentoring sessions
• We’ve had Mini Seedcamp events in 10 countries
• We’ve mentored more than 280 companies
• And we invested in 14 Seedcamp winners
We now look ahead to Seedcamp Week 2009 and are happy to announce that the following teams have been chosen as finalists. Across the board, we were impressed with the overall quality of submissions this year, which continues to increase, and were happy to see so many entrepreneurs thinking about the practical aspects of making money, in addition to developing game-changing ideas. At the shortlist stage, we were extremely impressed by the quality of the teams and in many cases they had the killer combination of team and product. We saw everything from marketplaces, healthcare IT, middleware, gaming analysis, and some serious AI based solutions.
Seedcamp’s regional scope also continues to grow strength to strength with five finalist hailing from CEE (Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Estonia), two from the Middle East (Jordan, Israel), teams from Austria, Germany, Belgium, France and from all across the UK including Scotland, North England, West Country, Midlands and Cambridge.
Seedcamp Week Teams:
• Advertag – London, UK
• Boxed Ice – Bromsgrove, UK
• Brainient – Bucharest, Romania
• Codility – Warsaw, Poland
• Comufy – London, UK
• Erply – Estonia
• Joobili – Budapest, Hungary
• Kukunu – London, UK
• Loc8 Solutions – Edinburgh, UK
• Patients Know Best – Cambridge, UK
• Petsicon – Berlin, Germany
• Plug in SEO – London, UK
• ShoutEm – Zagreb, Croatia
• T27 Systems (Pearl Systems) – Bristol, UK
• Talasim.com – Amman, Jordan
• Teachable – London, UK
• Vooices – Wigan, UK
• VouChaCha – London, UK
• Wondergraphs – Leuven, Belgium
• World on a Hanger – London, UK
• YubiTech – Ramat Gan, Israel
Along with the 21 finalists, we’re very happy to have Kwaga from France and Platogo from Austria joining us at this year’s Seedcamp. These teams are winners from our Mini Seedcamp program earlier in the year and will benefit from the intensive week long mentoring and networking with the rest of the teams.
Thanks again to the hundreds of companies that submitted their ideas for Seedcamp this year. We really appreciate the time you spent thinking through your new ventures, and hope that you continue on your entrepreneurial pursuits! If you missed this opportunity to apply to Seedcamp, we are starting again with Mini Seedcamps in January 2010. And the best of luck to the Final 21 teams!
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