We are more than fortunate to have added a new member to our team – Kirsten Campbell has joined us as a General Manager a few weeks ago and we are happy to introduce her to the community. She will handle a lot of our work with the community and she will be another point of contact for many of the new teams and mentors. Please welcome her to Seedcamp!
As Seedcamp is rapidly growing in terms of funds, investments, and events taking place across the globe, it was necessary to expand the team and recruit a General Manager. I was fortunate enough to secure the role and look forward to playing a part in Seedcamp’s growth and expansion to new locations throughout 2011 and beyond.
For the past three and a half years I’ve worked for E-Synergy, a UK based venture capital firm, managing their Investment Readiness contracts such as g2i in London and NISPO in Belfast. Working on these projects gave me the opportunity to meet and support some of the UK’s most talented and dynamic entrepreneurs, and it exposed me to a range of new, innovative and disruptive business models.
Two weeks in to life at Seedcamp and I’m already amazed by how dynamic the Company is. I find it truly incredible what the Seedcamp team have achieved in such a short space of time. I look forward to working with all within the Seedcamp ecosystem in what is guaranteed to be an extremely exciting year ahead for the Company. We have already announced a deeper partnership with Facebook and there are many more exciting initiatives to come. If you have any ideas or comments you’d like to share with me then please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Best wishes, Kirsten
One of the big value adds of Seedcamp is the relationships with Corporate mentors that begin during the Mini Seedcamp events, continue over Seedcamp Week, and progress through the 3 months of mentorship support, which includes the 2-week US roadshow that just culminated. Since our recent visit in the Valley in March to the Facebook office, we have been working closely to find ways to let the Seedcamp companies have more and easier access to the Facebook platform. Until now, this support came mainly through mentoring at the Seedcamp events all over Europe, email contacts, and through our direct visits at Facebook HQ.
We are thrilled to announce a deeper and stronger new partnership with Facebook that will help many of our companies to move forward a lot faster: Seedcamp startups will receive product, technical, and design support as well as early access to beta products and programs on Facebook Platform. Since many of our portfolio companies use parts of Facebook’s offerings in their setup, talking to the folks working on these products directly will be a massive help. In addition, an early look at what is coming up will enable Seedcamp companies to be ahead of the market and to play with cool new features first.
Finally, our startups will also receive additional support as Facebook becomes a Platinum Seedcamp Founder Sponsor. The partnership with Facebook sets a great example for how we want to work with more of our US and European corporate mentors.
Facebook is clearly becoming ever more important to startups, be it in the way services are distributed, members are found, or information is shared. We are looking forward to see how our companies are integrating Facebook into their services, and how they can make the best of this partnership!
We are coming back to Germany, Berlin to be precise, on 14th of April. There is a lot of buzz around the Berlin start-up scene with many of it’s start-ups emerging as big players in the online space (SoundCloud, GameDuell, Wooga, etc.). Consequently, we are seeing a great flow of high quality applications to participate in a day full of mentoring, feedback, and networking.
As those of you who follow us more closely know, we always strive to bring in the best of the best in the internet start-up arena to mentor and advise the 20 participants of the day.
This time in particular, the interest from the mentoring community has been amazing and the names below are just a small glimpse of what is awaiting the teams:
Still not sure whether Seedcamp is the right move for your start-up?
Achievements of our recent “winners” (not to mention our super successful Seedcamp 2010 batch) have been amazing and for many of them, their recent Seedcamp experience is proving very valuable:
On Day 2, we went into our mentoring half-day with some of the best VCs, Angel investors, founders, product experts in the Valley. We got some great feedback about the companies and they got invaluable tips on building the business and invitations to come pitch over the course of the week remaining. Google‘s office proved all the more interesting for the sightseeing tour we got and then we spent about 5 hours at Google meeting their Chrome, Chrome OS, Android and several other teams. We are again grateful for this access and really getting into working together. The evening ended with the Google “Life in a Day” movie. How lucky do we feel to be part of the privileged few to have seen the movie!
Quite drained by 10+ days of travels, pitches, and meetings… Wednesday was all about visiting with some of the greatest and newest Internet big guys. The teams spent the early part of the day meeting some of the Bizspark and Product teams from MSFT in their Mountain View office. We then went to LinkedIn and got to learn the story behind the story of a company that just filed its S-1 and so has great expectations in store. We got a great presentation from the Corp Dev team about the recent rapid growth of the business, the different business lines, and the extent to which LinkedIn is growing as a platform. After, we headed off to SF in a hurry to meet the Twitter guys. It’s insanely busy there but once again we got to see a completely different culture and get a bit deeper inside a business that we are all so addicted to. Wednesday, our friends at BlackBox hosted a BBQ where we met a lot of their friends and ours to toast an already exciting week. Thursday morning we went around Sand Hill Road and got to know Sequoia a little bit more. Their wall of honor simply says it all. It’s inspiring to pitch to early investors in Apple, Google, Cisco, EA just to name a few of the frames behind our seats. The rest of the day was spent in mentoring in the City. We were a bit worried that most folks would already be off to SXSW but we were absolutely on a high as the presentations began and we had an audience of 40 high energy mentors in front of us. The sessions were buzzing and we are really grateful to i/o Ventures for hosting us in their cool space. The night ended with a guest blog post reading and a big toast to our 2 weeks coast-to-coast. Friday we caught a very early flight to Seattle and had a really interesting session at MSFT with their M&A lead understanding the model behind acquisition assessment. A really valuable lesson for any startup to understand and appreciate. We met several of the program managers and got to go kid crazy in the Company Store. Amazon was next and they had a fantastic line-up again of their product and Corp Dev teams. Our teams got to meet with the key relevant folks for their individual businesses. Friday night the teams finally got to relax and take it all in what the 2 weeks brought to them.
All in all an we want to thank everyone who hosted us, participated as mentors, and met up with us and our teams. After an incredibly fast-paced 2 weeks in the US ensures Seedamp and our companies are energized by the momentum and looking to share the learnings and takeaways with the European startup ecosystem. Grab a team you know and ask them for their take!
Moreover, we have gathered the best photos from the tour on our Flickr stream. Don’t miss!
As Seedcamp’s trip to NYC came to a close, we headed off to the mother land (no kidding…the birthplace) of VC investing in the East Coast, Boston. Boston is the second largest area for VC funding after the Valley. With a rich history of investments, there is no shortage of top tier companies and investors whose offices reside within the bounds of the now famous Route 128. It is therefore fitting that one of Seedcamp’s first stops was to Atlas-backed, Sermo, situated in one of the emerging tech hubs in Boston near the Kendall Square area. Funny too is the fact that all the VCs moved to Route 128 10 years ago to be around startups and now with the urban renewal going around across NYC, SF, London, Berlin and of course Boston – they are now all relocating to Boston, the city.
Sermo, the largest online physician community in the US, is one of those companies where you automatically get a vibe that something meaningful is being developed as soon as you step in their offices. Daniel Palestrant, Sermo’s CEO, led a great discussion around the vision that CEOs need to develop and foster within their companies. Probably one of the best people managers we’ve ever seen, we were equally impressed by how he put himself on the line for feedback from his team publicly in front of us.
Following our discussion with Sermo, we were invited to visit Atlas’ iconic offices situated one floor above Hubspot. Whilst in Atlas‘ offices, we learned more about the history of Boston’s investment community over the years thanks to Dustin, as well as explaining why the VC community developed as it did, he also introduced our European companies to the importance of the Boston Red Sox. Go Yankees!!!
Shortly after our lunch, the Seedcamp teams headed downstairs to Hubspot where the bulk of Boston investment community (Atlas, Battery, Bessemer, Flybridge, Founder Collective, General Catalyst, Highland, Longworth, Matrix, Softbank, Spark, and others) came to provide the companies with extended tutoring. As a highlight to the mentoring session, Brian Halligan, CEO & Founder of Hubspot gave us a great overview of the challenges inherent in online marketing and some interesting tips on how to better interact, measure, and capture audiences online. After an exhaustive but productive day, we headed over to CIC Venture Cafe to meet the local entrepreneurs followed by some late night Chinese food in Boston’s Chinatown.
On Friday morning, and to conclude our visit in Boston, we headed off early in the morning to visit the incubator space of MassChallenge in Boston’s Marina. With a stunning view of greater Boston, the MassChallenge space house many startups from the local area that benefit from the funding and mentoring that MassChallenge provides. We ended our East Coast trip with a tour of the MIT Museum and got on a late evening flight to start an awesome weekend meeting and relaxing with some more of the US and London tech scene.
The first week of our yearly Seedcamp trip to the USA is over, and it was indeed a whirlwind of a visit on the East coast. We left London with a group of 15 – very reminiscent of a class trip back in the days – and met up with the rest of the group in New York City. We had a relaxed weekend in the Big Apple (alternating between shopping opportunities, Carlos’ movie-referenced sight seeing tours, and catching up with local friends), we met up with the New York chapter of the Sandbox network, and got to hear about exciting businesses being built by this extraordinary group of young people.
Dreaming big at NYSE and checking in with open source
While cold rain from all sides tried to stop us, we made our way to the New York Stock Exchange on Monday morning, to hear about the markets history and development, the current operations, and of course the ringing of the Opening Bell (fittingly set off by HomeAway, an internet success story). As the second order of the day, we visited 10gen, the creators of the non-SQL MongoDB data base technology. We received an insightful overview of the companies history, and the peculiarities of being a creator and curator of a very popular open source product (the author of this post would love to delve into technical details discussed in the second half of the meeting, but these were clearly far beyond his understanding, so he took photos of the office dog instead).
The afternoon was spent in a very informative discussion at Foursquare HQ, where founder Dennis Crowley told us about the re-emergence of the NY tech scene, and of course the growth of the company itself (btw, checking into foursquare HQ on Facebook causes iPhones to crash).
A Fat Tuesday at Google and AOL
On Tuesday, we started the day with a typical Seedcamp mentoring session at Google’s new offices (yes, we were allowed to partake in copious amounts of snacks, cookies, and soft drinks, as a visit at Google warrants). We had an impressive line up of local mentors, both from the investment and entrepreneurial community, as well as some Googlers spreading their knowledge. In the afternoon we were guests of the Venture, Corporate, and Business development teams at AOL on the lower east side, getting their helpfully frank views on how to cooperate. “Just tell us precisely what you want to achieve” is about as simple as it gets – thanks again to Mike Brown and his team for hosting us. Seedcamp Alumnus ERPLY sponsored a proper American dinner and supplied the whole crew with fresh cooked burgers afterwards – a good wrap up of a high powered day.
Big Apple, Big offices
On Wednesday morning, we had the pleasure of meeting Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures for a couple of hours, to discuss both the local, european, and international startup ecosystem, his views on the current funding market, and of course feedback on all of the visiting companies. Betaworks was kind enough to host us for this session and made many a founder jealous of their gorgeous offices in the meat packing district. Afterwards, we visited the new hot workspace at General Assembly near Union Square – a glaring display of coolness and style, probably the most thought out startup space we saw on the trip (check out what they are doing in the New York Tech community with events like Music Hack Day and the Foursquare Hackathon).
In all the places we visit, the entrepreneurial community has a different vibe – Tel Aviv with its high-tech founders, Paris with a passion for beautiful design, London with a hyper-connected local scene, Eastern Europe with its scrappy and hungry entrepreneurs – we can’t get enough of this diversity, which is why we are travelling all over the world to find the best businesses and most tenacious teams.
It’s time for us to return to Berlin – where we had an impressive line up of international teams last year. Berlin with its huge and ever growing number of startups, where companies like our darlings at Soundcloud, the incredible machine of Citydeal/GroupOn Europe, the gaming champs at Gameduell and Wooga reside, is one of the most vibrant startup hubs of the continent that continues to draw more and more attention from investors and entrepreneurs alike.
Then, go and write a kick ass application for Seedcamp Berlin!
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