Building our portfolio of startups using AI with seed investment in Legit Patents
We are thrilled to announce our seed investment in Legit Patents – the US based start-up that’s out to streamline the patent process for inventors using AI and intuitive design.
A one-stop-shop for inventors to file patent applications without the need for hours of prohibitively expensive attorney fees, Legit Patents allows founders to protect their ideas quickly, strategically and painlessly. Inventors are able to interact with software in a direct and secure manner before it’s passed on to a patent attorney to edit and review a final version before submission.
As with many startups, Legit Patents was created as a solution for a problem the founding team of trained lawyers faced themselves. “We came up against a problem that’s common for anyone starting a business: we invented something we thought was cool and we weren’t sure how best to protect it,” said Matthew Osman, CEO and co-founder of Legit Patents. “We asked several law firms about filing a patent and received quotes ranging from 5-15% of our bank balance at the time. We decided there had to be a better way.”
Half the time, filing a provisional patent application is spent teaching an attorney about your invention and founders are forced to pay to educate an ‘expert’ about the state of art in their field. For Legit Patents, the realization was that the expert in the process is not the attorney but the inventor.
“We decided to build an AI-powered environment that allowed an inventor with no prior legal knowledge to draft the majority of a patent application themselves. This leads to stronger, more valuable patent applications, which you don’t have to break the bank to file, delivered in a fraction of the current time.”
“After months of testing and working with clients in the US, we are delighted to receive backing from Seedcamp; their mission of empowering visionaries and builders of companies is exactly the same as ours. We look forward to working with them and their unparalleled network of innovators both in the US and in Europe. Through this partnership, we aim to encourage invention by reimagining the way that creators, from solo inventors all the way up to R&D labs, protect their ideas.”
Tom Wilson, investment manager at Seedcamp, added, “We see huge potential in Legit Patent’s approach of combining their powerful AI with human input to simplify and automate the largely manual and often painful patent process. Their product will free founders up to focus more of their time and effort on executing on their innovative ideas rather than spending excessive time teaching lawyers about their invention. Furthermore, largely automating the more menial aspects of the process will allow lawyers to focus on the higher value and more complex areas and thus provide a more optimal service to their clients”
Other investors include angel Kevin Moore, Fantastic Ventures – the investment vehicle for Uber’s Head of Data Science – and founding members of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Center.
For more information visit legitpatents.com
About Legit Patents
Legit Patents was founded by a group of UK and US lawyers working with current and former members of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT and the Computer Science Department at Tufts University.
This year, the company received a Y Combinator Fellowship, a Seal of Excellence from the European Commission.
Legit Patents is headquartered in Cambridge, MA
World War II veteran becomes first to use Virtual Reality to return to town he helped liberate
To commemorate Remembrance Day 2016, Seedcamp-backed company Twine – a marketplace that connects companies to a network of over 180,000 creative freelancers in design, music, and film – launched a campaign to help Chelsea Pensioner, Frank Mouqué, become the first World War Two veteran to use virtual reality technology to return to a town in Northern France that he helped liberate.
We asked Twine CEO, Stuart Logan, to share some insight behind the scenes of the company’s first major PR campaign and why they decided to use virtual reality, with the limitless potential it offers, to create a truly profound and meaningful experience.
Watch as veteran Frank uses VR for the first time
We recently launched our marketplace on Twine so companies can access our creative network to make high quality and engaging audio-visual content. With the rise of social media and new marketing channels opening up all the time, companies need more content to grow their businesses and engage more effectively with their customers. I felt this campaign would be a great opportunity for Twine to give people an insight into the positive impact the Twine community can have on people’s lives globally through the projects they work on.
We posted a project brief on Twine and found the London based video production company, Mutiny Media, to film the 360 video. We knew that they specialised in making cutting edge and highly immersive virtual reality films and would be great to work with on this project.
The production company travelled to Armentières in Northern France to shoot the film, which consisted of shots of a war memorial in the centre of the town, a tribute by two residents who were children when was the town was liberated, a class of school children singing the well known song, ‘Les Mademoiselle De Armentières’ and Bernard Haesebroeck, the Mayor of Armentières, giving Frank a specially minted coin for his bravery in helping to liberate the town.
After Mutiny Media stitched the 360 video together, we visited the Royal Hospital Chelsea and gave Frank a virtual reality headset to wear whilst we filmed his reaction to it. Mutiny Media then combined the 360 video with the film of Frank watching it, so that you can see Frank’s reactions as the video unfolds. We also worked with the London based composer, Paul Saunderson, who provided a really evocative soundtrack, which really complemented the film.
From a business perspective, working on this project was a fantastic PR opportunity for Twine. We put together an interesting, impactful and emotive story that showcased the possibility of our platform, but also had a great social impact by supporting a good cause. As a result, we made it into both national and international news, with Frank’s story and Twine’s involvement covered in digital and print media including Fox News, BBC, The Huffington Post, Upworthy, The Telegraph, ITV and many more. This campaign reached millions of people and the feedback and goodwill we’ve received has been fantastic.
It was really important to get the balance right between telling the story and making sure Twine was mentioned in each news piece. To do this, we prepared a press release and enlisted the help of our PR agency to manage enquiries from journalists. The careful management of this project helped us build our brand awareness and digital presence, with the coverage of the project generating inbound links from a variety of reputable sources. We expect to see growth in SEO traffic over the coming months as a result of the campaign.
PR is often a route to market that start-ups avoid, as its success is not easily measurable and to doing it right takes a lot of preparation time. From my experience, you can get it right. What are you waiting for? Get creative and make some waves!
If you have a VR headset, you can see what Frank saw here:
The Netherlands is fast becoming one of Europe’s major tech hubs with American technology giants Uber, Netflix and Tesla choosing the country for its European base; not to mention domestic success stories such as TomTom and Booking.com. But what features underlie the country’s success and what challenges does the Netherlands face in growing its startup ecosystem?
On that topic, Carlos speaks to three veterans of the Dutch ecosystem: Prince Constantijn van Oranje, startup envoy for Startup Delta – the Dutch support program that boosts the entrepreneurial climate in the Netherlands – alongside serial entrepreneur and Rockstart Founder, Oscar Kneppers and Ton van ‘t Noordende, Venture Partner at the seed and early-stage investors Keadyn as they discuss company building and what makes the Netherlands an attractive destination for startups and venture capital.
Tune in to understand how the Netherlands’ small size naturally builds an appetite for platform and marketplace-based companies like 3D Hubs which, by default, must scale by expanding abroad – and how one of biggest challenges the ecosystem faces is its fragmentation.
Learn also how to build a company, why flexibility, resilience and execution power are crucial in teams, and which sector the country’s own version of the ‘Paypal Mafia’ is likely to come from.
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Artificial Intelligence: The new mobile?
Back in the pre-iPhone era, investors would rally around the word ‘mobile’ as the ‘next big thing’. It was clear that mobility and doing things on small-screen devices would affect the lives of many for years to come, but what wasn’t clear was how. How were applications going to get smart enough to add value on the go? How were web standards going to evolve fast enough to accommodate all the different kinds of devices available in the market? Which platforms across the myriad of non-compatible platforms (Symbian, WinCE, RIM, Java etc), should developers invest their time?
What happened, we all now know as history… the iPhone set the bar for mobile devices and subsequently also created the app experience to enable walled-garden brand experiences, services, and products. Over the subsequent years, frameworks, APIs and other building blocks were built that enabled the quick development of apps and web apps to create the responsive and app-economy we all now take for granted as part of the offering for any new startup/service at launch. Two major platforms have created the landscape of mobile, iOS and Android, and everything else is mostly now built on that.
‘A vehicle for enablement that will be part of our daily lives in the very near future’
I believe the same is bound to happen with AI. In many ways it is tempting to think of it as a ‘standalone’ sector. However, in spite of the attention it is getting as one in the short term, I don’t believe it is in the long term. Rather, like mobile, it is fundamentally a vehicle for enablement that will be part of our daily lives in the very near future. As such, where the real development will take place will be in different verticals that will be disrupted or enhanced as part of AI’s evolution; the data sets, the algorithms, sdk’s and api’s becoming widely available, and a few major platforms, perhaps those being created by the likes of Google’s, Microsoft, IBM’s, or Amazon’s will become the foundation for the industry, similar to how iOS and Android dominated in the mobile space.
Our investments in companies using AI
At Seedcamp, we’ve been working on investing in companies across the value chain that are changing different sectors. In how to identify theft risk, we’ve backed Third Eye, which allows security staff, augmented with computer vision, to identify threats. We’ve backed Viz.ai, which allows doctors to detect anomalies in ultrasound scans far faster than would normally be possible. We’ve backed Beagle who are changing the legal landscape by identifying risk areas within legal circumstances as well as companies like AiBuild who are using a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques to increase the accuracy and robustness of 3D printing robots. We’ve backed a couple of stealth companies (for now) in the cybersecurity space that are working on identifying network level attacks as well as transactional attacks within a company’s infrastructure. We’ve invested in companies that automate business processes such as UIPath and, lastly, we’ve backed companies that own and manage large data sets which companies will rely on for their AI-based tools in the future.
While at the moment we are finding our personal experiences with AI enhanced through first version services such as Siri/OK-Google/Amazon Echo (virtual assistant), chatbots e.g Facebook, Hedge funds/high frequency trading, cyber security – ie darktrace, OCR (optical character recognition), we believe we are just at the very beginning of this revolution, with far more daily tool integrated services to come.
These services will just get better and better as we rely more and more on algorithms which squeeze out the inefficiencies in our human-based decisions and will deliver us a far more personalized experience in our day-to-day lives than any of the current generation products/services can offer.
Want to learn more about AI? Attend our event in partnership with Northzone on 23rd November to hear more from experts in this space and pitches from startups applying artificial intelligence to their businesses.
Let’s face it, if you visit someone, saying:
“I want your money now and I’ll rarely see you in person…because I’ll go back to my country, use your money and there’s a 95% chance that you won’t get it back…? Want to give me some money?”
Don’t waste time, yours and theirs, with investors that are not going to invest in companies either based abroad or who don’t have a large share of US users in their base. Instead, focus on funds that are willing to invest in non-US based companies or those with more focus abroad.
However, if your plan is to move to the US or move a part of your team over there, then say it clearly that you’re doing all necessary actions in this direction.
I often see founders avoid spending time receiving professional advice from real pitching coaches. Pitching is an art and you’re a founder, not a necessarily a presenter. Take the time to invest in your presentation skills. This is not expensive. Presenting in meet-ups or local Toastmasters are inexpensive ways to greatly improve your skills.
Here’s the difference many of you will empathise with.
Founder: “You can read here 500 words at the same time I am talking to you”
Now, try reading a book at the same time someone tells you how to get somewhere you’ve never been: IMPOSSIBLE.
So, get your slides RIGHT: action title + relevant visuals + “listen to me”. Your slides are to support your story, not to tell it for you.
Founder: “I have this drug you need to try and you’ll be addicted to it big time. Here’s our recurrent usage. People love it and keep on wanting more. I need your money so I can get more addicts, give them more of my drug, and make even more money for both of us.”
See the difference? It’s not unique to the US of course. Many founders make this mistake in many countries. But considering the US accounts for nearly 70% of total global venture capital*, you can bet your half double decaffeinated half-caf with a twist of lemon coffee you damn well better get it right here! (prize for the first person who recognises that one)
You also have to understand that Americans are awesome at pitching. It’s part of their childhood. So when they pitch, you bet they’re VERY good at it.
Europeans tend to be a bit too “ordinary” in that sense.
I’ve met multiple investors while raising our seed round for Thingthing, a 3rd party keyboard for iOS. Some were sending positive signals right away, were aligned with our vision of the future, and saying things like “It makes sense!”, “I completely agree!!” and “Yeah baby!!!” (at least that’s how I remember it ).
Some, naturally, weren’t quite so enthusiastic. When you meet that type of investor, the conversation often ends with doubting or questioning what you’ve built. Fair enough. After all, it’s their money!
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that questions are not welcomed but there’s a subtle difference when someone is questioning just to test you and play devil’s advocate, and others who truly have doubts because of your product or expertise in the domain or vertical.
In a 10–12 minute chat you can size-up your investors just as they are sizing you up, and know if they’re hot [for your company] or not.
Questioning your space is great. It helps you to strengthen your narrative and address weak points. Now, when someone starts playing know-it-all, I tag that person immediately as someone who thinks he knows everything.
Here’s an analogy you’ll get:
When your parents tell you what you should do in your circumstances as a founder, and they have no experience at all with what you’re talking about. Isn’t this annoying? YES.
If your answer is NO, open your eyes mate .
It’s good to have gut feelings about what you’re building but man, sometimes, people don’t know jack and no one can stop their nonsensical know-it-all bullshit.
Fellow founders, if this happens to you, stop there and don’t waste your time trying to convince people to give you money if you can already sense they don’t feel your vibe. Just take a deep breath, be gracious, and move on.
People in general are rarely going to betray their first instinct. If they tell you “no one could buy you” or “there’s no exit potential”, take the feedback and do your research afterwards. For example, before building Thingthing, I didn’t even think about potential buyers in markets like Russia, China, Brazil, etc. So, if an investor from the US, who’s used to making local investments, tells you there’s no exit potential, be sure to consider their market and geographic focus… they could be dead wrong.
You can often hear, “it’s too early for us to invest in you, come when you have more traction”. Do yourself a favour and research at what stage they invest first. By looking at Crunchbase for example, you’ll get a good sense of their investment sector, style and round size. Then check the metrics of those companies they invest in and you’ll immediately know if it’ll be a good conversation or a loss of time.
To sum up, what you learn in these 10–12 minutes will be enough to tell you if there’s an opportunity there and you should continue the conversation, or if it’s best to keep shopping around.
One of my most interesting learnings overall was that as amazing as many of these investors are, they can not see the future. As entrepreneurs, the future is ours — and we need to be decisive and build it. — Nicholas Katz from Splittable
Investors enjoy understanding products, don’t get me wrong. But if you spend 75% of your investor talk about the product…you’re practically ignoring the fact that it’s a business at all, let alone a viable one!
You founded a company that you want to grow. This goes way beyond just your product. Spend time on your vision, your next critical steps, your business model, your key differentiators, your team, and on why you need them as investors (which shows you did your research).
And remember, the most ambitious visions are what gets people excited. Think big! Investors are investing in the full package — product, vision, team, and you! Give them reason to believe.
On the opposite, if you only talk about the business and rarely about the product, then it ends up being the same: unbalanced narrative.
This is a first date. I often see too much transparency in the way founders shared their company. Remember that an investor looks at deals every day. When you pitch, they’re probably looking or have looked at a similar deal that week. Make yourself standout among the other suitors if you want to make it to 1st base 😉
If you tease them just the right way, you’ll create a hook for a second date too. In general, the following checklist is a safe bet (order may vary):
Team Genesis® partners with Seedcamp and Beta-i to launch Seedsummit Portugal
As Web Summit kicks off in Lisbon and all eyes turn to the Portuguese capital, Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados (MLGTS), through Team Genesis®, has partnered with Europe’s leading first round fund, Seedcamp, and Lisbon based startup accelerator, beta-i with support from over 30 startups and investors to launch Seedsummit Portugal, providing simplified financial documents and guidelines to support the Portuguese startup ecosystem and positively impact local founders.
The Portuguese startup ecosystem has experienced significant growth and this has been supported by new tax incentives, tools and measurement to support entrepreneurs and create a more positive and attractive environment to facilitate investment. However, creating the right frameworks can prove a time consuming and overwhelming effort to new entrepreneurs, which is why the launch of the Seedsummit Portugal initiative has been so well received.
The initiative has garnered support from companies that praise the transparency and help that these documents provide for seed stage investors and startups. These include venture capitalists and startups such as: EDP Ventures, Caixa Capital, e.Ventures, Kic InnoEnergy, Faber Ventures, Portugal Ventures, Uniplaces, Seedrs, Feedzai, Codacy, Hole 19, Knok, Biomimetx, Magnomics, Chic by Choice, Aptoide, Lymphact, EatTasty, Addvolt, Candla, Prodsmart, Petable, Bica Studios, iFarmácias, C2Charge, Misk, Infraspeak, Attentive, Privus, Coolfarm, Drivit and Doinn.
The Angel Term Sheet, created by Team Genesis®, will further support this by providing investors and entrepreneurs with simplified and standard financing guidelines to support their investment process in Portugal. Over the course of the next year, Team Genesis® will produce additional documentation (term sheets for preferred rounds and convertibles, IP assignment and founders’ agreements) which will be available to all to access through the Seedsummit website.
“For a long time now, the members at Team Genesis® had been talking about providing standard documentation to help foster the ecosystem in a meaningful way, set the bar higher and align it with international best practices. It just felt right to do it now, alongside two great partners and building up on the momentum of the Web Summit and the proposed new tax incentives” says Luís Roquette Geraldes, Coordinator for Venture Capital at Team Genesis®
Carlos Eduardo Espinal, Partner at Seedcamp, commented, “We identified Portugal as an emerging region for great entrepreneurial talent over four years ago and have been privileged to lead events and help build the support network for local founders. We know the challenges founders face to get their businesses off the ground and we want to help them save time and money by providing these documents for free so they can focus on the most important thing: building their business.”
For Ricardo Marvão, co-founder & Head of Global Resources at Beta-i, “This is the kind of initiatives we proud ourselves of doing, since we are leveraging in the power of a European wide approach on the Web Summit, as a global event, to engage the local community and deliver an output that is potentially a very powerful tool for startups all around”.
Seedsummit Portugal’s freely available documents can be downloaded from www.seedsummit.org
Seedcamp is Europe’s leading first round fund, investing in the most ambitious founders and helping them to scale valuable, global businesses. We invest smart capital into pre-seed and seed stage startups and a lifelong platform of expertise, network and capital. Seedcamp was founded in 2007 and kickstarted the European startup ecosystem. To date, Seedcamp has backed over 230 companies from around the world.
About Team Genesis®
Based on the desire to foster and help national ventures thrive and scale internationally, Team Genesis focuses on emerging companies (scalable tech startups) and venture capitalists daily and throughout their entire life cycle, i.e., from fundraising to exits. Its members focus on “bet the company” transactions notably national and international investment rounds (seed and preferred rounds), convertibles notes (or convertible equity), venture debt and trade sales (including acqui-hires).
Based in Lisbon, Beta-i is an innovation hub with the mission to improve entrepreneurship through 3 main acting principles: create and boost a network for entrepreneurship, accelerate startups with global ambition and facilitate their access to investment, space, services and products that support startup growth.
Beta-i was considered the biggest startup & entrepreneurship promoter in Europe by the European Enterprise Promotion Awards in June 2014 and highlighted as the key Lisbon accelerator by Wired Magazine in 2016. It’s hub hosts an average of 40 startups at different developmental stages and is a meeting point for national and international ecosystem players from investors to corporates, entrepreneurs and startups themselves among many others. Beta-i presently runs a series of accelerators per year starting with Lisbon Challenge and including a number of corporate accelerators. Alongside with regular smaller events organized for the community, Beta-i is responsible for the Lisbon Investment Summit and the The Tourism Day conference.
As the UK government lays out plans to invest an additional £1.9bn to reduce cyber-attacks, and pressure mounts on US presidential candidates to prioritise cybersecurity, the world’s attention is focused on how to stay protected online.
In this week’s Seedcamp podcast, Carlos is joined by Jamie Akhtar and Mariella Thanner, founders of cybersecurity firm Tresor Security, for an intriguing dive into how startups can fortify their cybersecurity posture and minimise their digital vulnerabilities.
This podcast is indispensable listening for startups considering how they can protect themselves going forward, with Jamie and Mariella touching on when the right time to start thinking about security policy is; performing proper diligence and the small steps companies can take to prevent their data from being being compromised.
Learn about the similarities between Hollywood’s glamorised depiction of cyber security in the drama-thriller television series ‘Mr Robot’ and the kind of incidents and breaches Jamie and Mariella have to deal with, and which part of the cybersecurity value chain is a strong bet to invest in.
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