Friday, September 12, 2008

Super excited about Seedcamp

It seems like last week that we were finalizing preparations for Seedcamp 07 and announcing last year's winners, now we're just 72 hours away from Seedcamp 08. I am really excited.

A lot has happened since last September and we have came an incalculable distance from the original sketch of an idea last February. Without doubt the most important thing is the impact that Reshma has had, since coming on board as CEO. She has created a super-slick organization that has taken us on the road and put on fantastic Mini Seedcamps in Paris, Berlin, Kiev and London and spread the word across Europe in places as diverse as Warsaw, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Tel Aviv and Zagreb.

We always wanted Seedcamp to be much more than a once year event and with the development of Mini Seedcamps, Reshma has driven the brand across Europe - deepening relationships with advisors, investors and most importantly founders. We have found great talent and passion for building companies wherever we go and the result is that Seedcamp is now a much richer platform for supporting entrepreneurs both locally and across the region. In one year this is no mean feat, so hats off to the team and look out for more developments next year.

All of this effort has led to a really exciting line up for this year's Seedcamp Week, which starts next Monday Sept 15th.

We have a great set of teams from across the globe - including Austria, Poland, Finland, Romania, Ukraine, France, Germany, Slovenia, US, India and Sweden. Happily we also have some teams from the UK, but not just from London - from Wales as well. The diversity is fantastic and shows how wide the talent pool really is in Europe and that killer teams can come from anywhere nowadays - although Zemanta, taught us that lesson last year by putting Slovenia on the Internet map.

But to me, the coolest thing about Seedcamp is how generous and engaged the community of advisors and investors have been throughout the year. We don't have the built-in network and easy informality of the Valley in Europe and one of the key motivators for Seedcamp (and OpenCoffee) was to help kick start this process.

People like Fred Destin in Paris, Oliver Beste in Berlin, Alex Hoye in general and the rest of the Seedcamp Board, Advisory Panel & Judges have all been incredibly generous with their time, energy and networks to support the emergence of an ecosystem. The resulting line up of panelists and advisors (many of them are repeat offenders from last year!) is awe-inspiring for any first-time entrepreneur looking to get feedback, guidance and support within Europe.

The 23 Seedcamp teams coming to London next week will be bringing along 53 founders and those founders will be able to spend next week intensively hearing from and having one-one mentoring sessions with over 220 advisors including serial entrepreneurs, hackers, investors, product designers, marketeers and lawyers. As one of the advisors said when they saw the list "Wow". I agree. I can't wait to hear what they all have to say and hang out next week.

I know you're meant to save the "thank yous" for after the event - I mean you don't really know how it going to go - but I also know that next week most of the attention will go to the star panelists, the advisors and the Seedcamp teams.

So I wanted to take a minute to publicly give some attention to the Seedcamp team who has really kickassed to pull this all together:
  • Reshma - of course, the driving force behind it all, she has put the team together and is slowly but surely building a fabulous brand and organization
  • Michael - our first Seedcamp Fellow, who with one eye on LBS has managed all the Seedcamp applications and judging process, our much improving online presence(s) and has always maintained an uniquely morland tone whether in word or in wordle
  • Steph - the firebrand who makes all the logistics seem effortless and when she's not behind a camera has put together Paris, Kiev, Berlin and now London's Seedcamp Week
  • Alasdair - has single-handedly pulled together our amazing group of advisors, made sure they know where they are going and matched them up with the teams
Thanks also go out to Rachel, Paula and Collette for getting the word out and to Kellee who has just joined the Seedcamp team and is already kicking off some very cool stuff.

I'm really looking forward to next Monday :)

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At 9/14/2008 09:36:00 am, Blogger Robin Klein said...

Seedcamp is a major force in the start-up eco-system. Your influence and long lasting impact is really impressive.
Great job, guys!

At 9/14/2008 10:33:00 pm, Anonymous Mike Faber said...

Saul, always happy to help out and spread the word - good luck at Seedcamp 2008!

Pretty soon we're having a similar but miniaturized workshop/contest called '7 minutes' in the Balkans - namely in Zagreb on October 28th

check it out:

working with Reshma in Warsaw was pretty inspirational I must say

keep in touch


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