Sunday, November 08, 2009

Seedcamp: thoughts on the evolution of a European startup

Why write this post?
People often ask me about Seedcamp - why we started it, what's it about and where's it going. I also haven't put any thoughts down on the subject of building startups in Europe for over two years. It occurred to me that as a European startup itself, looking at Seedcamp might give a view on both. So this is a lot longer than 140 characters but hopefully this answers some of the questions. Anyway, here goes....

Why did we start Seedcamp
?
The genesis of Seedcamp was a post I wrote back in February 2007 called "Y Europe can seed the growth of its new stars". The thesis was that there was no reason why Europe couldn't produce great start-ups, we had:
  1. Plenty of technical talent
  2. Access to increasingly sophisticated risk capital
  3. More and more role models & an emerging startup ecosystem of mentors
  4. Globalization of the web which no longer put the US at the centre
  5. Radical lowering of start-up costs
None of this has changed in the last 3 years - if anything, it is more true than ever given:
  • the further development of open source;
  • the emergence of cloud services;
  • the bootstrapped role models of 37signals, FreshBooks and the like;
  • the mass-market adoption of new distribution platforms like Facebook & iPhone
So what's the real problem with Europe?
Mike Arrington knows that its not just that people like long-lunches. The problem is our region's cultural complexity and geographic fragmentation. When you include Africa and the Middle East, there are over 50 viable markets within a 5 hour time zone - the same time zone that separates New York and Silicon Valley. Instead of 50 states with one government, one language, one currency and one set of media - we have 50 countries. Say no more.

If you want to get everything in one place, there is nowhere better in the world than the Valley. It is perfectly self-contained.

But if you want to tap into the diversity of talent, ideas and culture you can see from Cape Town, Tel Aviv, Budapest, London, Amman, Kiev and everything in between then you need a different and more distributed approach.

Can Seedcamp's distributed approach work?
We don't have the density of the Valley and quite frankly never will, so we need to deal with what we have and make the best of it.

Personally, I believe passionately in the distributed model. I think over time, with the right institutions and networked infrastructure it is capable of producing serious technical and business alchemy.

Seedcamp was designed to be a way of bringing together the different strands of the ecosystem together - entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, academia and corporates. A grass roots attempt to bring some cohesion into the region's diverse and highly fragmented startup scene with a focus on the first-time, most inexperienced entrepreneurs.

Seedcamp is one several positive initiatives, including the great work Mike Butcher is doing taking Techcrunch across Europe, that Loic & Geraldine Le Meur do every December with their LeWeb conference and the forum for European founders Brent Hoberman & Marc Samwer put on every summer with Johnnie Goodwin & Jeffries.

We all have a very long way to go

I know people say that long-term thinking is unfashionable in our industry, but I agree with Fred Wilson and my dad that great things take time. In my mind, helping to bring some cohesion to our region's distributed network of talent, capital and advisors is a 15-20 year project.

No single organization can achieve this. Even if Seedcamp is not ultimately a success - as measured by the success of the entrepreneurs who have been funded by it or experienced its programs - hopefully it will have helped to inspire some of the right thinking.

Getting to the right point takes time, and the cycles that kicked off what we now know as Silicon Valley began nearly 50 years ago.

Investing legends like Arthur Rock (Fairchild Semiconductor), Don Valentine (Cisco, Apple, EA), Don Lucas (Oracle), Dave Marquardt (Microsoft) and John Doerr (Netscape, Amazon, Google) and the entrepreneurs they backed created franchise businesses that still dominate the technology industry today. But maybe more importantly, all these businesses created the raw materials (talent, seed capital and technology) for next generation of the today's winners like Google, Facebook, Salesforce.com and many many others.

In Europe and Israel, we have been going for no more than 15 years - so we need to maintain the perspective to think long-term, to build great franchise businesses and have the patience to reap the rewards of the ecosystems they will help to create.

Plus, how many independent technology titans do we have in our region today? Not enough.

A truly great independent technology business is capable of doing what Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Oracle, VMware have all done - generating a billion dollars in annual revenues. In our region, its hard to look much beyond SAP, Amdocs and Checkpoint - sorry Nokia doesn't count but Skype is on its way.

[An interesting sidenote is that none of Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, Checkpoint or VMware took in more than $10m in outside capital. They were just great businesses.]

What can Seedcamp do to help?
Seedcamp is a 2.5 year old startup focused on micro-seed investing, so only so much.

We launched Seedcamp with the idea that we would hold 3 years worth of Seedcamp Weeks and make small €50k investments in 15 companies. Here's the launch post and presentation.

We knew the problem we were trying to address was large enough to be worthwhile and we had a long-term vision for what we could achieve, but like any start-up we only had limited resources to prove:
  1. there was a need for our product in the market ("make something people need")
  2. we could operate to the benefit of all our stakeholders (customers, partners, investors)
Seedcamp's first 100 days were like any other startup
  • You always need inspiration. I was inspired by the work that Paul Graham was doing with YCombinator and some conversations I was having with John Borthwick about new models for startups.
  • You always need some luck. I was really fortunate to be introduced by Mike Arrington at FOWA to Reshma Sohoni.
  • You always need a great co-founder. Reshma was at 3i at the time but thanks to some enlightened management from Mike Reid (now at Frog) and Daniel Waterhouse (now at Wellington), she was seconded to help and we set about developing a program and getting support for what would become Seedcamp.
  • You always need the focus of a deadline. In July, we set ourselves a launch date of September
  • You always need ambitious challenges. We set ourselves the two month task of:
  1. getting applications from all over Europe
  2. finding a venue for a week in September (and putting on the event)
  3. getting over 100 top-notch mentors to inspire and advise entrepreneurs
  4. raising €2m (enough money for 3 years of Seedcamp)
  • You always need some sceptics. We had many.
  • You always need loads of support. In addition to Index and 3i who encouraged me and Reshma to develop Seedcamp, we had a great group of initial supporters who helped us brainstorm the concept and produce the event including Paul Birch, Sara Murray, Mattias Ljungman, Robin Klein and Jason Goodman.
So after 2.5 years what has changed from the original Seedcamp plan?
  1. We have expanded our regional footprint considerably
    • We planned to run only 3 events in 3 years all in London - we ended up doing over 22 events in 3 years in 10 countries
    • We learned pretty quickly people wanted Seedcamp in more locations and now run Mini Seedcamp's in 7 regional hubs across the year
    • We've reviewed our 1,500 applications from 53 countries
    • We have had winners from Estonia, Romania, Slovenia, Poland and Jordan - we have proven to ourselves that their is both demand for what we offer and great startups from all over the region
  2. We built a bigger, more diverse network of advisors & partners
    • We started off with 100 advisors at the first Seedcamp week in 2007 (albeit superstars!)
    • We now have over 1,000 people to help support startups across every dimension of their journey - product, marketing, business development, investment etc
    • The depth & breadth of this network means that at every event in every region we have at least 50 amazing advisors to support the winning teams
    • We've also had incredible support from the likes of Microsoft, Google, IBM, Sun, AWS, Oracle and Facebook to give teams access to knowledge, technology and support
    • We've had additional great board input from the likes of Fred Destin, Alex Hoye, Dave McClure, Christophe Maire, Charles Grimsdale and Oliver Beste
  3. We've made more investments than we planned
    • We planned to make 15 investments and mentor 60 companies
    • We've made 21 investments and mentored 280 companies so far:
      - 2007: Kublax, Hypernumbers, MyBuilder, RentmineOnline, Tablefinder, Zemanta
      - 2008: Basekit, Kyko, Mobclix, Soup, Stupeflix, Toksta, Ubervu
      - 2009: Boxed Ice, Brainient, Codility, Erply, Kwaga, Patients Know Best, Platago, Talasim
And what hasn't changed?
  1. We are still a fund - we are not a non-profit. We believe in having a mission which has social good at its core, but we have always set out to be a commercial enterprise that offers a return to our investors. How else could we inspire entrepreneurs to create businesses if we were not one ourselves?
  2. But like YC (and Techstars) we are a different kind of fund - we apply a new model to discovering, supporting and launching start ups.
  3. We address the micro-seed stage - we invest €50k in a start-up in return for a small amount of equity (normally 5-10%), which means the kind of companies we can help leverage the platforms and practices outlined above and the founders typically have low personal burn-rates
  4. Our founders are focussed on bootstrapping - we help support teams through to "ramen" or real-profitability (3 out of 8 of this year's winners are already profitable)
  5. We help teams that want it, access seed or venture capital - by working hand-in-hand with investors active in seed (€250k-€1m) and venture (€1m+) rounds
What are some of the questions people still ask us about Seedcamp?
We try to be as open as we can about who we are and what we do, but as a startup running fast you aren't always as clear as you think and you can definitely be misunderstood at times. [Mike Butcher should be posting later on today an interview answering some of questions on Seedcamp - will update with link].

So in that spirit here are some FAQs:
  1. Who are Seedcamp's investors?
    • We raised over €2m to make investments and operate Seedcamp
    • Our investors have always been prominently listed on our site
    • They include some of Europe's top venture firms and seed investors, as well as firms large and small actively involved in the startup ecosystem
  2. Why did they invest in Seedcamp?
    • For different reasons but mainly because they share our vision for building the regions startup infrastructure
    • They want to have filtered access to great startup to invest in or advise
    • They like us :) and believe we will make good invests which give a positive ROI
  3. Can only Seedcamp investors invest in Seedcamp companies?
    • Absolutely not, anyone who's a qualified investor can invest in Seedcamp companies
    • Seedcamp investors do often get to know the companies better as they have typically put in the time and commitment to come to Seedcamp events but any mentors, corporates or readers of Techcrunch (who regularly covers Seedcamp finalists) are free to invest and often do
    • We love it when people want to invest in the companies, it means we're doing our job :)
  4. How does Seedcamp judge the finalists for Seedcamp Week and Mini Seedcamps?
    • We have an open web-based application process in the months running up to every event
    • Every application is reviewed by and scored at least two judges - the judges are a combination of Seedcamp investors and advisors- all of them very experienced at looking at startup plans and teams
    • We normalize the scores to counteract variations in judging styles and then invite the top 20 teams to attend a Mini Seedcamp
    • In the case of Seedcamp Week, we invite 40 teams to come to London for a 10 minute interview with a panel of judges and then apply the same scoring techniques
  5. How does Seedcamp make its investment decisions?
    • All Seedcamp investors are invited to participate in the investment committee decision of making any €50k investment as we are allocating their capital
    • This group is often more than 25 people which is unusually large (and sometimes unwieldy) group for an investment committee, even a large venture firms would have no more 10 people
    • Like Seedcamp judging, all teams are scored, the votes normalized and a debate held to determine which companies to invest in. As she will spend the majority of timw with the companies Reshma has a veto right
  6. What if I want to invest in Seedcamp?
    • Seedcamp I is now closed.
    • Seedcamp was funded in a couple of months by over 30 different organisations and individuals - all of whom have a clear interest in helping to build the startup ecosystem and want to be exposed to the best startups the region has to offer.
    • Some of Europe's best VCs, angels and professional firms large and small participated and Seedcamp welcomes investment from all these groups.
    • Our aim has always been that Seedcamp would be 'owned' by the industry and not dominated by any group of institutions or individuals. For that reason, we encourage wide ownership and look forward to expanding and diversifying this base.
    • The structure is a typical Limited Partner one and the formal fundraising for Seedcamp II will begin very soon.
  7. When do you intend to raise Seedcamp II?
    • We'll be talking to investors in the next few months about our next fund.
    • We hope to retain many of our existing investors but hope to be able to work with many of the new investors we have met since we began, especially in new regions and in the public/private sector
So are we succeeding so far with Seedcamp?
We've definitely shown that there is a need for what Seedcamp offers.

Whether we have been able to deliver value to the stake holders (startups, partners and investors) is something we'll only be able to judge in time. The reality of startups and the funds that invest in them, is that most businesses take 5-10 years to become great - in fact many will take longer and most will never succeed.

What we know so far:
  • Startups: we do know from the research we've done that startups really value the experience and focus on the business advice, networking and validation that Seedcamp offers even more than the access to capital - this is great news.
  • Partners: we have had great feedback from advisors and partners. They seem to value not just the filtered access to really promising teams, but something which has surprised us, is how much fun people have mentoring. We have mentors who have become long-term advisors, invested in and in one case become the CEO of a Seedcamp company. Mentors also tell us how much they like the peer-to-peer networking of meeting each another and interacting in a new type of setting (ie not a conference).
  • Investors: the Seedcamp fund has its own group of investors (see our site), feel free to ask them if they are happy :) But the investors which matter to the startups are the ones that will fund them - the good news is that within 3 months of graduating from Seedcamp 2007 and 2008, 11 of the 13 startups have received follow-on funding.
So where does Seedcamp go beyond the start-up phase, what's Seedcamp II?
We've had plenty of discussion over the last year to think about where to take Seedcamp next.

We like to think we've made a good start, but we really understand how much work there is still to do. We've also learned some fundamental lessons in operating Seedcamp that we'd like to apply to the next phase of our development.

Some of the key things we feel strongly about in terms of improving the model are:
  1. We want to continue pushing the federated model - not just deepening our roots in the regions we are already playing in, but also starting to go into regions where people have asked us to take Seedcamp but so far we've not had the resources or bandwidth to go
  2. We want to extend our network - one of the things people have liked the most about Seedcamp is how we've been able to bring some cohesion to the fragmented startup scene across the region. We know we can do a better job bringing together active seed investors, tapping into academia and working with public/private partnerships focussed on encouraging startups.
  3. We should be making more investments - not just because we think the talent is out there and we are only just starting to really find it but because the economics of investing means that to have great returns you have to place enough bets. This is true of growth, venture and seed (look at the portfolio sizes of Jeff Clavier, Josh Kopelman, Ron Conway and TAG) - its especially true of micro-seed and something YC is aware of as well.
  4. We need to have fire power to follow our winners - early stage investing doesn't make economic sense if you can't follow your winners. Most startups need additional capital - even though as I pointed out above, some superstars don't need more than $10m. Unless you are lucky enough to be the guy who wrote a $300k cheque which turned out to be the only money into Checkpoint as more money goes in you get more diluted. Good seed investors (like First Round Capital) know that you need to firepower to keep funding your winners, both to ensure they have enough capital and to presever your ownership. Managing and allocating reserves is a very tough discipline, but one that great investors practice and do very well.
  5. We need to be able to attract and retain a killer team - sparing her blushes Reshma has done an amazing job, as Seedcamp scales we need to add to our team at the highest levels and we need to be able to attract and retain people like that. Micro-seed is a special discipline - it means rolling up our sleeves and working with businesses and entreprenuers that are very unformed. This is not a skill all investors have and if Seedcamp is to succeed we need the best team to support these startups.
So will we be able to take Seedcamp to the next level? I hope so, but like any startup, its hard to know what's around the next corner - as I said above, even if Seedcamp doesn't succeed to go from startup to phase two, hopefully we'll have inspired some of the right thinking.

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20 Comments:

At 11/10/2009 10:11:00 am, Blogger Shafqat said...

Great post! Seeing Seedcamp evolve has been exciting for all of us in the startup community here in Europe. I love how you run Seedcamp like a startup itself, and numerous points in your post are testament to that fact. Couple of quick comments:

1) I think the cultural and geographical diversity/fragmentation in Europe could actually be an opportunity. In the US, its "one size fits all" but in Europe, companies can really focus and tailor their products to specific geo-demographics. The product/market fit might be tighter. Of course, the simplicity of one huge market like the US is great, but I think the European challenges can actually be turned into positives.

Finally, a question with regards to follow on funding for your successful investments. How important is it to follow through for you (assuming startup has access to other capital to grow) in order to maintain your equity stake? Your piece of the pie might be smaller if you don't follow through, but isn't the pie much bigger? This is a question I always ask, and would love to get your thoughts.

Keep up the great work (kudos to Reshma as well!).

 
At 11/10/2009 10:34:00 am, Blogger Brendan Quinn said...

Nice post Saul, and congratulations on getting this far.

I have a feeling that as Seedcamp grows, one of your biggest problems will be how to spread your attention amongst a growing portfolio of investments.

Bootstrapped companies don't seem to flame out and die the way traditional VC-funded companies do, so after a few years you may have dozens of barely-profitable or not-quite profitable companies, not really living but not really dead, and an endless succession of board meetings to deal with.

So you need to either scale up internally -- probably not possible with the investment sizes you're talking about -- or work out how to terminate your relationship with some of the poorer performers.

I'm sure you and Reshma will work it out though :-)

Best of luck!

 
At 11/10/2009 11:04:00 am, Blogger Dave said...

great post saul... here's to the continued growth & success of SeedCamp, and of Europe's startups!

onward & upward,

- dave mcclure

 
At 11/10/2009 11:11:00 am, Anonymous Claudio Cossio said...

This is great inspiration Saul.

I appreciate all the insight you have written and I expect to see SCII grow beyond European borders.

Or at least interact with partners from outside Europe, making connections specifically for LATAM.

Thanx.

PD.
This is the event we talked about in FOWA http://iweekend.org/2009/mexicodf.

 
At 11/10/2009 12:18:00 pm, Anonymous Sean said...

As a founding investor in Seedcamp, I can only congratulate Saul and Reshma on the terrific job they have done. Having been intimately involved in a number of 'consortium-backed' initiatives/firms over my career, I can think of very few who have managed to succeed in their mission while balancing the (necessarily varied and sometime conflicting) interests of the stakeholder; seedcamp is one of these.

As everyone involved in entrepreneurship knows, (good) ideas are necessary but not sufficient; execution is (almost) everything. The seedcamp team - and in particular Reshma and Saul - made an interesting idea a real venture. It's an achievement they should be proud of.

 
At 11/10/2009 01:10:00 pm, Blogger Elise said...

Love the way you shine a light on the practical realities of the SC launch. No magic wand waving, just a lot of blocking and tackling, hard work, dedicated smart capable experienced people with a passion for fueling the fires of the entrepreneurial spirit. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to seeing more

Elise Howes, Denver Colorado, USA

 
At 11/10/2009 04:49:00 pm, Anonymous Claudiu said...

Seedcamp is more than just a fund. For early startups getting on the list is a major milestone. It's maybe the first unbeatable proof that their product or service rocks.

So, a big Thank You for everybody involved in Seedcamp.

 
At 11/10/2009 11:58:00 pm, Blogger Zemantic dreams said...

Speaking from personal point of view Seedcamp did enormous job in the last years of aggregating european web startup scene. And it did great things for our small team from Slovenia called Zemanta. It opened the world to us and to many other businesses.

I am looking forward to Seedcamp II and hope to be able to share our Zemanta story with upcoming people and companies.

A big thank you for all the work done and keep on fighting!

Andraz Tori, Zemanta

 
At 11/11/2009 09:09:00 am, Blogger Robert said...

As a Seedcamp mentor, I love this post. When talking to others about Seedcamp they are always quick to point out the lack of exits amongst Seedcamp startups so far. What's your take on this Saul? I agree that it would be crucial on the long run.

 
At 11/11/2009 11:16:00 am, Blogger Saul said...

Thanks for the great comments so far guys

@dave - love the fact that you have been instrumental in bringing Seedcamp to the Valley and vice-versa. It's been huge for the team and look may that continue - looking forwward to Jan '10

@claudio - if we can pull off Seedcamp II, expect to see us extending outside EMEA - stay tuned :)

@sean - thanks for all your support, the early believers are the most critical

@andraz - great to see you guys as such a role model to companies in balkans and eastern europe. the future is so bright with these teams - looking fwd to more coming through seedcamp like ubervu, brainient, codility, joobili and erply

@robert - thanks for being a mentor. as i say in the post, it takes a long time to realise value - for most venture funds its 5-7 years, so micro-seed may well be longer. we also don't rush any startups into exit - rather build a great company.

 
At 11/11/2009 11:02:00 pm, Blogger Mark Esiri said...

Saul/Reshma,
Biased as an investor... but it is a privilege to watch you guys harness the power of the European start-up crowd. Seedcamp is a hugely positive force - as you say, the impact is more in the mentoring and best practices that are developing rather than the money. Ideas like seedcamp should be strongly encouraged, and I particularly like the involvement that the past seedcamp winners are putting back in at subsequent events. Thanks x.

 
At 11/12/2009 01:39:00 pm, OpenID 6p00d834ac0d1969e2 said...

Hiya Saul. Interesting post; I enjoyed how you involved some of the foundational investors in the industry (ie, Don Lucas and Arthur Rock). I think I can contribute to provide more color on the US success story, particularly on the researchy/entrepreneurial folk.

One of the things that people tend to forget (because of the recent batch of entrepreneurs; recent being the 90s) is that many folk came from the computer science research community. That is, the "academics" played a big part in the success story of silicon valley. And I don't mean just graduate students (Google, Yahoo, all 4 being PhD students at Stanford; even Inktomi was a comp sci project at Berkeley) but rather in the previous decades (60s, 70s).

The valley can arguably be traced all the way back to the arrival in Mountain View of William Shockley. Shockley started in Bell Labs, where he co-invented the transistor and received a nobel prize for it (so serious scientist). He came to SF to start the Shockley Semiconductor Lab, and it is from here that 8 of his employees left to become the Fairchild 8, including Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, and Eugene Kleiner (yes, that Kleiner). So here we have a nobel prize winner mentoring folk who then founded the semiconductor industry (Intel) and key VC firms (Kleiner, Perkins). So deep intertwining of world-class research and business.

On the PC part of the stack, you had Xerox PARC, where Bob Taylor convened the most respected computer science researchers of the 70s to invent modern personal computing. Taylor had funded most of these guys in the late 60s when he was leading the ARPA office related to ARPANET (the original internet research project). He assembled around 200 researchers at PARC, some of which then created many of the big PC companies we know today:
- Adobe (founded by Warnock and Geschke, both at PARC, developed Interpress there, then founded Adobe to commercialized it as Postscript)
- Bob Metcalfe (invented the Ethernet at PARC, then founded 3Com to commercialize it)
- Jim Clark (developed the Geometry Engine chip at PARC, then founded Silicon Graphics to commercialize it and afterwards founded Netscape)
- Charles Simonyi (created the Bravo bit-mapped word processor at PARC, first of its kind, then went to MS to create MS Word and later Excel)
- Gary Starkweather (inventor of the laser printer, did this at PARC)
- Alvy Ray Smith (created "digital effects" at PARC, and years later founded Pixar)

Oh, and of course. Steve Jobs hired many of these guys who built the Xerox Star and the Alto to create the original Macintosh (my boss at Apple was the principal UI designer of the Star back in the 70s). Oh, and I shouldn't forget another well known PARC alumni, Eric Schmidt (yes, of Google).

What I’m trying to do here in linking all these $10B-$100B companies in the valley to the research community, is the depth and vision that these companies had. You can probably trace around $500B of tech companies back to PARC and Shockley lab (Adobe, Intel, Pixar, Apple, Google, Yahoo, 3Com). That's some nice social return for the nation for its research money!

And, yes, like you often say, it often takes 10-20 years to build that foundation in human capital. So we've got some runway to go in europe. We're probably now sowing the seeds (in human capital) in europe of the major tech companies we'll see flourish by 2020, hopefully at that scale ($500B).

I can imagine that we'll see a number of folks at Skype create great companies in the next decade. Index, Accel, Atomico funding many of these (and microseeded by Seedcamp). We'll probably also see more cross-industry moves (like Shai moving from SAP to clean energy) as opportunities arise to rearrange industries. It would be nice if the EU/UK governments invested more to accelerate and create more solid foundations, as these kinds of large-cap companies need fairly deep roots for big thinking/big risk innovation. But all in all, we're on the right track. Thanks for helping move it forward!

 
At 11/12/2009 04:29:00 pm, Blogger Richard D. Titus said...

I'm a huge fan of what you guys do at seedcamp. The talent level is exemplerary and, given my passion for emerging markets and entrepreneurs is a clear fit to my personal ethos and passions.

But I'm posting here to thank you and the seedcamp team
for helping light the candle which will hopefully grow into a wildfire of european (west and east) entrepreneurs, which is a necessity if we are going to escape this catostrophic economic recession.

Best

 
At 11/12/2009 05:25:00 pm, Blogger Jangool said...

"An interesting sidenote is that none of Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, Checkpoint or VMware took in more than $10m in outside capital. They were just great businesses"

Worth pointing out that this would be equivalent to around $50m to $80m in today's money.

 
At 11/13/2009 11:06:00 am, Blogger MasterD said...

An important reason for the success of SC is that its a private initiative run by 'passionate' and 'entrepreneurial' people with a mission to strenghten the cohesion in Europe's start-up ecosystem and create EU wide winners. We have to admit that regardless all the millions that are being pumped into start-ups by local initiatives accross Europe, SC is the only platform that leverages start-ups on a pan-European level. Something which is hard to achieve on your own as bootstrapped start-up, especially in a fragemented continent as Europe. It might yet be too early to have a first great EXIT, but for sure Seedcamp is an estalished, recognized and valued brand, a success on its own! Personally, I hope that the current team is able retain the passion and the drive for SCII and eventually build the much needed EU network of tier 1 'successful' entrepreneurs. Venturing in EU 'should' be as attractive as venturing in the US. I look forward seeing the first generation of SC winners investing or taking board positions in the 2nd generation of SC winners.

You guys are doing a great job!

Didier (from mini SC Berlin09)

 
At 11/24/2009 08:15:00 am, Anonymous Mark Sorsa-Leslie said...

Put simply, I could not have had a better springboard to my career as an entrepreneur than being able to attend SC week in 2007. Massive kudos to you, Reshma and the team for starting something wonderful.

Mark

ps. Reavia has gone on to score some major clients in the last two years...might not be a household name, but it is quietly becoming a force in the UK real estate industry...

 
At 9/16/2010 11:36:00 am, Anonymous James @ document scanning said...

great post saul. Its great to see help being given to Europe's start-ups, especially when it comes to competing with the Americans. I will follow SeedCamp's progress with interest.

 
At 11/30/2010 04:33:00 am, Blogger anythingany said...

I think the cultural and geographical diversity/fragmentation in Europe could actually be an opportunity. In the US, its "one size fits all" but in Europe, DC Hatscompanies can really focus and tailor their products to specific geo-demographics. The product/market fit might be tighter. Of course, the simplicity of one huge market like the US is great, but I think the European challenges can actually be turned into positives.

 
At 5/25/2011 11:07:00 am, Anonymous MattocG said...

Great post and a great initiative and I can only admire what you are doing!

 
At 5/30/2011 09:21:00 pm, Anonymous http://www.firstbuilders.co.uk/kitchen-fitting said...

You guys are great. Keep up the good work.

 

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