Seedcamp winners: what’s the trend ?

While on my way to Seedcamp Week, the main question I had on my mind was what are the criterias used for selecting the winners. That’s a tricky question, and let me tell you why.

When any VC decides to finance a startup, the criterias are quite general: great team, some experience, big market opportunity and/or powerfull innovation. But everybody has different priorities.

During the first two editions, Seedcamp selected as winners mainly disruptive innovation startups, focused on developing technology and engaging in new markets. That’s a risky bet, because the market addressed might prove to be too small for the VC’s to make a great exit out of that. Also, geting further investments for a technology-disruptive startup is more difficult in Europe, and the startup might run just half the way to the exit. But that might be also a rewarding strategy, and probably the only chance to build world-wide champions.

However, in 2009, Seedcamp selected mosty businesses that already had a finished product, and also had a client base and revenue, but were liniar businesses in terms of innovation. And that’s a different game. For sure most of them are great businesses, but do they have the potential to disrupt the market in such a way that it might get the investors to a great exit ? Don’t forget European internet market is just a tiny part of the global market, after all.

Before choosing the 2010 winners, the question was: will Seedcamp move further from it’s original seed investment focus, or will it go back to it’s roots ? It is not a matter of personal taste, but rather a more mathematical calculation, because Seedcamp, as a pre-VC investment fund, needs to be sure as much as possible that their winners get the next VC investment for moving on.

Most of us were betting on the first option. However, we were wrong.

Between the 11 winners, many are technology innovation businesses, and that’s a big deal. It means Seedcamp managed to gather a bunch of Internet-focused VC’s, with enough market knowledge to push technology inovation in Europe. Personally, I think this trend encourages Eastern European startups to apply, mainly because their skills are more technical-focused then market-focused.

Seedcamp 2010 is a wrap, but there are many things to be told. We’ll also be back soon with a interviews of some of the teams and some of the How to Web 2010 speakers, hope you’ll enjoy them too.

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