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.

Blogging from Seedcamp Week

Four years ago, Seedcamp was a brand new name in the minds of European entrepreneurs. A great iniative of a bunch of UK business angels and venture capital funds, Seedcamp put it’s bet on the European entrepreneurs talent for starting and developing great web companies.

Years have passed and now Seedcamp Week reached it’s 4th edition. Bigger than ever, with 29 companies from 16 countries and almost 400 mentors helping them to improve their businesses, Seedcamp seems to stretch it’s limits year after year.

One thing is certain for sure: at Seedcamp Week you feel like a kid in a candy shop. You’ve got in the same room Dave McClure (does he need a presentation ?), Reshma Sohoni from Seedcamp, Iain Dodsworth from TweetDeck, Alex Hoye from Latitude, Fred Destin from Atlas Ventures, Ryan Carson from Carsonified, and so many other great entrepreneurs trying to change the world and also make a buck out of it.

But the quest is not over yet, as years pass by and questions start to arrise: how positive is the impact Seedcamp has on the companies they invest in ? Can Seedcamp do more for the European entrepreneurship ?

Because of the partnership between How to Web and Seedcamp, we’ve got the great opportunity of having a few talks with entrepreneurs and investors about the Seedcamp path, the opportunities of the global web and  how to develop great web apps and businesses. If you’re interested in that, get connected to the How to Web Blog and follow us during the next days. Also, if interested, send us some questions and we’ll try to get the answers for you.

Reshma Sohoni and Patrick de Laive are joining the Startup Challenge jury!

We are happy to present the 2 new members of the Startup Challenge jury: Reshma Sohoni – Seedcamp CEO and Patrick de Laive – Initiator of The Next Web Conference and TheNextWeb.com blog.

Startup Challenge is the startup competition organised by How To Web whose purpose is that of finding tomorrow’s most promising businesses. In order to enter the competition startups should have less than 2 years of activity, target a global or international market and shouldn’t have raised any VC funding until the present moment. The deadline for the registrations is the 10th of October 2010. The 6 finalists will have the chance to present their pitch at the How To Web 2010 Conference and will receive:

  • one free conference ticket and 50% discount for the second ticket (125 EUR, including VAT);
  • a 5 minute presentation of their new product or service for free to the 500 Internet professionals who are attending the How To Web 2010 conference on the main stage;
  • a dedicated space, situated in the Startup Challenge Area, where they can present his product or service to all attendees;
  • individual mentoring discussions with all the members of the jury, for getting feedback and improving their product or service.

Both Reshma and Patrick will also be joining us for the How To Web 2010 conference as speakers. Check out the conference schedule for more details.

Registrations for Startup Challenge 2010 are now open!

Think you have the next big idea and just need a little bit of help getting started? Then How To Web is challenging you to a Startup Challenge for East European fame. Any startup from anywhere in the world can enter the competition and prove to us that their idea is the one that will rock the web in 2011.

As of today, startups from all over the world can submit their start-up information and elevator pitch to our Startup Challenge competition. In order to enter the competition startups should have less than 2 years of activity, target a global or international market and shouldn’t have raised any VC funding until the present moment. Our professional jury will decide which 6 of the startups will be finalists of the competition. The 6 finalists will have the chance to present their pitch at the How To Web 2010 Conference and will receive:

  • one free conference ticket and 50% discount for the second ticket (125 EUR, including VAT);
  • a 5 minute presentation of their new product or service for free to the 500 Internet professionals who are attending the How To Web 2010 conference on the main stage;
  • a dedicated space, situated in the Startup Challenge Area, where they can present his product or service to all attendees;
  • individual mentoring discussions with all the members of the jury, for getting feedback and improving their product or service.

At the end of the two conference days, 3 of the 6 Startup Challenge finalists will be awarded based on the jury’s and attendees’ evaluation. The winners will be promoted via How to Web’s official social media channels and get a great pack of rewards (soon to be announced).

More details regarding the competition you can find here on the Startup Challenge official page.

The deadline for registration is 10th of October 2010. So hurry up! Don’t hesitate to notify all startups you think deserve the opportunity to pitch on-stage at How To Web 2010 and the attention that comes with it.

Confirmed speaker: Patrick de Laive (The Next Web)

We’re excited to announce that Patrick de Laive, Initiator of The Next Web Conference and TheNextWeb.com blog, will be joining us as a speaker for the How To Web 2010 Conference.

Patrick de Laive is an internet entrepreneur and evangelist and a true web enthusiast. He was the Initiator of one of Europe’s largest web conferences The Next Web and he also started OpenCoffee Amsterdam and co-organized Kings of Code. Patrick also co-founded TwitterCounter and Paydro.

Check out our full list of confirmed speakers and schedule for the 2 conference days.

Get your ticket now! Very early bird tickets are still available for sale.

Should you keep your day job? – Pros & Cons

Some say that entrepreneurshp is synonym with following your dream and passion. Entrepreneurs should therefore be risk-takers who believe in something and want to change the world and make things happen. And therefore they should quit their day job, take a risk and start bootstrapping in order to make their start-up successful. However there are other more moderate advisers who will tell you that moonlighting (keeping your day job and working part-time during your spare time for your business) is an even better idea for starters. So, which one will you take? Bootstrapping or moonlighting? This is definitely a tough question for most entrepreneurs in their early days. Here are some pros and cons for moonlighting.

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