Seedcamp wrapup and winners
Well Seedcamp week is slowly drawing to a close and what a fantastic success it’s been. The who’s who of European entrepreneurship was there. Imagine yourself as a lonely young and of course penniless founder and suddenly spending one on one time with Zennstrom (video), Hobermann, Rimer, Klein & Klein, Jung, Samwer and many others. Don’t take my word for it, read @argumente.
The evolution of pitches by the 20 finalists from Monday to Thursday was impressive. I heard only good words from the entrepreneurs themselves about the insights they gathered during this exercise. The whole experience really deserves to call itself "camp" (not that the entrepreneurs were flaming fabulous or anything) as every participant provided and benefited. Also read Sam.
Seedcamp is great because it combines a marketing "statement of intent" (putting Europe on the map and bridging the "aspiration gap") with a very real outcome (companies get funded). I am with Ben Metcalfe who bemoans the lack of truly breakthrough ideas, but Rome was not built in a day. I am clearly not with Pajama Lady who seems to have had a bad day.
If the structure keeps itself functioning well (and with Reshma — who has left the comfort of 3i for full-time Seedcamping — at the helm I am sure this will be the case) then you can be sure next year’s event with be absolutely phenomenal in terms of dealflow.
Bizarrely there was almost zero French representation at the event, something we will have work on. Not to mention no fellow Belgians :-(
Now on to some leigthweight banter.
- I have never seen so many $1bn market opportunities in such a short time. Everything is a $1bn market opportunity. Apparently even selling arts and crafts is a $1.2bn opportunity. I guess quilts are back in fashion…
- The CEO of Zemanta had obviously benefited from the mentoring sessions; halfway through his presentation (drumroll): "and now for the hockey sticks". Big laughs all around.
- We also had 2 engineering graduates (Imperial, Cambridge) doing a social network for girls. The issue of what would motivate two dapper young men to help young women "form personal tastes and styles" did cross my mind, but never mind. I am closer to Jeremy Clarkson’s age these days, so I am sure this is just me . Some fascinating facts as well: apparently 91% of girls are interested in fashion. Oh, and this too is a $1.5bn market opportunity :-)
- There was also Project Playfair, aiming to move from www to mmm (Magna Matrix Mundo) and quoting Homer. Putting poetry back into spreadsheet management, no small feat !
- My favourite chutzpah moment was probably the founder of Tickex who, when asked whether he would take Seedcamp money, said :"it depends what deal you provide and whether you can help us grow in our market". I like your style. Of course the rules of Seedcamp (investment and dilution) were clear from the start, so the question of whether the system was abused to get exposure was on everyone’s lips.
- To end it all in style, Techcrunch announced its UK relaunch with a party at Robert Loch‘s Ghetto Fabulous loft in Chinatown. Mike Butcher is editing. Bizarrely it was covered first in the Guardian :-) Well done Jemima Kiss for one-upping the most prolific of bloggers.