Deadline składania aplikacji w tegorocznej edycji Seedcamp upływa za 3 dni. Jeżeli jeszcze tego nie zrobiłaś, to właśnie teraz jest czas – wypełnij formularz i daj szansę swojemu projektowi – link do formularza
Parę miesięcy temu mieliśmy okazje spotkać się z Reshmą Sohoni (CEO, Seedcamp) i porozmawiać o głównych błędach i potknięciach aplikantów – stworzyliśmy listę pytań ( i odpowiedzi), które miały nam i Wam pomóc lepiej przygotować swoją prezentację przed funduszami zrzeszonymi w inicjatywie Seedcamp. Za pomoc z pytaniami dziękuje Tomkowi Sieroniowi i Maćkowi Saganowskiemu. Zapraszam do lektury.
Aha, i jeszcze jedno – aby sobie ułatwić i zapewnić szybką wymianę korespondencji – sami udzielaliśmy odpowiedzi tam gdzie mogliśmy, prosząc jedynie Reshmę o autoryzację – w ten sposób czasem są dwie odpowiedzi do jednego pytania. Nasze są kursywą.
Q: Who has bigger chance a team or an individual?
A: A team. We see a bigger potential and less risk in a team.
Ideally a 2-4 person team where there?s 1 business oriented person and 1 very techie person. Others should be developers who are helping on code and putting the product together.
Q: Who do you prefer, MBA or computer geek?
A: Computer geek. It doesn?t mean MBA has no chance to win, but young, passionate tech people is what we are looking for.
Exactly. Unless the MBA is teamed with a really techie person or the MBA himself is a techie person
Q: What is more important idea or people?
A: Definitely people. Idea is just 10% of the whole thing. The most important is the ability of proper execution ? and this is about people.
Q: Should an idea be local, global or European?
A: (a) global (b) global (c) European. No local markets sorry (except China)
Yes, we really want European entrepreneurs to be inspired to build really global/big companies. Sometimes, need to start local to get traction but it shouldn?t be ideas that are purely for a 1-country market
Q: Is an idea on paper enough or do you expect working prototype?
A: Working prototype is a must. You need to show us something.
Q: Who are you really looking for? Another Skype?
A: Even though it sounds BIG, yes that is true. We look for the next BIG thing in Europe.
Even can say Google. We want ambitious projects from great ambitious entrepreneurs
Q: What field? Is hardware ok too?
A: Online businesses, software ? making use of Internet. Something that we can see certain progress of in a short period of time. Hardware doesn?t match that requirement.
Also, with things like chipsets and hardware the initial capital requirements are huge and Seedcamp invests a small amount, so the combination of capital invested and showing progress need to match.
Q: Is Seedcamp web focused or are mobile solutions ok too?
A: Mobile is OK too. But keep in mind we prefer web.
Actually, mobile companies are great. We don?t have a preference for Web. As everyone will admit, mobile companies have a tougher market to crack. But we?d love to see more mobile companies apply
Q: Do you prefer B2B or B2C?
A: B2C definitely. The sales cycle in B2B world is just too long for us.
Maybe I didn?t communicate this well. But we do like B2B companies as well. It just has to be a clear proposition and you have to understand the sales cycles well and have real domain expertise/experience
Q: Do you prefer original, far fetched ideas or foolproof, bound to succeed business models?
A: We definitely want to see original ideas but based on a realistic sense of market adoption and potential business models. Ideas that require a real change in customer behaviour take longer to adopt and so there has to be a real value in the offering if teams are going after a change in customer behavior
Q11: Copycat ideas of websites that worked in the US or Asia – fine at Seedcamp ’07, what about Seedcamp ’08?
Wouldn?t agree that they were all copycat ideas. Mint was started earlier but Kublax didn?t know of Minit?s existence when they began development. Rent Mine Online is trying a go again at the P2P rental model b/c of fundamental changes in being able to use the social graph. In any case, we are working to improve the quality of ideas and applicants/teams for Seedcamp 08. So, the more ambitious the better and the more defendable the prototype the better
Q: Should we send you our prototype for evaluation?
A: Actually, we do have a spot on the application for showing us the prototype. We encourage applicants to note a url with prototype. Because it?s likely that when we see the prototype it helps us understand and judge the product/idea better
Q: Application, be brief or write as much as you can?
A: Brief. Make it elevator speech if you can. Don?t write too much.
Agree. Be succinct. That?s part of being a great leader and entrepreneur. Be able to describe each answer with the most punch and depth
Q: Are there any particular types of businesses or domains (ie. online travel, online telco, etc) that you prefer over the other?
A: A few VCs have been talking across conferences about trends they see. We like consumer finance solutions, affiliate and other online advertising. Mainly, we want to see solutions that are solving real customer/people problems. Don?t just build a business b/c you see a VC like that space.
Q: What about revenue models, do you like certain more than others (pure advertising, affiliate, subscription based, micropayments)?
A: ?Any of those are great. Subscription tends to be really tough as people are less and less willing to pay anything upfront. But Freemium models can work as well.
Seedcamp’s offer, etc:
Q: Is 50K GBP good enough to start a business?
A: Yes. It?s just good enough to get you started!
Absolutely and it?s actually 50K Euros. If the team has coding talent and a business person, then this amount of initial funding is definitely enough to focus on product development for 3 months, pay rent in London, buy food, etc. The money allows teams to be just comfortable enough and really use complete focus for the 3 months to build and make lasting relationships
Q: What is this money for?
A: Travel and accommodation. This money will help you get out of your current job (if you have one), move to London for the required time and focus only on your business.
Exactly, see above. Teams should not be spending this money on outsourced talent or services. All development in that time should really happen in the core team
Q: Should we really move to London?
A: Yes. Seedcamp is not about 50K, it?s about the opportunity we give you to spread your wings and fly. And believe us ? things do happen when you are here, when you work with us towards making your dream come true.
Nicely said. It may sound dreamy but it?s really true. If you look at Zemanta, Buildersite, and Kublax they are real example of how fast things can move being part of this ecosystem!
Q: Is there any refund of the costs of Seedcamp week for the 20 selected teams?
It?s part of the commitment you?re making for your business. And even the non-5 teams gain a lot in that 1 week. School of Everything is a great example of this
Q: What happens when we are in London?
A: And this is the most important question. Your time in London is what Seedcamp is all about. We will get you to meet with different mentors: business owners, entrepreneurs, VC investors, business angels, IT experts, lawyers, marketing experts etc. We will help you to shape your sales pitch, get your demo working. Our workshops and individual coaching will teach you how to move around and talk to the world of finance. This is where you can get all the knowledge and experience how to get the money for your business. Hopefully by the end of your stay in London ? you will sign a deal with VC or BA for much more than 50K.
Yes, all of that and its again not purely about the money. Hopefully, your business will have evolved faster in 3 months than it could have in 6-9 months living anywhere else or not being part of the ecosystem
Q: What about our girlfriends / boyfriends while we stay on London for 3 months?
A: Well, a start-up needs a little sacrifice. You can come and live here together (if he or she can cook) or RyanAir and WizzAir will help you with the distance.
And hopefully the relationship lasts and they get to benefit as much from your success as you do. That?s what support is all about isn?t it. Being entrepreneur is definitely not about an easier life. So, be really passionate about it and have fun. It?s still a lot of fun.
Q: What are the benefits for the companies that won’t make it to the final 20?
A: We plan more extensive feedback in 2008. So the main benefit (as usual in this kind of contacts) is the knowledge and experience that you gain on during the process. Even filling in the application can be quite educational for some of you ? it can help you too look at your project from a different angle.
It has helped many teams really synthesize and crystallize their vision, idea, target market. So, it?s still a great exercise for building your business.
Q: Are there any benefits for the finalists other than the 50K and mentoring for a short period of time?
A: Please do not underestimate this 3 month mentoring period and the whole network of support that the young company is surrounded with. It?s much more than 50K and ?short mentoring time?. You get exposed to the world. Through the events, meetings and media. And remember you build your business with us and learn on the way too ? a lot.
Also, these relationships are for the long term. Even beyond your current company these are the people you?ll consistently engage with for the next 15-20 years.
Q: Do you sign NDA?
A: No. There are too many applications with very similar ideas and we are not able to sign any NDA due to that fact. Have no fear ? your ideas are safe with us ? we don?t have to time to take it out from you and develop it ourselves. If you consider some of your data to be crucial for your business and you don?t feel like talking about that in the beginning ? it?s OK with us, just don?t put it in your application.
Just do ensure there?s enough meat there in the application for us to be able to grasp the power of what you are developing and why it will really solve customer problems
Q: Do we need to go to London anyway. Just give us 50k and we’ll take care of the rest. Is that cool?
A: If you think your business can fly on 50K and you don?t feel like putting some more effort into it (by going to London) then please don?t send your application.
Q: Based on experience of previous teams, what is the cost of living in London (rent, food, etc) and how much of the 50k are we likely to burn on maintaining ourselves in London?
A: Rent is probably the most expensive. But if you?re clever and work and live in the same flat, cook often, you should be able to save more. The 50K Euros will definitely last 3 months and a bit beyond. This is why it?s critical to spend it wisely beyond the core development
Q: Are you open to negotiate your 10% stake, down?
A: Right now our model is still pretty set but we are looking to tweak the stake and capital equation. Stay tuned for updates on this.
Q: If the London thing is mostly about mentorship, contacts and advancing the idea, do we need to register a company in UK, or can we just have it registered in Poland?
A: Likely you?ll need to register a company in the UK if you ever want investors from outside Poland. Any US or W. Europe investors pretty much require it. But don?t worry, we help with doing this from one of the law firms that?s invested in Seedcamp. This should be the least of the concerns
Q: What if a member of my team doesn’t speak English very well, can she still come??
A: Yes that?s fine. Ultimately it?s all about getting the most out of your experience and interaction with the mentors. And we want more folks to feel part of the ecosystem. If he/she isn?t great at English you can help them and I?m sure that if you are bringing this person all the way to London then you find a lot of value in their contribution.
Q: When do you exit?
A: We are committed to helping build the company for as long as the team is. That said if a new investor wants to come in and buy out Seedcamp down the road, we?d be open to this as well.