I attendedSeedcamp last week in London at the new Google Campus. I’ve been involved with the accelerator program for a couple of years but it was actually started in 2007 and is celebrating its 5th birthday. Every year the quality of the companies and the overall support for the program steps up and it’s great to see.
At a time of such economic gloom and uncertainty, it’s great to see something so positive, so vibrant and so dynamic. It gives you hope that we can get the economy going again and that the next generation of entrepreneurs across Europe’s tech industry can play a big part in this.
I’m often asked what it’s going to take to save the UK’s economy and firmly believe that entrepreneurs are our best hope. Events like Seedcamp add more fuel to this belief.
Since 2007 Seedcamp has invested in 73 companies from 25 countries – and an incredible 75% have gone on to raise follow-on funding of more than $70m. These companies have so far created more than 800 jobs.
These are very impressive numbers. Seedcamp has helped to identify many of Europe’s most promising entrepreneurs and start-ups and greatly increased their chances of success through funding and access to an amazing network that taps every part of the eco-system.
Seedcamp encourages their companies to re-locate to London ensuring better access to their network and providing an environment that makes it easier to build a big company. This solves the issue of fragmentation that has always dogged Europe. Everything needs to come together to build a big business and it’s great to see the market coalesce around central hubs with London and Berlin leading the way.
What’s even more impressive about Seedcamp is how it has become such a self-sustaining community. All the various constituents that make Seedcamp such a success, including investors, experts, entrepreneurs, sponsors and corporates are all fully invested in the program. Everyone likes to feel they are doing their bit to support Europe’s growing tech eco-system and clearly it’s in everyone’s interests to see the market growing. But beyond this there are benefits to being involved for everyone, whether that’s access to new deals, business opportunities or the general interest of seeing the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovation.
Seedcamp themselves are clearly motivated by ‘the greater good’ and making such a positive contribution to Europe’s tech eco-system. But at the same time they want to make money and this has to be a driving force. Without making money Seedcamp would not be able to attract high quality people, it would not have the credibility it needs and it would not be able to attract enough investment in the first place. I believe they will go on make a good deal of money and perform at the top end of the investment market. But it’s the broader benefits that make it work so well.
I’m looking forward to seeing where they’ll be after another 5 years.
Well done to Saul, Reshma, Carlos, Philip and the whole team!