I am one of the founders of GoWorkaBit which won the Seedcamp week London in February 2014. Here you will find here ideas about what is crucial for winning the event and becoming top 1% of European startups.
In case you have not figured it out Seedcamp week means having around 20 startups together in a free and intensive business development training. If your business looks impressive then you will win the Seedcamp week which means getting small investment and access to Seedcamp family together with all the benefits listed on their webpage. Bear in mind that you are not competing with other teams for winning the event but you are competing with yourself. There is no predetermined number of winners and you will win if Seedcamp team finds something extraordinary in you above the threshold.
Firstly and most importantly the startup must have the baseline by having solid business with good management team and it must be able to communicate it very clearly. Communication is important from day one and needs good preparation. Event itself starts by having introductions and practice pitches on day one followed immediately with day two where you pitch in front of the 10-15 investors who are the people making the actual decision during the week.
These people will be following you all week as many of them will take part in mentoring sessions also. In addition the Seedcamp team will ask from other mentors what they felt about your startup.
Pitch is its own big category. It would be best to master the pitch before you stand in from of the decisionmakers but anyway you are guaranteed to have great pitch by the friday due a lot of practice and assistance from Seedcamp week people.
Secondly the team must be full of energy, know what they are doing, have clear responsibilities and share the vision. Carlos and Reshma are watching you very closely and you can expect to have private conversations during the day or parties in the evening alone with one founder. If founders stories don’t add up then it comes out very quickly.
We also printed a roll-up and paid a lot of money to take it with us in the airplane. We rolled it open everywhere, even when we went to coffeeshop in the morning to discuss our idea with the team.We was asked to relocate the roll-up only once which is good because we were noticed and found the limits.
We made even more preparations by taking enough local sweets to share with mentors during the session as you normally do when meeting business partners. People liked it, they were more positive and only a few times it was called “bribery”.
Seedcamp team is looking for progress during the week. Most visible progress is pitch. Another way to see progress is what you actually say about your idea in the beginning and end of the week. With such an impressive list of mentors you meet is not logical if your business idea will not become much more sensible and clear. If you don’t make any changes to your plans then most probably you are stupid beyond help or pure genius(which happens not so often).
Last crucial item is preparation ahead of arrival to Seedcamp. The most important preparation is for meeting with mentors. It is best to think of your business and write down everything you need to know about it during the once in a lifetime opportunity of discussing it with up to 100 experienced business people. If you have the questions then you can browse the mentor list and direct the question to specific mentor. We also tried to browse mentors and think of question to ask but it did not work out because its very time consuming and you don’t have much free time available. I even recommend to have accommodation near the facilities to save time on travel. ROI will be good enough.
I already mentioned the pitch, even if you are trained well during the week then pitch must be still great when you arrive. Also please take care of gadgets, business cards and other stuff to share. When you have the prerequisite, good business with great team, and follow the advice in this article then you can be confident that you will win the Seedcamp also. Please send me feedback if this advice helped you, I will be very grateful.