Mini Seedcamp – a fantastic catalyst for entrepreneurs

Frog Valley has had the chance to attend Mini Seedcamp in London, at UCL, and the event exceeded all expectations.

After an initial networking session, where we felt great enthusiasm (thanks to the organising team), the day was followed by the teams’ presentations. They were all of very high quality and standard, making it quite difficult to identify a winner among the 21 teams which had been selected to present their project in front of mentors from various leading tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Huddle, around 15 venture capitalists (Index Ventures, Atlas Ventures, Accel Partners), and others.

A brief presentation of the finalists:

CiRX (Twitter)
CiRX is a purpose-built platform enabling private companies, directors and investors to communicate and collaborate more efficiently saving time, money and effort.

DBVu Ltd (Twitter)
DBVu is a centralised monitoring and performance analytics service for MySQL databases where the customer installs a simple script that is securely polled by DBVu to retrieve over 500 MySQL variables.
Deskarma is a Stack Overflow for business. It enables users to share their business insights while building their professional reputation.

EDITD (Twitter)
EDITD is like Bloomberg for apparel retailers and brands. EDITD helps the industry to mitigate risk.

FinanceAcar is the world’s first car finance comparison website.

Float (Twitter)
Float gives businesses a clear picture of their future finances and the ability to make decisions confidently by removing the barriers to cash flow forecasting

GaBoom Ltd (Twitter) is a website where people can swap their video games in a simple, quick and efficient manner and that offers real, monetary compensation if there is a problem in the exchange.

Kliknik is a just-in-time web analytics service. It means all data, including historical data, is live and updated.

Kliknik was not able to attend Mini Seedcamp despite being selected.

Matchik is the first crowd-sourcing platform for Architecture and Home Design. It leverages the wasted talent of hundreds of thousands of young architects who are struggling or will struggle to find work as architects, turning it into open and custom home-design ideas to home-owners across the world.

Memrise is an online learning platform that turbocharges learning of words, facts and ideas.

MindQuilt (Twitter)
MindQuilt is a social Q&A platform that leverages matchmaking and gaming dynamics to get your questions answered and documented fast!

Movylo Shop (Twitter)
Movylo Shop is a SaaS mobile commerce platform. We help merchants to create their mobile store optimized for all phones and then to boost sales via mobile.

PageDo (Twitter)
PageDo is an online service for building and testing highly effective « landing pages » for paid search, email & social media campaigns. Users can create powerful landing pages in just a few minutes with no need to worry about design, HTML coding or hosting.

Profitero (Twitter)
Profitero’s actionable competitor analytics for online retailers to improve sales and optimize profits. Profitero automatically monitors competitive information (price, shipping, web presence, customer feedback, etc.) on a daily basis, benchmarks each product against competition, suggests priority products to work on, actions to take, and monitors sales impact from actions already taken. Profitero solves critical online retail problem to monitor competitors in real time and keep each product offer competitive to win a sale.

Publisha (Twitter)
Publisha allows you to create, publish, manage and monetize your digital content on multiple online, mobile and social platforms from one simple dashboard, for free! Platforms supported include Facebook, iPad, iPhone, Twitter, mobile and traditional web and includes full integration into all the major existing social platforms. The Publisha platform includes integrated revenue streams from advertising subscriptions, e-commerce and affiliate links, managed from the simple dashboard.

Scramblr Twitter
Scramblr is a subscription-based SaaS application that enables you to set up your online Studio, where you can find all the people and tools you need to bring your creative projects to life.

Smartupz provides a Customer Communication and Relationship management that helps companies create great buying experience for their customers.

Subsify Twitter
Subsify is the easiest route to online payments. We provide a well thought out payments gateway with a simple API for developers, real-time tools to analyse conversions, exceptional support and don’t require merchants to set up a merchant account.

Sweeble is a web-based self-publishing tool which can help schools and groups raise funds. It makes it easy for them to quickly create their own magazines, newsletters and brochures and publish them in print, on the web or (later stage) to web devices.

Trebax Innovations Ltd
Trebax Innovations Ltd is the first-to-market user/player acquisition and strategy solution provider. Our products help marketing teams and agencies dramatically improve their online marketing and conversion efforts through innovative tools and strategies.

Vsetech Twitter
Vsetech makes Mety an easy to learn and to use database engine. We call it A PHP Of Databases. Developers may start designing new apps or services without DB gurus.

EyeQuant Twitter
EyeQuant is a neurotechnological SaaS that helps companies dramatically improve user attention on their websites and display ads. It predicts within seconds where users will look and what users will see, enabling rapid and cost-efficient marketing ROI optimization.

It was difficult to identify a clear winner even if I have to admit that I had been quite impressed by the demo of EyeQuant (in addition to the humour of the team member); it has some similarities with Gazehawk and seems to be a hot topic at the moment as the latter has been recently backed by Y Combinator. Also, special mention to Editd, which has a very accomplished and attractive product for fashion retailers and brands. We are convinced that you will find some of the startups in the list of the finalists in the Seedcamp week which should take place in London in September. There was a good mix of startups at different stages of their development with some generating revenues and others still in the Beta phase of product maturity. VCs are encouraged to act quickly if they are interested in a startup as it is in the Valley where investors are rapidly putting their hands on promising entrepreneurs.

As for the startups, the most compelling aspect of the day were the mentoring sessions. They are a fantastic opportunity to get feedback on their products, business models and a chance to show how good their products are to mentors and other investors. Most of the teams came to get advice on the marketing and communication plan, funding options, how to make their product more attractive to wider markets and other legal issues.
After a nice lunch, provided by the organisers, there was a panel discussion with three very experienced ex-VCs: Max Niederhofer ex-Atlas Ventures, Greg Marsh ex-Index Ventures and Avid Larizadeh ex-Accel Partners and led by Saul Klein from Index ventures, discussing on « VCs turning entrepreneurs ». The debate was not intended to teach anything new but it was a good occasion to learn from a VC’s point of view on what is the best way to raise funds from VCs, even if the majority of the panellists thought the best option was not to approach VCs or only as the last option. For those who attended, we still don’t know what a small amount of money means for a VC.

Mini Seedcamp is not taking place only in London, they are running the same events in Zagreb, Prague, Paris and Tel Aviv to name a few. Seedcamp is trying to encourage European entrepreneurship and we can only applaud their initiative. For those who are reading this blog, I hope that we will be able to see some of you presenting your startups at Mini Seedcamp 2011.

Good luck

Regarding froggies, there was a good representation across the mentors’ panel. We met Olivier Wellmann, Vice President Product Management Advertising at OpenTV and Pamir Gelenbe from Big Bang Ventures. We also really appreciated the discussion with Paul Degueuse from 360 Capital Partners about the problems that French startups are facing when they want to expand abroad but also the strong assets they have. And finally, we met the usual suspect Stéphanie Rouget from Rouge Frog.

Some pics taken by us which captured the atmosphere of Mini Seedcamp 2010 in London

Much nicer pics taken by Stéphanie Rouget from Rouge Frog

Related articles:
AVC (musings of a VC in NYC) – Mini Seedcamp 2010

Mixergy – What Seedcamp Learned From Sprouting Startups In Europe – With Reshma Sohoni (CEO of Seedcamp)

Guardian – Mini Seedcamp: highlighting Europe’s young digital entrepreneurs

Update: Seedcamp has just released a post on their blog to provide a summary of the event but more importantly the winners of Mini Seedcamp by popular vote.

Editd – Fashion industry data analysis and forecasting
Eyequant – Fast eye tracking results for websites?
FinanceACar – Comprehensive comparisons for car finance
Memrise – Memory enhancement techniques applied to online Learning
PageDo – Automated landing pages

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