Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mini Seedcamp Paris Feb 24, 2009


Four American girls. Two balding French men. French country side moving across the window.

Taige types on his laptop. The round girl sitting beside him is taking too much space.

Taige (v.o.):
Mini-Seedcamp Paris is over. For my first Seedcamp event, it was pretty good. The food was pretty good. Spending my birthday in Paris was pretty good. I would be attending a Marie Curie Hospital University lecture now if I didn't have to go back to London.

Yeah. It would be great to attend a French pre-med lecture. I got a sample last night and it was just a warm feeling, like picking up a musical instrument after several years and still being able to play. I stayed over in the latin quarter, university district. It was great to actually live in a Parisian apartment, instead of a Marriott or yha hostel, where I usually stay. Paris is like London in many ways in how antiquated some parts are. Yet, the pastry smells surprise and delight you as you walk pass a garbage truck.

I'm finally understanding why Seedcamp has so many great mentors. It's great for mentors because they get 1) the opportunity to mentor and give back to the community. In fact, building the startup ecosystem seems to be the main objective of Seedcamp. And the mentors are like the symbiotic counterpart of the producers, the entrepreneurs that take abiotic and create innovation that feed our GDP growth and prosperity. So mentors are like the spikey spikes that grow on shrubs that prevent herbivores from destroying them. Or a better analogy. Like myrmecinae ants that live and protect the vegetation they inhabit. 2) Mentors benefit by networking opportunities that allow them to meet other VCs, angels, established entrepreneurs, service providers such as PR agencies and lawyers specializing in venture. 3) They are able to source deals from these events. They meet entrepreneurs and they see business opportunities. So there's a lot mentors get out of it. Plus who doesn't like traveling to Europe's most innovative cities and meeting the brightest the country has to offer?

Startups benefit a lot through the validation and opportunities provided by Seedcamp. The VCs I remember are Index, Eden, Balderton, Atomico, IBM, Avlen (a Paris one), Wellington partners, and that's it.

But the whole voting for your favorite startup was the most unscientific method I was ever involved with. I think even my fashion show voting where we used playing cards and boxes was better. Wait the most unscientific, I think was one where we just listened to the loudness of the claps for the standup show I put on in high school. But this was close.

I feel bad for some startups who weren't able to fully explain their ideas to the audience. They need some business guys. Curiously enough, there were many older entrepreneurs here. Like in their 30s or have kids. You don't see much of that in the US where the guys are 21-26. I asked a few people and did my own thinking and concluded that 1) the media didn't really cover this space well, didn't make it glamorous 2) startup costs are higher 3) trust in young people less and 4) fear of failure is higher.

Two startups I'm excited about are Musicovery and MxM. Their businesses seem to be quite viable with a good team.

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