Seedcamp

Berlin has scored a victory over London in the battle to be the main hub for Europe’s start-up companies after Seedcamp split its flagship event of Europe’s largest support programme for fledgling tech businesses between the two cities.

The incubator programme, which began life with a week-long event at London’s Imperial College in September 2007, will now hold four such gatherings in the UK and German capitals. 

Tim Bradshaw

The motivating force behind Seedcamp – the early stage tech investor and events programme that got underway today in London – is to bolster the European technology community.

Alongside better-known deals like AOL-Bebo and Ebay-Skype, the $700m sale of internet security firm MessageLabs to Symantec in 2008 is one of Europe’s biggest recent exits, and its two founders were on hand to share their experiences. 

Tim Bradshaw

This summer has seen some interesting blog posts from the venture capital community on the “rise of the super angels” – seasoned entrepreneurs who’ve cashed out and are reinvesting in the next generation.

Seedcamp, the European investor and events programme, is a big part of that story. Next week will see the fourth Seedcamp week in London, with 23 young companies jostling for up to €50,000 in investment and expert mentoring in what’s been dubbed the “X Factor for startups”.

But the increasingly active angel community means that Seedcamp has found itself facing competition too. 

Tim Bradshaw

Tech entrepreneurs are fleeing from social networks and advertising revenue streams and moving into business applications, according to Seedcamp, the start-up investor that holds its annual event in London later this month.

Seedcamp – which was founded by Index Ventures’ Saul Klein and Reshma Sohoni, formerly of 3i – has seen advertising-based business models drop from 30 per cent to 10 per cent of the 1,500 entries to its Pop Idol-style investment contest since 2007.

By contrast, marketplaces that take a fee or percentage of transactions have risen by more than 60 per cent in the last three years, while “freemium” businesses have more than doubled. Productivity and business applications have increased 90 per cent while online games have “skyrocketed”, said Ms Sohoni. 

Tim Bradshaw

Seedcamp’s winners have just been announced. They are: 

Tim Bradshaw

Is this the best time there’s ever been to be a start-up? Or does the current banking crisis signal the death of American-style risk-taking for new businesses seeking funding? Each view was espoused by two serial tech entrepreneurs at Seedcamp, the tech start-up conference in London.

Brent Hoberman, founder of Lastminute.com and latterly Mydeco, a furniture site, was resolutely optimistic. 

Tim Bradshaw

Dopplr, one of the darlings of the early adopter crowd, announced an all-star roster of angel backers today.

A social network primarily aimed at business travellers, Dopplr informs its users when serendipity delivers themselves and their frequent-flier contacts to the same city. 

Tim Bradshaw

A who’s who of European technology entrepreneurs will be providing guidance and mentoring to a new generation of start-ups at this year’s Seedcamp. Founded by Saul Klein of Index Ventures and run by Reshma Sohoni, formerly of 3i and Softbank Capital, Seedcamp aims to build and support a community of European tech entrepreneurs, culminating in its main event in London this September.

The best-known entrepreneurs on this year’s advisor list are Niklas Zennstrom, founder of Skype, the internet telephony service, and more recently Joost, a web video provider; and Brent Hoberman of travel site Lastminute.com and, latterly, Mydeco, an online furniture retailer.