Seedcamp – theEuropean tech startup accelerator – launched in 2007. It’s since been joined by TechStars London (formerly Springboard),StartupBootCamp and corporate networks likeWayra to name just a few. It seems like Europe is awash with accelerators right now.
This week is Seedcamp Week and investors are flooding into London to take pitches from new Seedcamp companies. There have been 93 Seedcamp companies since it started in 2007. Of those, 76 are still operational, 6 were acquired and 11 closed. Seedcamp Startups have raised $120 million in total since 2007, and $1.3 million is the average follow-on funding raised per startup after it’s been through the Seedcamp process. That’s important to know because the worst kind of accelerator is one where companies wither and die just after the programme. Accelerators need to accelerate.
• In 2007, Seedcamp backed six startups. To date, they’ve invested in a total of 93 companies with 10 so far in the first half of 2013.
• They’ve had a total of 7,876 applications over the years and more than 2,000 already in 2013.
• The applications came from 70 different countries, and Seedcamp has backed founders from a total of 36 different countries across the EMEA region in the past six years.
• The nearly 100 startups accepted have gone on to secure $120 million in capital to date, having raised $5.5 million from Seedcamp. That translates into a “22x” in investment terms, and represents an average of $1.3 million in follow-on funding per company.
• Seedcamp companies typically raise between $330,000 and $2 million in the round immediately following the Seedcamp program. This generally happens within 3-6 months of entry.
• Seedcamp startups have gone on to raise money from 354 investors across Europe, the U.S., and Asia.
• Some 80 percent of the 2012 companies (who entered the program at various stages last year) have gone on to raise follow-on funding.
• Out of the companies in the 2013 batch, approximately 60 percent have already secured follow-on funding.
Europe only has 20 percent of the venture capital that’s available in the United States, from about 25 percent the amount of VCs. Thus, accelerators have a more significant profile in Europe – and they solve one of Europe’s biggest problems,which is clustering startups together so they learn stuff faster.
However, Europe is its own game, and frankly you shouldn’t compare everything in Europe to the U.S.
Seedcamp’s approach is to trek around the world – mainly Western and Eastern Europe – hoovering up startups at local events and then encouraging them to cluster in a big hub, predominantly London. This is where the biggest investors reside, and among the most experienced in Europe.
Other accelerators in Europe seem to want to start lots of local divisions based on cities, rather than centralising in one, as Seedcamp does. That means the quality can vary from programme to programme depending on the people involved locally. You will hear that X accelerator is “great in X city but terribly in Y city” for instance.
StartupBootcamp by contrast is going for numbers quite quickly. Launched in 2010, it now has 95 alumni companies: 77 are active, two have exited so far, and the average is €350,000 raised by each startup, equatingto €65million. It has a programme in seven cities.
Wayra, which started in 2011 in LatAm but is now in various European locations, has about 264 companies (across 14 academies, in 12 countries). Of those, 48% have “graduated.” No Wayra company has been acquired yet and 19 have closed.
All of that aside, Seedcamp is taking not so much a “pile ‘em high” approach as one that goes after the most high-end investors and investment strategies, and concentrating its fire on one big week a year in London.