Earlier this week, we announced the launch of yet another startup accelerator in Europe. Oxygen Accelerator joined the growing list of YCombinator-like programs in the UK, including Hackfwd, Springboard, Seedcamp and Startupbootcamp.
Yet, while each of these programs provides seed capital and mentoring to early-stage startups, they differ in the way that they operate and interact with the local ecosystem. Seedcamp, for example, hosts a number of “mini” Seedcamp or 1-day events in various countries in hunt of the best teams for its program. Now, Startupbootcamp – which recently announced that it would be launching in additional European cities - is taking a somewhat similar approach. Yet, rather than hosting its own “mini” events, the Copenhagen-based startup accelerator announced that it would be dropping €10K to sponsor the development of Startup Weekend in Europe.
The famous weekend program allowing entrepreneurs to connect, pitch and build product prototypes in just 54 hours has been going through very rapid international expansion – especially in Europe. There are currently 65 events planned in Europe for this year alone. For example, the first French program took place in Paris in December 2009 and today there are events in multiple cities throughout the country, including Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice, Marseille and Lyon. And that’s just France!
But one of the main issues that the program faces is the support that can be offered to entrepreneurs once those magical 54-hours are over. In France, some of Startup Weekend’s entrepreneurs have gone on to launch companies like Submate, Checkmymetro and Jimmy Fairly. Still, these examples are perhaps a bit of an exception to the rule; a majority of entrepreneurs have difficulty developing their projects after the event. But maybe a little seed capital and mentoring could do the trick!
Last year, Startup Weekend scored a grant from the Kauffman Foundation but the money is primarily for the organization’s US development. Therefore, Europe-based accelerators like Hackfwd and now Startupbootcamp have stepped up to fund the development of additional European events – realizing that Startup Weekend participants may be prime candidates for their startup acceleration programs. In fact, Hackfwd has already funded Startup Weekend grads, like Sharypic.
For the moment, Startupbootcamp has committed $10K to the cause and has plans to help with the organization of investor day-like events for Startup Weekend graduates. And I’m assuming we’ll see them scoop up companies in the same way that Hackfwd has.
So to all the future participants of Startup Weekend – if you thought everything ended after 54-hours, maybe you should guess again!