SeedSummit brings Europe's seed investors together for the first time

Yesterday some of Europe’s most influential and active seed/angel investors got together in London for a ‘summit’ organised by Seedcamp, the pan European early stage startup programme. We understand the morning of SeedSummit (press weren’t invited) was devoted to frank exchanges between the investors about the current stage of early stage seed funding in Europe, with the afternoon reserved for a more public showcase of Seedcamp startup pitches.

Held at the offices of NESTA in London, the event was outlined by Seedcamp’s Saul Klein on his blog.

Attendees included around 60 people, including high profile investors like Jeff Clavier, Martin Varsavsky, Brent Hoberman, Lukasz Gadowski, Stefan Glaenzer, Dave McClure, Andy Philips, William Reeve, Robin Klein, Jyri Engestrom and Sherry Coutu.
As Klein explained, Seedsummit will happen twice a year, bringing together “a critical mass of our region’s most active seed investors to try and establish a stronger, more cohesive network to support entrepreneurs.” Europe’s tech scene is (obviously) very fragmented, so it’s an initiative to be welcome.

Klein said: “there is a huge amount of seed investment activity across our region. But right now it is fragmented, in pockets, shares no learnings and almost never networks. In fact, there is no dedicated regional network that brings together active seed investors in a concentrated way and these are the folks that entrepreneurs (including Seedcamp ones) often look to as their first source of capital.”

By contrast in Silicon Valley – and to a large extent Tel Aviv in Israel – “there is enough concentration and flow that not only do startups have great choice but investors can share best practices, access more filtered dealflow and find great syndicate partners.”

But although in Europe “we do have some very active seed investors and some venture firms like Index, Mangrove and Eden are institutional investors who are active at the earliest stages in the market”, plus there are people like “Oliver Jung, Lukasz Gadowski, Martin Varsavsky, TAG, the Samwers, Atomico, Morten Lund, Brent Hoberman & Michael Birch, Klaus Hommels, Stefan Glaenzer, Sherry Coutu and the Cambridge angels… the market is fragmented – syndicates which form easily in the Valley, Israel or New York often are hard to create.”

So the idea with Seedcamp is to get these investors together “and make it easier for these active seed investors to work together and learn from each other, so it becomes easier for entrepreneurs to source and experience superior seed capital,” wrote Klein.

I asked attendees to comment on or of record about the event.

Dave McClure said the startups presenting “did very well. A lot of improvement over the initial SeedCamp day in September”.

Another attendee said: “It was a great event.”

Jyri Engestrom said: “It’s the best thing to happen to the European seed investor community since I joined it last month! Seedsummit is going to help startups. EU angels need to get to know each other and build trust so they can collaborate effectively on deals.”

Paul Jozefak of Neuhaus Partners said: “The first half of day with angels and seed investors was great.”

Jeff Clavier said: “Realy enjoyed it: it was great to meet such a concentration of UK angels/VCs, and compare notes. And SeedCamp companies have made a lot of progress. There’s much work to do to create a tighter early stage startup infrastructure in Europe, but I am encouraged by the work SeedCamp, TAG & active angels are doing.”

However, one startup which presented criticised the choice of a Friday to present as “many VCs were not able to attend.”