Guest Post: How to win Seedcamp Week, by a startup that did

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Emi Gal is an entrepreneur, blogger and internet consultant. He started his first “business” at the age of 10, creating business cards for the teachers in his school. Currently he’s the CEO of Brainient, a video technology company focused on helping video publishers make more money with their video content. This is a guest post.

Next week, 23 lucky startups will attend Seedcamp Week, probably the best event of its kind in Europe. Three hundred mentors – entrepreneurs, angels investors, marketers, technology people – will be all eyes and ears, trying to help these startups become successful companies.

I think I still hold the record for the entrepreneur with the most Seedcamps under his belt, having won Mini Seedcamp Paris 2009, attended Mini Seedcamp London 2009 and won Seedcamp Week 2009, so I’d like to share some tips to the 23 entrepeneurs that will be on stage on Monday.

1. All you have to do when you’re up there is win people’s trust.
That’s it. Really. You can try to explain how your product disintermediates rich-client social media APIs, but seriously: nobody cares. All they care about is YOU (and your co-founders, if there’s more than one presenting)

2. When you’re asked why you’re there, don’t say you’re there for funding.
Of course you want money – everybody does. But there’s a saying in town: ‘Ask an investor for money and he’ll give you advice. Ask him for advice and he’ll give you money’.

3. Shut down your laptop and keep it shut.
You are here to meet people, that’s it, full stop. Everything in this world happens because you knew the right people at the right time, so the best way to increase your chances of success is by meeting as many people as possible.

4. Follow-up heavily.
If you’re very active, you will probably have around 40-50 business cards after each day. Follow-up while your memory is still fresh, ideally in the night, on the same day. Personalize each email. Because I have a terrible memory, I usually write how I met the person and what I discussed with her / him on the business card, after the discussion.

5. Most people laugh when I say this, but: wear good shoes.
That’s the first thing everyone will notice about you. For example – I know everybody will notice me next week, because my going-out-to-events shoes are a very, very, very RED.

So, keep in mind: your chances to win Seedcamp Week will increase exponentially with every person you meet and “win” to your side. I hope these tips will help you. Good luck, and get some rest this weekend, you will need it.

  • Paul

    “Oh, I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused.”

    Go Emi!

  • Greg


    You are an inspiration for Eastern European entrepreneurs.

    I hope that you have continued success with Brainient.

    Very kind regards.


    • Emi Gal

      Thank you Greg, much appreciated!

  • laurent lathieyre

    thx for sharing!

    but we’re missing a very important piece of information here…

    what’s the brandname of those red shoes?!

    “…just take off my red shoes
    Put them on and your dream’ll come true…” — Kate Bush “Red SHoes”

    • Emi Gal

      Haha, let’s call them Emi’s shoes, as I don’t remember where I bought them (that’s actually a way of saying I will never tell :)

  • Reshma

    Great advice Emi and I’d add… startups need to help each other and share tips and experiences more. Emi, the guys at Zemanta, Huddle, uberVu, iPlatform and a few others do a lot of it. They get loads of help back b/c they are always reaching out and helping others. Would love to encourage more startups do the same…

    • Emi Gal

      Thanks Reshma, that’s a great addition to the list!

  • Richard Healy

    Point number 3 is the most important. Meet people and soak up advice… and trust me, they’ll be plenty of both!

  • Marco

    Good advise Emi, I’ll take number 5

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