Springboard launches startup incubation for the Y-Combinator generation

So we have Seedcamp, Startup Bootcamp, The Founder Institute, Launch48, Hackfwd and various other startup programme across Europe. And we can now add another to that list: Springboard.

But this is not the Springboard we wrote about last year. Then, it was the brainchild of Red Gate Software who were effectively offering a very informal arrangement, helping young startups. It was also B2B focused.

This is a different beast. The new Springboard programme has wisely realised that there is a gap in the European eco-system for the super-early stage startup that really just needs enough cash to create something. That is in the Y-Combinator and TechStars sort of area, which is much more at the hacker/product end of the market.

Increasingly it feels like Seedcamp has moved upstream to more fully-formed startups, so this emphasis on pure product companies is welcome.

It will launch in the UK with a full time 13 week bootcamp programme for up to ten teams. But the programme does not just apply to the UK. Any company worldwide can apply to join (last year they had teams from the US, Canada, and Russia), but proximity to the UK and Europe probably helps. It will run from April to July next year.

Each team gets a super low £15,000 of investment capital, reflecting the very product-oriented nature of this scheme. For that they take 6% in ordinary founder shares. Office space etc is free.

Springboard combines investment capital with intensive mentoring and coaching from mentors that include experienced entrepreneurs and Venture Capitalists. The programme will end with the teams presenting their proposition to venture capitalists and angel investors at an Investor Day. Applications are now open for their Spring 2011 intake.

Luckily, Neil Davidson and his team at Red Gate Software have experience. They bootstrapped Red Gate Software to a $25m company, run the Business of Software conference with Joel Spolsky, set-up the Red Gate’s annual $1million challenge and ran the Accidental Incubator – from which Rapportive and Mixcloud have come.

But this time they are serious. Backed by an angel investor syndicate, the Cambridge co-working facility ideaSpace, and the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Springboard’s advisors/mentors include Alex van Someren from Amadeus Capital Partners; Colin Willis, Managing Director at Hotspur Capital Partners and Neil McClements, Managing Partner at Fintech Ventures Fund.

The deadline for entries is 13 February 2011.