How to win Seedcamp Week

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.

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