As finalists at the 2008 Seedcamp I thought it might be useful for today’s Stockholm Seedcampers to share some tips from lessons we learnt then, and over the years.
- Talk to other Seedcampers. While, in theory, we are competing against each other, we are also in it together. Several contacts we made during Seedcamp Week have lasted throughout the years and have helped to push us onwards in our own quest.
- Show your product! I cannot stress this enough. It makes the world of difference to people understanding what you do, and convincing them you are able to pull it off. Even if you only have mockups or a prototype, it is still worth showing it.
- Mentors are not gods. You will get conflicting advice and it is your job to work out what is valuable for you.
- Not being a winner at Seedcamp is not the end of the world. There are many reasons why you might not win, but if you don’t, learn from the experience and keep pushing forwards. If you truly believe in your vision, nothing can stop you.
- Entrepreneurs are the toughest critics. Basically entrepreneurs only believe their own idea rocks. They will give you advice, but can also be very harsh. This is also why sharing your idea is rarely a problem. Entrepreneurs have better things to do than to steal it.
- Open your product to the public before Seedcamp. You will get some media attention, so use it if possible! This time we will not be able to do that, but don’t do as we do …
- Have a full array of questions in mind beforehand. You will meet people from many different backgrounds. You are not there to pitch and make them ‘get’ your product, or for the off chance of investment. You are there to learn and make contacts.
- If you have a big vision, and want to pitch it, make sure your actual product is relevant or links to that vision. It should, in effect, implement that vision. It might not have all the features, but it should make that vision a reality. If not, you will only confuse people, and it may be better to de-emphasise the ‘big vision’ for now.
- Show your personality. That can be quite scary, and it’s easy to hide by being a robot. That will limit your success. There are no need for gimmicks, but personalities and emotion are more memorable.
- If you’re not willing to accept the Seedcamp terms, you are wasting their time, and yours, and you’re not being very fair. Better use your time with something else then.
As some already know, the Scred team is currently busy working on a very unique and ambitious new product. We’re using all the experience gained from running Scred.com and putting out something truly outstanding.
Back in 2008 we had the huge privilege to take part as finalists in Seedcamp Week. This was a week long mentoring session in London with hundreds of investors, media representatives and fellow entrepreneurs. It was probably the one thing that pushed us furthest in our ideas and ambitions and taught us a lot about what we are doing. Several hundred ideas applied, and were narrowed down to 40, and then 20 finalists selected for that week. We were one of the 20. We weren’t one of the final 7 winners, although we deeply desired to be, but it was still an experience I would recommend to anyone.
As proof of that we applied again with this new product. We weren’t even sure this was possible, and had to email Reshma Sohoni, CEO of Seedcamp, to see if we could take part again as previously successful finalists. With the permission given to go ahead we prepared our application once more, digging out some of our old answers from 2008. Some time later, we got the news: we have been accepted!
The system has changed a bit. Now teams are expected to apply via Mini Seedcamps, which are organised in many locations around the world. From there some are, we believe, selected for Seedcamp Week, or even as winners directly (ie. investment). For what it’s worth, I think this is a better system.
The odds are, of course, against us. Only a handful will receive investment through Seedcamp. Some of those will become huge successes (and obviously some non-winners will become huge successes too). We will do whatever we can to become one of the Seedcamp winners this time. We want it, and are hungry for it, but that means doing an excellent job presenting our case against teams from many countries. Explaining it in a clear and coherent way, and demonstrating the business case to be sound. We’ve been there. It’s an uphill struggle and I won’t say we weren’t hugely disappointed not to make it all the way to the end last time. But we are here, as entrepreneurs, to take every chance we can get.
Everyone who has supported us: keep your fingers crossed and, if you’re in Sweden, be sure to come and meet with us. And if you haven’t applied to Seedcamp: shame on you. I know many Finns did not. That will be your loss.
Scred is currently in the process of building a brand new highly disruptive product, using the lessons learnt from our existing service and understanding of payments and finance. We are looking for the next Jonathan Ive, of the web UI world, to join us as a core member of the team building the look, feel, design and even logo of this new consumer-facing product.
While we don’t require you to have loads of experience (although it helps), you absolutely must have the ambition and the vision to become one of the best designers in the world. This is not a normal job. This is actually building something completely new and never done before.
As a startup we cannot offer company cars, tennis courts and slides dropping into our cafeteria. We cannot promise mansions, ferraris and diamond bracelets overnight. What we can give you is a chance to change the world, to be part of a story and, hopefully some day, immense rewards. We will offer a reasonable salary and obviously stock options will be available for the right person.
You should have impeccable design, usability and styling skills, with a sound understanding of technology such as HTML and CSS. Other coding talents are a plus.
What we are *not* looking for:
- Someone who does not want to be the absolute best at what they do.
- A person unable to operate within a tightly knit team environment.
- A person who cannot act independently with their own ideas and concepts, or who lacks the ability to think out of the box and innovate.
- Someone who is just there to do a job. We want you to be a core member of our team.
Our office situates at the top floor of the iconic Cable Factory in Ruoholahti, Helsinki, Finland. We are surrounded by culture, events, artists and vibe, and we encourage you to visit galleries and to become inspired by what goes on around here. The product being developed will be revealed later.
Get in touch with Kristoffer Lawson (firstname.lastname@example.org / +358-40-7312273) to introduce yourself if it seems like you’re the person we are looking for.
Cool. This is article ’242′.
It’s been a while since we’ve been posting on this blog. Reasons have been many, including my own megalomanic side project, The Travelling Salesman, where I travelled to every single Nordic university city to talk to startups and write about them. It resulted in over 13000 kilometres of driving a Land Rover Defender, for 50 days, through 5 countries, over a week at sea, and in the winter, with temperatures lower than -20C. Many thanks to our main sponsors, Microsoft and Nokia Qt for making this a reality, as well as the many other companies, people and organisations that helped! And yes, the finances were tracked with Scred.
Many things have been taking place with Scred. We are working on a complete rehaul of the service, based on prior experience, and that is just simply taking a lot of time, but the result will be pretty damn amazing.
Naturally Scred, and our sister product, the Finnish ticketing service Fläbät, are still running while we do this work. Last year we grew past 3000 groups, started the process of our first government grant (from TEKES) and with Fläbät had tens of thousands of euros move through in ticket sales.
So it’s great to mention we are kicking off the year with another cool event using Fläbät, Onnistamo 2011. It’s a combined conference and unconference on social entrepreneurship. It’s put together by HUB Helsinki and Syy. On Friday guests include Anni Sinnemäki, from the Ministry of Employment & Economy, and representatives from the main parties taking part in a panel discussion. The unconference is held at the lovely Hanasaari location.
If you’re in Finland and social entrepreneurship is your thing, definitely check it out. And don’t forget to get your tickets
- Thank Scred for an amazing opportunity of working at a start-up over the summer: a job so cool, only the Summer of Startups programme can compete with that.
-Reflect on just how much I’ve learned: from tech lingo to marketing techniques and even some Finnish expressions – thank you for your patience, Tuomas and Kristoffer! You’ve been the coolest bosses one can get.
- Mourn about my old Acer laptop that suffered a coffee spill on my first month at work but lived on, alas with a different owner now.
- Embrace all feedback, criticism and comments you, members of the community, our clients and friends, have regarding my internship. Be open and honest – I don’t hold grudges. Not for long anyway.
- Preemptively answer any questions you have on what’s it like to work at a tech start-up as a non-tech female – pretty freaking great!
- Accept that this will be the least read post on this blog because it’s oh-so-sentimental.
Thank you for making this summer amazing, helping and supporting me and for reading this post!
P.S. I <3 Senna Dog.
Daring, impuslive and a little bit crazy Punajuuri block party is bound to be a hit. It’s always refreshing to see active people in Finland who have vision and ambition to do something different. This time an independent group of enthusiasts put together a line-up of well-known Finnish bands to play for free this Saturday 21st August 17-21 in Punavuori, Helsinki. And all that was arranged in a space of a week!
The concept behind the party is to offer free music to the public, reinvigorate the community and deliver a powerful message that seems to be at the core of the project – not all good things have to cost money. Though the party is free for the participants, the organizers welcome donations to reward some of the helpers and fund future events. Sum of donations varies from 1 to 100 euros and when you send the money you can attach a message that will be put on group’s twitter page @Five_Corners. The payment system is powered by fläbät, the new ticketing service developed by Scred.
The party should be a great addition to other activities of the Helsinki juhlaviikot. So if you happen to walk past Viiskulma or the corner of Kankuri and Pursimiehenkatu on Saturday evening, you’d be treated with a free performance by K-X-P, MANNA, 22-PISTEPIRKKO and UUSI FANTASIA. The event will also be livestreamed on Punajuuri’s webpage.
What’s most intriguing, however, is what will come out of the initiative – the party this weekend is just the beginning of a larger project that aims to promote mutual help as an alternative to money. How far that would go remains to be seen.
AltParty is the biggest digital art festival in Finland, if not in the whole of Europe. Founded a decade ago by Scred‘s founder Kristoffer Lawson (a.k.a. Setok), it hardly numbered a hundred people at the start. Ten years down the line the festival is massive: it runs for three days and occupies all of the humongous hall of the Cable Factory.
Every year demosceners, coders, computer enthusiasts, digital art appreciators and curious public flock Ruoholahti to indulge yet again in what the festival has to offer. Exhibitions, presentations, competitions with excellent prizes and even fun activities for families with young kids revolve around digital culture but are themed differently every year.
From dreamy-eyed star-gazers to astronomers to top-notch scientists space exploration and space technology continues to capture people’s minds and emotions. Unfortunately, though, the topic has been unduly neglected by the media and society in general for almost 20 years. This year’s AltParty aims to bring attention back to the open space with a ‘Space, The Forgotten Frontier’ theme. If you’re interested in space or digital art or simply want to visit one of Finland’s coolest events this autumn you should definitely drop by!
The event will take place between 22nd-24th October and you can follow the example of many and buy your tickets now. Ticketing service for the event is powered by Fläbät.fi – Scred’s up-and-coming new product that offers a dead-simple solution for ticket sales. Mobile Africa is using Fläbät too but it’s not just big events like these two that can benefit from the service’s simplicity and affordability. Small and medium-sized events would definitely find it handy. If you’re arranging an event and are looking into ticketing services - get in touch and we could arrange a special deal for you Otherwise, stay tuned for Fläbät’s official launching party!
From 19:00 until around 23-00, Scred’s traditional Night of Code will make another appearance this Thursday evening. It’s short notice, we know, but hopefully some of you can make it. We’ll certainly be there
Come along, give a presentation on some techie topic, or just sit around working on your pet project, or hear about what Scred is doing.
Our Dutch friend Peter Robinett will be coming over, and hopefully he’ll tell us a bit about Scala or some other interesting topic. I could recreate my StartupJam presentation on my Tcl-based web framework.
Time: Thu 29th July, 19:00
Place: The Cable Factory, Tallberginkatu 1E, 5th floor, Room 565.
We’ll provide a few beers! Let us know if you’re planning to come.
Despite the sweltering weather and burning desire to escape to a summer cottage in the middle of nowhere, Scred team got some good work done this July. One particular item that I’d like to highlight is the updated Shop feature. The function used to cause some troubles in the past but is now repaired with a shiny new look.
Any group that needs to sell something online and keep track of the process would find Scred Shops quite useful. Your student group wants to collect membership fees or your theater association wants to sell tickets easily? Create a registration in the ‘Registrations’ tab and it would automatically appear as an item in the shop. Put the link of the shop on your website for all members to see and use in an instant. Your charity wants to sell ribbons to collect funds? Add that directly to your shop with a fancy picture of the ribbon and start selling! While you’re busy sending the items to your customers, Scred is automatically tracking transactions, managing inventory and generating reports.
All that software is still free but you’d need to chip in 1,5% from each transaction on top of PayPal fees. So for every €5 of ribbon you sell you’d need to cough up a mere €0,07 to Scred. Let me know if you can find an easier and cheaper solution for your webshop!