Sunday, 5 February 2012

A different take on Seedcamp: the mentorship value chain.

Last week was my second time mentoring at Seedcamp.

First was Seedcamp Prague back in October 2011 and now Seedcamp London, in my backyard so to speak. Seedcamp London was one fine long day, run at a fairly decent pace, even for mentors.
12 hours straight mingling with the london startup scene and its extended reach from the rest of Europe.
It was a great occasion to make new connections and take the pulse on a rather vibrant startup ecosystem.

The day after the event, some people asked me how this Seedcamp thingy worked and how it was.
I explained about the line up of aspiring companies, the process and eventually the funding that may come with it (€50,000 if I am correct).
To be honest, this is when I realised that there is a little more than meets the eye in this value chain.

First, one thinks about the funding if it ever comes, then about the networking opportunities with all those potential investors and advisors.
However, looking over once more at my mentoring schedule for the day, I saw something new in it.
Every mentor is in a group of 5, moving from startup to startup.
In the afternoon, you end up seeing 6 startups. Read this as "you discover 6 projects and 12 entrepreneurs".
Now reverse this and look at it from the angle of the startups.
They get to spend 6 sessions of 45 mins with 5 mentors each. That over 22 hours of mentor's attention...

It's quite a fair chunk of free consultancy. At just €70/hour (probably conservative given the caliber of some mentors), that's over €1,500 of value right there, that everyone gets, just for being selected and often with free follow-up consultations (at least, that what I do when I like the project).

In the big picture, given there were 22 companies in competion, the overall pro bono investment of the mentors equates to almost €35,000.

Talk about crowdsourced value creation, it is a pretty efficient way to fuel the ecosystem!