Seedcamp & Springboard compared – choice for startups at last

Incredible to see the buzz about Seedcamp and Springboard amongst the start up community. When Seedcamp started it filled a gap that was simply not being supported in the UK. Seedcamp created a UK version of the very successfully Y-Combinator model in the US and created a hugely important piece of the start up ecosystem in the UK in the process. Very interesting to see that there are at least one or two complimentary (from an entrepreneur’s perspective), initiatives out there that offer some interesting choices as an entrepreneur as you cannot do both – or can you?

This summer, Red Gate software launched a programme of similar intent and length to the Seedcamp programme with some key differences.

  • Both #Seedcamp and #Springboard are run as competitive programmes where only a select few companies are accepted.


  • Seedcamp runs an intensive one week course of activity with a huge number of the UK’s most active entrepreneurs and advisers in September, at the end of the week, up to five companies are picked for a E50k investment for between 5-10% of the company. This is followed by a 3 month programme of intense coaching, mentoring, networking etc. Applications are welcomed from all over the world. Deadline for entries 23rd August. More here.


  • Springboard runs interviews in the first week of September to select the candidates for their programme. After this, up to five companies are picked to participate in a 10 week programme involveing speakers like Joel Spolsky, Ryan Carson, Dharmesh Shah and others where their accommodation, office space, food, living expenses, some development money and infrastructure are all provided. Free.  (Chris Anderson would be so proud). Red Gate are not looking for equity or even expecting companies to be legally incorporated. They are however looking for companies with B2B ideas rather than consumer propositions. Applications are welcomed from all over the world. Deadline for entries 28th August. More here.

I was called last night and asked by a start up I have been working with whether they should apply to Seedcamp or Springboard.

BAD ENTREPRENEURS!! You are street fighters now.

This disappointed me hugely. They would be really stupid not to apply for both. While there is an element of philanthropy about both programmes, they are both offering a service to entrepreneurs and you should push to get what you can and make the most informed decision at the latest possible point. (Or am I missing something here?).

Whatever happens, this is all good news for the start up ecosystem in the UK.

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8 responses to “Seedcamp & Springboard compared – choice for startups at last”

  1. Peter says:

    don’t forget YCombinator 2010 Winter batch is open too:

  2. dave p says:

    springboard is a blatant rip off seedcamp which is blatant rip off ycombinator but it will never make any moeny and doesnt take any shares. how is it supposed to work? why would redgate do it? silly

  3. Amir says:

    Dave, I’m sorry you feel that way. I think all these programmes are good for entrepreneurs. This is an approach that began in the Valley and has (sucessfully) spread across the globe. There are a number of places people can apply. Springboard is one of them.

    As for the benefit to Red Gate, we’re in it for the relationships. We’re not in it to make money from investments at this stage. So why would we burden ourselves and the teams with unnecessary paperwork? We can provide all the resources of other programmes (and then some), without stressing about legal arrangements.

    If anyone has questions they can reach me via Twitter (amirmc) or find my email on the Springboard site.

  4. Many are called but few get up.

    I have seen both these initiatives evolve. When you set any organisation up you should look at what the market is doing and think about how you can achieve your objectives. Whilst these two operations have launched, there are at least 6 others that I know of where people are talking about doing stuff. And have been for ages and ages. Anyone that takes the initiative gets my vote.

  5. Reshma says:

    Good post Mark. And I agree with Dave and Amir. It’s great to see different initiatives to help entrepreneurs across Europe. Seedcamp happens to be one where we also have a fund through which we invest along with bringing the vast European ecosystem together. And Springboard has another approach. Great if entrepreneurs benefit and know what they’re getting whichever they decide to do.

    And btw, we don’t see why teams can’t be both a part of Springboard and Seedcamp. That’s even better validation.

    Also, elements of Seedcamp are inspired from Ycombinator and many of Springboard’s from Seedcamp, but the Founders Fund summer program this summer was definitely inspired by Seedcamp that are not similar to Ycomb. So, it’s gone right back across the pond and that’s great. Programs will keep evolving from each other… that’s called innovation and it’s beneficial at the end of the day for entrepreneurs.

    So, I encourage teams to apply to both Springboard and Seedcamp! Good luck!

  6. Reshma, aren’t you busy…!?! I think you agree with Amir and myself rather than Dave…

    Appreciate the shout out. You have been instrumental in putting the European Ecosystem onto another level and I know you welcome support from wherever it takes place. The more people talk, learn from each other, push each other on, innovate, collaborate and just get involved, the better.

    The BLN will happily invite Seedcamp and Springboard winners to some of our activities this year so that they get a chance to share experiences a bit further down the line.

  7. Reshma says:

    Yep, uber busy :-). And yes…. agree with you and Amir. Oversite there. That’s cool. Would be good to an informal networking or something else you guys plan. Let me know as we’re planning out the next 3 months.

  8. Collector says:

    Indeed both are interesting and appealing opportunities, at least for the entrepreneur writing this comment 😉 Many startups fail due to taking on contracts at early stages that bite them in the s at later stages. An entrepreneur should be able to spend as less time as possible on things which don’t directly help the product and vision.

    Dave, how they monetize of it is their business. I’m sure it’s very possible.

    And yes, the GUI on the site here is confusing which explains Reshma’s mistake. The commentator and his/her comment should be in the same box. The little comics-like triangle isn’t much hep.