Seedcamp, a seed fund that is best described as Europe’s version of Y Combinator, just announced a partnership with Facebook that will give Seedcamp’s teams access to product, technical, and design support as well as early access to beta products and programs on Facebook Platform. This means that Seedcamp’s teams will get a head start on other startups when it comes to integrating new Facebook features.
Seedcamp provides seed investment of up to $67,000 in exchange for 8 to 10 percent of the startup in question. The fund stages events all over Europe and beyond (in 2011, Seedcamp events are also planned in New York, Singapore, India and South Africa) that culminate in 20 or so companies being selected to participate in the annual Seedcamp week in London. Following an investment, the startups spend three months in London working with mentors to develop their product. Seedcamp raised a new $4 million fund last year.
Since Seedcamp launched in 2007, it has received over 1,500 applications (which reflects the pent-up demand for seed investment in Europe) but invested in only 22 companies. The selected companies have so far come from 12 countries, including tech-talent hotspots like Estonia, Romania and Slovenia. Semantic blogging company Zemanta, one of Seedcamp’s most successful investments, raised $3 million last year and is heading towards profitability.
The Facebook partnership is also significant in that it involves a Silicon Valley behemoth taking an interest in the oft-neglected European startup scene. European VCs have consistently described Europe to me as being under-invested (lots of good companies, not enough money) whereas Silicon Valley is the opposite. On the other hand entrepreneurs like GetJar’s founder have complained that Europe is still not a friendly place for investors, and the high-growth companies they back. In that context, Facebook turning its eye towards Europe can’t be a bad thing. It also reflects the growing globalisation of the startup scene in general.