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Tech start-ups urged to go Dutch with Startupbootcamp Amsterdam

Monday, 3 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Another European funding avenue for tech start-ups has opened up, with Startupbootcamp Amsterdam offering teams €15,000 in seed funding and the opportunity to pitch for more.


Startupbootcamp Amsterdam, founded by Patrick de Zeeuw and Ruud Hendriks, is a three-month acceleration program, offering 10 teams seed funding, office space and mentorship.


Each team receives €15,000 in seed funding. At the end of the program, start-ups have the opportunity to pitch for further funding from angel investors and venture capitalists.


Start-ups from around the world are being encouraged to apply for the Amsterdam 2013 program. All start-ups in the internet, mobile and technology industries can apply.


One of the 10 places available will be saved for a start-up that is active in the near field communication (NFC) industry.


If selected, teams must be able to come to Amsterdam for the selection event days and for the program period (April 2 to June 28) and the fadeout period from July to September.


The program is the latest European-based scheme to target start-ups from around the globe. Last month, the Irish government unveiled a new venture capital fund for international innovators.


Hendriks says the venture capital community in Europe, and the Netherlands in particular, has begun to see high quality accelerators as an effective filtering mechanism.


“We’ve become a new college for entrepreneurs because we’re so selective on front end.”


“To give you some idea, last year we saw more than 550 serious applications to join our 90-day program for back in April 2012. And that’s just for the program in Amsterdam.


“The biggest value of Startupbootcamp has been the quality of the network. We’ve been astonished at the high standard of expertise from local mentors.


“And we’ve been able to tap into international talent from colleague teams running programs in Copenhagen, Berlin, Dublin and Haifa.”


According to de Zeeuw, no program is ever the same because no team is ever the same.


“As well as evaluating the teams as they progress through the program, we’re also highly critical of ourselves,” he says.


“In 2013, we’re putting even more emphasis on the complementary expertise in the teams. We’ve also been talking to this year’s alumni as they move towards Series A funding.


“We have been sharing their experiences with the 2013 applicants.”


Teams with two founders are welcome to apply, but teams of three are preferred. Teams must possess skills across a range of areas including tech development, marketing and sales, design, and business expertise.


Applications close on January 20, 2013, but teams are advised to apply early, even if everything isn’t 100% finalised.


As the European tech accelerator community continues to move forward in leaps and bounds, its US counterpart appears to be slowing down.


Paul Graham, founder of US incubator Y Combinator, has indicated the next batch of YC start-ups will be smaller than 50, after gradually increasing its intake to more than 80.


“The reason we accepted fewer applications was that in summer 2012 we grew too fast,” Graham wrote in a blog.


“We had 66 companies in winter 2012, and that was fine, but for some reason more things than usual broke when we jumped from 66 to 84.”


“We don’t plan to stay at 50, or whatever exact number of start-ups this batch ends up having… We’ve been tweaking our model, like we always do, and we hope some of the tweaks will push the limit back.”


The announcement comes less than one week after Graham said Y Combinator will reduce its funding amount from $150,000 to $80,000, insisting $150,000 is “too much”.