Jul 12, 2012

BlueSeed - the awesome international visa-free startup community 30 min away from Silicon Valley

Project overview

Silicon Valley is at the moment the main dream land for entrepreneurs all over the world, for its great startup community and culture, for its investment potential and for its well known success stories. However, non-US entrepreneurs  that want to start working there face difficulties with work visas.

This is the problem BlueSeed is aiming to solve, by having a vessel on international waters outside US regulations, 30 minutes away from the shore, where more than 1000 entrepreneurs can work on their startup without needing a work visa and going to Silicon Valley for meetings just with business/ tourist visas (or move there when they scale and have enough power to sustain themselves there). Moreover, the space itself is becoming an attraction, just thinking of such a great startup community working and living on the vessel, exchanging knowledge and enhancing motivation.

The project is estimated to be launched in Q3 2013. At the moment preparations are made, startups can apply and investors and other partners are searched.

For entrepreneurs

Benefits of joining BlueSeed:
- living and working close to Silicon Valley without needing a work visa
- living and working space in a modern tech environment for one year, at lower prices compared to Silicon Valley ones (payments can be made through different combinations of rent fees plus equity)
- access to an awesome community of disruptive startups, bold entrepreneurs from all over the world (inspiring environment)
- good internet connection and technologies to work with
- non-stop catering, access to gym, game rooms and other entertainment facilities, plus medical services
- a ferry for transport to San Francisco

Who can join? And how?
- open to the boldest, brightest, talented individuals from high-growth, scalable, disruptive startups, regardless of nationality
- until 24th July 2012, BlueSeed counted already the interest of 850+ entrepreneurs, from 250+ startups, from 58 countries
- to get in, these individuals and companies have to be referred to BlueSeed through reputable business angels, VCs, entrepreneurs netoworks or trusted contacts (or through submitting an online application and getting selected)

For investors and supporters

BlueSeed also welcomes aboard individuals and organizations (examples: incubators, media, cleantech companies) willing to support the startup community there.

Peter Thiel backed the project so far with his name and a promised sum that BlueSeed will receive only if more investors join in. Blueseed also wants to set up a Venture Fund for the startups aboard (aiming to raise 60-120M $).

BlueSeed presented by founders

Jul 9, 2012

How to Web - helping South-Eastern Europe companies to move from outsourcing services to creating their own products

How to Web 2012 - the most important conference on web business and technology in South-Eastern Europe, takes place in Bucharest, Romania, on the 7th and 8th of November. It aims to bring together more than 800 participants with tens of international speakers from over 15 countries. The conference will address topics on innovation through technology, business and product development in domains like gaming, Software as a Service and mobile, web business development in global markets vs. local markets, particularities of web business development in Eastern Europe and financing opportunities.

Below is my interview with Bogdan Iordache, organizer of How to Web, covering the specifics and the evolution of the event, as well as his motivation to run this event for its fourth edition this year:

Adelina: How do you see the entrepreneurship development in Europe? What are the differences between different regions? 

Bogdan: Entrepreneurship is definitely gaining momentum in Europe. Five years ago there were not so many things happening. Now we've got new companies, tons of events & communities kicking off, tens of accelerator programs. Venture capital industry has also grown significantly. The hottest areas right now are London, Berlin and Moscow. London has the advantage of being the European center for all advertising agencies, also the most important financial city of Europe. However, in the last years we've seen a more and more tech companies coming out of Berlin, using the fantastic artistic potential they have. Now Moscow, with the Skolkovo project, might be the next hot thing.

Adelina: How is How to Web contributing to the further development of entrepreneurship in South-Eastern Europe? 

Bogdan: When we started How to Web we thought: "There is so much tech potential here, but nobody innovates.". As you know, South-Eastern Europe is very focused on outsourcing. Giving the context, we thought that our mission is to inspire people to start create their own products, but also to help them get the practical knowledge and connections they need. This is what we're still doing right now, and we've seen more and more companies moving from services to products. On the other side, we've helped startups connect with investors and accelerators representatives at the Startup Challenge competition we're hosting every year. This year we'll showcase over 30 startups that we'll go through a fantastic program including workshops, public pitching, mentoring sessions, 1:1 accelerator & investors meetings.

Adelina: What would be the benefits for local participants? 

Bogdan: Well, we think How to Web is rather a regional event, not a local one. We're addressing the issues the SEE tech industry has been focusing on very practical talks: case studies, how-to talks, and combining them with regional specific challenges and information on global trends. On the other hand, Romania is known as a great place to have a great time. There are a lot of networking opportunities during the conference and during the endless parties that start in the evening and last till morning. It's a fun time.

 Adelina: What about the benefits for participants from outside the region? 

Bogdan: Because of How to Web's reach and structure, we'll be gathering some of the most interesting tech companies around and outside the region. This is why last year we've got participants from UK, Germany, France, Finland etc. who came here to see who's who and find partners for their projects.

Adelina: How to Web 2012 is the fourth edition. What is the evolution of the event from one edition to the other? 

Bogdan: Every edition of How to Web was different. Every year we've improved the structure of the event, and I think the one this year will be the best ever. We surely learned a lot, and doing a conference in an emerging tech ecosystem like South-Eastern Europe is a very different thing. In terms of numbers, we've grown quite fast. From a 150 people event in 2009, to 800+ people probably in 2012. We take great pride in this organic growth and the fact that we have a very strong fan base.

Adelina: Are there any future projects emerging from it? 

Bogdan: Definitely yes. We've got a lot of fresh ideas and we'll pursue some of them in the near future. Some of them are already announced (like the hub we're planning to open soon), others will be launched this year or next year soon.

Adelina: What is your motivation to organize this conference? How is the How to Web experience helping you with your other projects?

Bogdan: Well, for me personally How to Web is a big help in understanding how tech ecosystems and the global web works. It surely takes a lot of time, but it's been a fantastic ride so far. Also, the knowledge and the people you meet will definitely help us in reach the next level.

Jul 5, 2012

Crowdsourcing and Crowdfunding for Tech Open Air Berlin Festival

Tech Open Air Berlin Festival

TOA is a summer festival made by the community for the community, where hundreds of like-minded people can share their passion for entrepreneurship, technology, creativity and innovation, where people can inspire and learn from each other. It should take place in Berlin (the melting pot for entrepreneurs and artists) on August 23rd and 24th, if the crowdfunding target is reached - and today is the last day we can all show our support to the initiative. 


The event is not a typical conference. The value will be in the participating crowd and not on stage. There will be lots of knowledge exchange between participants and startups or any other kind of organizations can organize their own events on a crowdsourced agenda. The event just wants to connect people that share passion for technologies and innovations, offering maximum opportunity for networking at a festival organized in a decentralized way, but still including workshops, hackathons, speeches and parties.

Basically, day 1 will be in an open air location (Kater Holzig, a former soap factory), and day 2 will be all over Berlin (hosts of satellite events - open office day, BBQs etc.)


The initiators of the festival went for crowdfunding their bold idea, in order to see the support of the community and to make sure they can cover the minimum costs generated. The crowdfunding goal is set at 20K euro, so far 76% is reached and the deadline expires in one day. So now it is your chance to show your support for Tech Open Air Berlin, book your early bird ticket, book space to showcase your startup/ project, be a sponsor or finance a documentary on the festival with your brand standing out.

Later edit: Tech Open Air Berlin has reached its crowdfunding target so it will take place! (15 hours before deadline for crowdfunding, the project raised 109% of the target)

Jul 2, 2012

Not another entrepreneurship conference - It is Pioneers Festival, baby!

After an incredible success with their first European event last year (Startup Week 2011 - more than 1300 participants, 100 speakers, top entrepreneurs and investors), StartEurope is preparing now to rise above all expectations entrepreneurs and innovators can have from an event designed for them. They are preparing Pioneers Festival, that will take place in Vienna from 29th to 31st October, while also having Focus Events in parallel all over Europe.

Registrations are now open and, more importantly, applications for Startup Challenge are also open. If you are looking for great places to pitch, I highly recommend you to apply here. Last year the competition was taugh, more than 500 startups applied and only 10 made it to the final pitches. But it is totally worth it since 7 of those 10 finalists last year got funding afterwards between 500K and 2.2M from Ycombinator, Business Angels and VCs. This year to begin with, the winner of Startup Challenge pitching will receive 25.000 euro at the event, besides the great exposure.

I am one of their Ambassadors, I was present last year and I am going this year again, so in case you have questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

A brief overview of last year's edition:

And the promise of this year's edition: