What is your own background?
I got into startups while I was still in the States which is where I’m originally from. There, held several startup operation and commercialisation roles before I moved to the UK to do an MBA at Imperial.
I became immersed in the European early-stage and accelerator scene, after I joined Seedcamp and then ran a family office where I led the aquisition of a porfolio company.
How did it lead to what you do now?
During my time at Seedcamp I helped them think through their accelerator approach as well as working with many other accelerators while I ran the family office. So when Startupbootcamp’s main founders decided to find someone to bring a growing yet decentralised accelerator together, my bacground fit.
1 min pitch for your current role / job?
I’m a Partner and Head of Startupbootcamp. We are the world’s most industry-focused accelerator group with 18 active programs across Europe, Asia, Mena and Americas and 400+ porfolio companies. Within my role, lead the strategic and operational direction of the organisation, where I’ve been tasked with setting up system for growth, bringing functions roles together to share and learn.
Tell us about Startupbootcamp / Your rapid global expansions & what’s driving that?
We were founded in 2010 with a mission to support the world’s best entrepreneurs through all stages of their growth. With deep European roots, soon other entrepreneurs joined the Startupbootcamp movement to open programs in many countries. We now run 18 industry-focused startup accelerators in Europe, Asia, and Americas. So far, we have invested in more than 400 early-stage technology startups around the world who have raised over €200 million.
In the last 12 months, we’ve not only increased the number of programs we have in Europe with the launch of programs such as FoodTech in Rome and Eindhoven, Digital Health in Berlin and IoT Connected Devices in London, but we’ve expanded to some exciting new markets including India, Mexico, and China. For us, entrepreneurship and innovation truly know no borders and our aim is to support and invest in founders who are looking to solve serious problems in existing industries such as Agriculture, health care, insurance, and cyber security.
— Startupbootcamp (@Sbootcamp) March 24, 2017
What types of startups / founders are you looking for?
We accelerate a variety of startups at different stages and industries as our programs focus on different industries. Typically the earliest stage a startup enters our program is A) has a core team with diverse skill sets in place, and B) has a product built that initial customers are using.
Looking closely at the 138 companies we selected in 2016 (out of 6000 applications), the average team had almost 5 employees, 3 engineers, and mini of 2 founders. Increasingly, most of the teams that apply and we select have already raised some sort of capital and had revenue prior to applying to Startupbootcamp.
— Andy Shannon (@atshannon1) February 20, 2017
What tips would you give to those hoping to be successful:
- In applying
In addition to having a core team and a minimum viable product – i.e. product already built or have a working prototype – then other things I’d advise the teams to do is get to know the program’s investment teams, attend at least one FastTrack event and think about how that particular program’s corporate partners could help them in reaching their goals if they are selected into the program.
- in completing the program
Once the team has gone through our 3-month program, then that’s when the next stage of their startup journey begins. This means often working with a corporate through either a pilot project or getting them on board as customers. For others, it’s taking their fundraising strategy to the next level and meeting VCs and angels they’ve met during the program and negotiating terms with them.
Your programs focus on enabling startup and corporate collaborations, what are some of the challenges and opportunities of these different groups collaborating?
As we focus on specific industries, our core strengths is being able to connect our portfolio companies with leading corporates in their industries while at the same time supporting corporates with their innovation challenges.
Obviously, this isn’t an easy task. Startups and corporates have huge differences in the way they operate and approach things. So one of the ways we enable a smooth collaboration between them is making sure that each party’s expectations are managed from the outset and that there is a natural alignment between the startup’s solution and the corporate’s bottom-line – even before initial introductions and conversation happen.
We recently published a report called Collaborate to Innovate, whereby nearly half of the startups surveyed reported to having taken them 6 months to reach a deal with a corporate. Despite this long cycle, 70% of them successfully collaborated with a corporate in the end. So it really is about doing your research, understanding the corporate’s structure/procurement policy and having a realistic timeline.
— Andy Shannon (@atshannon1) January 19, 2017
What are the differences/opportunities in early-stage fundraising (EU vs US)
I always advise founders to understand the key differences between markets and before they even try to fundraise. EU investors tend to be more risk-averse compared to their US counterparts and focus on different niche markets inherent to each country.
On the other hand, while we hear all these great succeses stories come from the US, it’s important to note that European investment is more geared towards B2B and deep tech – both while can be hugely successful may not necessarily become huge household names and garner huge media attention. I believe this sometimes plays to the perceptions that people have about the lack of early-stage funding opportunities in Europe.
What are your plans for the future?
We’ve gone through huge growth the last 12 months so my focus will be on leveraging this growth to further position Startupbootcamp as a global industry-focused startup innovation hub.
I’m also always exploring better ways to bring our growing portfolio companies come together to help each other and develop meaninigful relationships with angels, investors and corporate partners by hosting intimate alumni summits and retreats.