All posts filed under “Announcements

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Three new features in Seed-DB

I’m pleased to say that Seed-DB now has three new features!  Some of these come from direct feedback; others are features I’ve been planning to add for a while.  I hope you find them useful.

Median + Average funding

Brad Feld got in touch with me to refer me to his post where he discusses the differences between average and median funding in venture capital.  Brad’s post makes a lot of sense for Seed-DB, too.  I had previously just listed average funding for the startups in an accelerator; I have now added a column for median funding of the startups in that accelerator.

There is a slight hitch in how this is implemented because some accelerators have very few startups with Crunchbase profiles.  In these cases even the median figures would be inaccurate because only the startups with solid funding rounds were typically shown.  So if a startup doesn’t have any Crunchbase funding listed, I calculate the median using a combination of Crunchbase profiles (where available) and the average funding per startup (for each company that doesn’t have funding shown).

The result of this is that median values are accurate where most startups in an accelerator have up-to-date Crunchbase pages.  TechStars in particular excels at this.  As usual, if you have questions or concerns about this e-mail me directly.

Application Dates now available

There are over 120 seed accelerators listed on Seed-DB; this is a lot of choice for entrepreneurs around the world!  As of today, Seed-DB will highlight seed accelerators with open application windows and direct visitors to the accelerators’ application page.  These windows can be entered well in advance.  On the day applications open a bright yellow button will appear next to your accelerator.

Only a couple of accelerators currently have entries.  If you’d like to add information on the application open/close dates for your accelerator, enter them in this form.  (I’ll check this link periodically and add what is submitted.)

I hope this helps startups learn what programs are open for immediate application, and helps accelerators generate additional application/deal flow.

Significantly improved updating

While not directly visible by users, the automatic updating of startups and accelerators has been drastically improved.  Most changes in Crunchbase pages should be reflected in Seed-DB within 24 hours.

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Seed-DB: a month of changes

Seed-DB was launched on July 25th, and since then it’s been a fascinating ride.  Here is the latest news on everything related to seed accelerators and Seed-DB.

Follow Seed-DB on Twitter

Seed-DB now has a Twitter account: @GoSeedDB.  Follow it to get all of the latest updates and announcements on the site.  Like this newsletter, it will be low-traffic with just important updates for startups, accelerators, and investors.

Y Combinator Demo Day – public/stealth analysis

Some accelerators (like TechStars) publicly announce all of their companies at their Demo Days; while startups in other program (like Y Combinator) only publicly announce when they’re ready.  Y Combinator’s Demo Day is taking place on Tuesday, August 21st.

In this years’ Y Combinator Summer 2012 class, there are 84 startups.  As of today (Monday, August 20th), 50 of these startups (60%) have already gone public.  I would expect another 10-15 startups to go public on Demo Day, leaving 20-30% of the startups to go public at some point in the future.

This past month on Seed-DB

I’ve focused effort on Seed-DB in the last month on two main themes:

  • improving breadth and quality of data
  • bug fixes in the application

In less than 30 days, the number of companies in the database has increased 25% to over 1600 companies.  VC funding tracked has also increased by about 25% to over $1.28billion.  And the number of jobs also increased 25% to over 3700 jobs created.  Thanks to lot of feedback from accelerators and startups, I’ve cleaned up the data sources to improve the quality of data on Seed-DB, too.  (There’s a link on every page where you can get in touch with me if you have data to correct!)

One problem with articles like Jared Konczal’s in Forbes is that the data in Seed-DB is still very preliminary; there are many gaps.  I’ve tried to make these clear; users can now see what startups are associated with Crunchbase pages (and thus I’ve able to get funding/employee data) and which startups don’t have this data.

Finally, by launching and getting valuable feedback from a number of people I’ve identified and fixed a number of bugs in the application.  Thank you to everyone that’s reached out to me with corrections.

Important upcoming feature

The biggest upcoming feature is an application deadline tracker.  I’ll be adding a column to my list of accelerators to highlight programs that are open for applications.  I hope this will help startups find accelerators that they might not otherwise know about.

Seed accelerators in my list will be able to send me the date applications open and close, as well as a link to their application page.  If you run a seed accelerator, please e-mail me and I’ll add you to my announcements list once this functionality is ready to go.

Advice for seed accelerators

There are a few recommendations I have for seed accelerators everywhere:

  1. Make it easy to find your startups; a portfolio page or something similar.  (You’d be surprised how difficult it is to find startups from some programs.)  If you can’t promote your startups on your own website, why are you doing it?  Ideally categorize them by class.
  2. Get startups to create a Crunchbase entry, and at least ensure they add the funding they got from your accelerator.

Thanks for listening; and be sure to follow @GoSeedDB!

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Introducing Seed-DB: a database of seed accelerators and their companies

SeedDBlogo

I’m pleased to announce Seed-DB, a database of seed accelerators and the companies they have accelerated.  I originally started assembling this data in the summer of 2009 as part of the research paper I wrote for my MBA thesis at the University of Cambridge: “Copying Y Combinator: a framework for developing Seed Accelerator programs.”  Ever since, I’ve been keeping it up-to-date in a number of Google Spreadsheets.

Seed-DB puts all of the best information I have and puts it in a much more digestible format for easy viewing and comparison.  I have integrated Crunchbase data to get up-to-date information on funding rounds, number of employees, and more.  I believe that Seed-DB is the most useful and comprehensive resource on seed accelerators around the world.

Economic impact

One of the clear things that stands out to me is the economic impact of seed accelerators.  Even though the data is far from complete for some programs, these are some key statistics as they stand today:

  • >100 programs world-wide
  • >1300 companies have been accelerated
  • ~65 companies have already exited for an estimated $930million
  • >3000 jobs created
  • >$1billion in angel and venture capital funding raised
In particular, as the data becomes more complete I estimate that the number of jobs created could easily double.  And as the companies mature and have exit events for investors, the exit values will be much, much larger.  (Paul Graham has publicly stated that just the top 21 Y Combinator companies have a combined value approaching $5billion.)

Key disclaimers

Incomplete data

As hard as I’ve tried, the information on Seed-DB is NOT 100% complete.  There are three reasons for this:

  • Missing startups.  Some accelerators have made it very difficult to find lists of startups that have gone through their programs, so there are many startups missing in less visible programs.  Please contact me if you can provide me with any details.
  • Missing data in Crunchbase.  Many companies have not entered any information in Crunchbase.  That’s where I get details on funding and number of employees, so if you want this information to be accurate please update it there.  (If you run an accelerator, it would be ideal if you could encourage your startups to do this.)
  • Missing accelerators.  I believe I’ve tracked down all of the seed accelerators world-wide, but please let me know if I’ve missed some.  Note that I’m using a pretty strict definition of a seed accelerator.  I hope to eventually track other types of programs, too.

MVP

To use a buzzword, this is a minimum viable product.  Reid Hoffman has been quoted as saying “if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”  Well, I’m at that point.  There’s a lot that I still want to do, some of user-visible projects and tasks are on the roadmap, but what’s launching today is the core of my vision.

Valuations

Please note that while exits are often publicized, the price paid for most companies is NOT public.  So for the vast majority of companies I’ve simply had to guess.  I’ve put a confidence level by each guess, with the highest-level confidence reserved for the cases where the price was public or widely reported.  These values do not come from any of the companies involved.

Final word

If you’ve made it this far, I’d ask you for three things.

  1. Sign up to my seed accelerators newsletter.  (It’s very low traffic, and I don’t share or sell e-mail addresses… ever.)
  2. Send me feedback.  I want to make this useful for startups interested in accelerators, people founding/running accelerators, and investors interested in companies from accelerators.
  3. If you’re interested in collaborating with me on the technical side of things, please get in touch.  I’m new to web applications, and could use an experienced partner.

Thanks for your attention!

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A sad milestone

My father, Glen Christiansen, died when I was 17 years old, in my senior year of high school. As of today, he’s been gone for half of my life. As of tomorrow, I’ll have lived longer without my father than I did with him.

(I grew up in the US Midwest, where normally this kind of thing generally isn’t talked about in public. Part of me is fighting my instincts in writing and posting this note. But I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and feel a real need to mark this milestone in public. It’s quite a departure from my normal blogging; and is likely the last time I’ll post something this personal.)

My father was a wonderful man. I still have great memories of working with him on projects around the house, on my Cub Scout Pinewood Derby cars, on Boy Scout camping trips, and just as a loving father. My work ethic can easily be traced to the example that my father set. What would start out as a simple project at the beginning of a weekend would transform to a massive project by the end of the weekend, largely because he insisted on doing things right, and designing something that built a product with long-term flexibility and options. He also worked incredibly hard at his job, and in the service of others. Literally days before he died (and during Christmas vacation) he was at home processing paperwork so farmers that worked with his company could get bonuses that were owed them.

No father is perfect, but I think my dad came pretty damn close. And as the years have gone by, what remains are the most warm and generous memories of my childhood. He was diagnosed with cancer just about two years before he died, so our family had two years of knowing the end was near and in that time we were able to really savor that time together. Considering the late-stage cancer, he was in pretty good health that entire time.

I should mention here how much my mother means to me. My mother and father were such a great team, particularly during those last two years. She has always been a strong influence in our lives, but in my father’s final years really became the backbone of our family, and remains so today. We couldn’t have gotten through the experience without her. Her emotional support of our whole family was incredibly strong, despite the fact that she had just lost her husband and partner of 25+ years. I love and admire her strength and character.

What saddens me to my core is knowing how much of my life I haven’t been able to share with my father; how much more I could have learned from him. When he died, he knew that I had a full scholarship to college through the Navy ROTC program. But after he died, I ended up going to a different university. I had amazing experiences at the University of Michigan, and then spent six years in the Navy. I’ve lived in London for the past eight years. More importantly, I met my wife, fell in love, married and now have our first child on the way. I look back and see what I’ve done and how much I’ve changed in the last 17 years.

I wish I could have had him experience racing through the Australian Outback with my university team. I wish I could have had him out on my submarine for a Tiger cruise; I can only imagine the pride we both would have felt. I wish I could have taken him around to all of the amazing places in London. I wish I could have introduced him to my wife; I know he would have loved her nearly as much as I do now. And as I approach fatherhood now, I really wish I could turn to him for advice.

I still remember the last time I saw my father alive; up and walking off to the surgery that we hoped would prolong the time he had left. (It’s still painfully ironic that he survived his very first incredibly risky surgery when a football-sized tumor was removed from his body, but didn’t survive the surgery that was virtually routine.) While this memory will always be bittersweet, I try to focus on the fact that he lived a full life and literally walked with life, energy, and purpose to his dying day.

As sad as this all is, I’m incredibly grateful. For over 17 years, an amazing man helped raise me and become the person I am today. I’m very happy I had a loving father, who taught and guided me and set such positive examples of how to live life. While I’ve missed him for 17 years, and will miss him every day for the rest of my life, I am blessed and grateful for the life and love he gave me. I had a gift of 17 years with a wonderful man, a wonderful father (and two wonderful parents).

I love you, Dad.