Softbank – The Root of TechStars, Seedcamp and Bootup Labs
Last Friday I found out just how small the world is. While at the TechCrunch offices in Palo Alto, I met Reshma Sohoni, CEO of Seedcamp for the first time. Similar to YCombinator, TechStars of the US and Bootup Labs in Canada, Seedcamp has to be one of the most powerful entrepreneurial drivers Europe has going for it. They run a startup competition where winners are given some seed capital and then exposed to an impressive list of over 400 mentors.
What was remarkable to me is that Reshma worked with SoftBank Venture Capital in Mountain View back in 1999/2000 to get their incubator started. My first startup, Spinway, was funded by SoftBank at the same time. I would often visit the incubator and work with some of the founders there. I dug around and found this picture of it. If you look closely, you can see a much younger version of me talking to the then DoDots founders, George and John Kembel, while Willie Quinn looks over Michael Perone’s shoulder as he shows him something on that huge CRT monitor.
Another twist is that TechStars co-founder Brad Feld was a Venture Partner at SoftBank at the same time as well. There must have been something in the water at the Softbank offices, or maybe it was the vodka ice louge… but that’s a different story (and different pictures)