At CapitalOnStage top-tier investors present themselves to Europe’s finest startups. As a Startup, you gain better insights into the way investors look at your market and which investors might be interested (and suitable!) for their company.
A wide variety of investors attend CapitalOnStage, ranging from to seed investors and well-known Venture Capitalists. All Startups that attend the conference have been hand-picked and can only join if they work on scalable web/tech businesses and are a (co)founder or CEO.
Program & open office hours
- September 14, 2011
- 9:00 am – 12:00 pmOpen Office HoursTalk privately for 15 minutes with the investors of your choice and/or visit the Deloitte 911 startup financial helpdesk for your questions regarding your financials or other hot topics. Also check out the stands from KplusV, The Sun or any of our partners!
- 12:30 pm – 2:00 pmDoors openLate Lunch
- 2:00 pm – 2:15 pmOpening words
- 2:15 pm – 2:45 pmKeynote: Emi Gal – Founder Brainient.com“How and why I raised $800.000 in funding from different investors in one round”
- 2:45 pm – 3:15 pmCapital On Stage Round 1Five Investor Presentations
- 3:15 pm – 3:25 pmStartups in the Spotlight
- 3:25 pm – 3:55 pmCapital On Stage Round 2Five Investor presentations
- 3:55 pm – 4:30 pmCoffee break
- 4:30 pm – 5:00 pmKeynote: Rik Arends – Founder & CTO Cloud9“How we raised $5.5 million“
- 5:00 pm – 5:30 pmCapital On Stage Round 3Five Investor presentations
- 5:30 pm – 5:40 pmStartups in the spotlight
- 5:40 pm – 6:10 pmCapital On Stage Round 4Five Investor presentations
- 6:10 pm – 6:30 pmKeynote: Ilja Laurs – Founder GetJar.com“The differences in getting funded and valuated in Europe and the USA, and how I raised $42 million“
- 6:30 pm – 6:45 pmFinal words
- 6:45 pm – 8:30 pmFood & drinks
Emi Gal FounderBrainient.comEmi Gal is the founder and CEO of Brainient – an interactive video advertising platform. Emi is Romanian, but raised his $800.000 in funding mostly from UK and US based investors. Why did he make this choice and how did he pull it off? You’ll find out on the 14th of September.
Rik Arends FounderCloud9.com
Ilja Laurs FounderGetjar.comIlja Laurs is the founder of GetJar – the independent, cross-platform app store provider that received in total $42 million in three rounds of funding. Ilja will speak about his lessons learned in the process of getting funded, but in particular will discuss the differences in getting funded and valuated in Europe and the USA, from the perspective of ...
Capital on Stage will be held on September 14th 2011 from 13:30 to 20:00 at the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam 2011 Blog Posts
Videos of the entire event are now online. Watch the compilation below and have a look at the interviews. Make sure to check out the keynotes, VC presentations and startup pitches. Here's a link to the Program of Capital On Stage 2011 in Amsterdam.As for the pictures, have a look at the investor portraits and the photos from the morning, afternoon and evening. Enjoy!
Amsterdam 2011 Sponsors:
Tonight (Tuesday)On Tuesday night, the day before Capital On Stage we'll have an informal gathering in Café Thijssen at 8:30 PM. No speakers or anything. Just enjoy a beer and a laugh with your fellow attendees. More info here.
Conference Day (Wednesday)The location for the event is the Noorderkerk. The address is Noordermarkt 48, Amsterdam. It's a 15 minute walk from central station. View it on the map here.
09:00 - 12:00, Open Office HoursIf you booked Open Office Hours, make sure you're in at least 15 minutes before your first meeting. Please double check you email to see which meetings were confirmed, declined and/or changed. Also, come well prepared: read about the background the investor/partner you're meeting with. This is also a great time to visit Deloitte 911 startup financial helpdesk for your questions regarding your financials or other hot topics. Also check out the stands from KplusV, The Sun or any of our partners!
12:30 - 14:00, LunchHave a drink and have something to eat, meet the other attendees, the investors, and visit the various boots.
14:00, the program begins!You want to be in before 2PM. This is when the investors and other speakers will have their presentations!
18:30, drinks and bitesWe'll be serving drinks and bites until 20:30.
20:30, end of the program, but not of the dayThere are plenty of bars surrounding the conference location, so I'm sure you'll find some people and a nice bar to continue your evening. Take the Betalist meetup for example, which is 50 meters away :)
Over the past week, you guys booked over 200 Open Office Hours meetings. We still have some last spots available. We encourage you to go through the list below and book meetings. Besides investors, we have some great partners that you may be interested in talking to. Update: all slots are now fully booked.
Capital On Stage could not take place without our sponsors, so we'd like to thank them! First of all, Deloitte is our event co-host. More info on Deloitte's participation can be found here. KplusV is the hotspot for high tech start-up’s in the Netherlands. On a yearly basis they support over 300 CEO’s in their ambition to become a global player. Capital is often a big accelerator! You can imagine that they have a large network of investors. Even better is that KplusV cooperates in Money Meets Ideas, thé business angel network of the Netherlands. If you’re looking for venture capital, smart money or a review on your business proposal. Book a meeting with them during the Open Office Hours or visit their stand! The SUN focuses on innovative start-ups active in Information Technology, New Media or Creative sector. The network actively accelerates the growth of the companies by fine-tuning their business proposal and attracting investors. Next to that the SUN membership gives access to a network of 500 (in)formal investors, experienced entrepreneurs and potential customers. They support start-ups with a broad base of product development, internationalization, law, tax and marketing knowledge. The SUN is the one-stop-shop for the growth of your organization. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation has supported many Startups through its (former) Technopartner program. This program has provided Dutch investors with additional money to invest into Dutch innovative companies.
We are proud to announce the location of Capital On Stage. The first edition of the event will take place in the Noorderkerk, a beautiful church in the centre of Amsterdam. This Renaissance church is situated on the Noordermarkt square, close to the Prinsengracht canal. It gives the perfect ambiance for a great day. Google MAP
Noordermarkt 48 1015 NA Amsterdam Netherlands
Besides others, the founders of the following companies are attending Capital On Stage:
As we announced four days ago, tickets sales were going very well. The past days, things moved even faster and we've sold out the conference (4 weeks in advance)! We spoke to the venue (which will be announced shortly to participants) to see what can be done. The good news is that we've been able to arrange (a very limited amount of) extra seats. The bad news is that additional arrangements need to be made, which increases our costs significantly. This means that we need to increase the ticket prices to 95. We're sorry about this, but it's the only way to let a few more of you in, while maintaining the quality of the conference. Obviously, this does not change anything for the 200 confirmed founders. See you on the 14th of September in Amsterdam!
Update: We're now at 90% so be quick to secure your tickets! Over the past two months, our sources have provided us with a great number of recommendations: founders they believe in and that should be able to attend Capital On Stage. Besides this, we've worked hard to process all incoming applications. Yes, we do check everyone's website and LinkedIn profile, and ask for clarification when needed. Tickets sales has opened two weeks ago to those who made it through our selection. In that timeframe, we've sold 80% of the founder tickets. This means that if you made it through the selection, you need to get your tickets quickly. If you'd like to attend, but haven't applied yet, do so today.
A question that's being asked a lot lately is whether there is a bubble. This has inspired us to create a special desktop wallpaper, inspired by René Magritte's famous painting Ceci n'est pas une pipe. Feel free to download it, and use it however you like. Of course, you'll soon see it on WeTransfer as well!
Many people ask us which founders are attending Capital On Stage. So, we used some of our precious time to create an overview of attending founders. It's not complete, but it sure gives an indication of the kind of companies that are there. Click on the image to enlarge.
We receive a bunch of startup applications every day and ticket sales are going very well. Let's stress that: very very well. If you applied to get invited to the conference and made it through the selection process, you can choose from 3 kinds of tickets. There are regular tickets, which give you access to the conference and Open Office Hours. There are spotlight tickets, which come with the opportunity to pitch your startup to the audience. Finally, a super tickets allow you to set up a stand in the breakout area, where you can demo your product. The second category, spotlight tickets, have now been sold out. If you didn't secure your (entry or super) ticket yet, do so as soon as possible, as you may not be able to join the conference otherwise.
We've announced earlier that Emi Gal ($800.000 raised) and Ilja Laurs ($42 million raised) will speak at Capital On Stage. Today we add the final speaker to our list. Rik Arends is Founder and CTO of Ajax.org and Cloud9 IDE. Could9 raised no less than 5.5 million dollar two months ago and will tell us all about the process. By now, I'm sure you want to learn more about who the 20 investors that will be presenting. Of course we're building things up, but rest assured that we'll announce the first 10 shortly.
What's the deal again?
As you know by now, At Capital On Stage investors present themselves to Internet companies. But only the best startups can join the conference. Not only need you be an Internet startup. Your product needs to be launched or approaching launch, and it should be scalable. Also, only founders of these companies are allowed to attend.
Partnerships attracting great startups
We have closed a series of partnerships to gain access to great startup founders, which has lead to many applications from all over Europe and beyond. In case you haven't paid attention to the partner section on the right, we now collaborate with: Springboard, Startup Bootcamp, Techhub, Launch48, Founder Institute, Rockstart, Startup Weekend, Hackers & Founders, Betalist, Appsterdam, The Next Web, Cardcloud and Agilician. Quite the mouth full, and we'll be announcing more of them shortly.
As for speakers, 2 out of 3 have been announced and the third
will be announced shortly has been announced.
Investors We're very excited to announce the 20 presenting investors shortly, but you'll have to wait just a little longer. We can tell you already that they originate from various countries and that we've got investors for most deal sizes: seed capital, venture capital and private equity. Besides presenting on stage, you will be able to book 20 minute meetings with the investors of your choice during the Open Office Hours in the morning. Apply for a ticket If you haven't received one, feel free to apply for an invitation. If we like what we see, you just might end up with a ticket to the conference. Good luck!
In a series of interviews, Roxana Turturea interviews startups about their life before the funding. Today we interview Moneybird's Joost Diepenmaat about bootstrapping the business for the full 3 years. MoneyBird offers a web-based tool for sending invoices and billing customers. It is an easy to use financial solution for freelancers and small companies to manage their accounting online.
Where did the idea behind MoneyBird come from?Well, every time I was selling something I had to pick a new number for the invoice, set the current date in excel, and send the file out. However, I had no idea if the invoice eventually was paid or not. So we developed a solution to a problem we were also facing.
Could you give me some details about your company investment history? How did you finance the start-up?Before I started MoneyBird I had some money, to keep myself alive, around 20.000 euros for 2 years. That was just enough to survive and pay my rent. So I only gave money to myself and I didn’t have to spend a lot of money with starting the company. We rented an office for a few hundred euros per month, we rented some servers and that was it. I think the initial investment was around 5000 euros in total. We self-financed the entire business, because we didn’t need a big investment to start with. We are charging 10 euros/month per account, so we managed to attract many customers. After the first year we had 300 clients per month, so 3000 euros revenues and at that time we only spent 2000 euros per month. So, 1000 euros profit divided by three, makes 330 euros per month each. It is not much, but it kept growing and growing. Nowadays we are making a living from this business and things are going really well.
Were you considering external financing in the beginning?Three years ago I was involved for about three months in a start-up that had bank financing at that time. It went totally wrong and the bank just pulled the plug. I didn’t want to get involved with banks again. You should only go to a bank or an investor if you really, really need it. It depends on what type of company you have and what your ambitions are. If you want to expand within 3 years all over the world because you need to, then you have to get VC funding. We had many offers, but we didn’t really need the money so we didn’t take it.
Would you consider external financing in the future or do you plan to continue to self-finance the business?At this point we are fine to finance ourselves. We were approached by some of the well known VCs. But I think it is not always a matter of your business but also a matter of your personal ambition. I think I am strong enough to succeed without VC money if I have to. But, never say no.
Was bootstrapping a deliberate choice for you?We are on a freemium model, which means you have 3 invoices for free each month, and if you want more invoices, you pay 10 euros. It’s not a trial period, you can use the freemium model as long as you like. The interesting thing is that in the beginning we had 4.5% of the users paying. That percentage is much higher nowadays. It just takes a while to grow as a company and have customers that trust you. Some aspects of a company need time to settle. You have to understand what things can change the company and make it better.
Could you tell me why you did resort to bootstrapping?We considered the product to be good enough to avoid giving out shares, and to do it by ourselves. We didn’t need anyone. Two months after we started we got our first offer, the guy was willing to give quite a lot of money, but we didn’t really need it. Everyone would call us an idiot, but we just wanted to manage without external financing. In the Netherlands, if someone gets funded, everyone considers they have a good company. I don’t think that is really the case. I saw many companies that got funding but who were struggling. Funding involves spending a lot of time thinking about what to do with the money. I'd rather develop on a product and get happy customers first.
Looking back, do you consider that the bootstrapping methods you applied and the motives to do so, influenced your companies growth? How?Yes, financing can make a business terrible or freaking well. But I am happy we used self-financing. However, if you are in the position that you can’t pay yourself any salary, that can make you nervous. If you get external financing and receive, let’s say 2000 euros per month, that can make you more relaxed.
In a series of interviews, Roxana Turturea interviews startups about their life before the funding. Today we interview no one less than Ruben Timmerman (Eduhub/Springest) about bootstrapping the business for the first 3 years. Eduhub is a vertical search engine for professional trainings and educations. We add value to our educational data by providing users with tools to search, filter, compare, review and share trainings. Eduhub is present in the Netherlands, UK, Germany and Belgium.
How did you start Eduhub?I started alone with the idea in 2007 and Wouter joined me in 2008 as a developer. That is when we actually started the company. I hired him as an employee but after a certain period of time he would get shares in the company. We started with the two of us, both part-time. He was still studying; I was also giving presentations to make some money. Now I don’t do consulting anymore, maybe once or twice per year but I did it a lot in the beginning.
And how did you get the money to start Eduhub?I had a little bit of savings, but not that much, and the rest just came in while we were working on it. We invested around 26.000 euros of which 15.000 were in our own bank accounts and the remaining came in from presentations and my consultancy work. I spend it on developers for the website, all of them freelancers.
Was self-financing a matter of choice or need for you? Is it a long term strategy ?It was a choice. At that time I was already known with my blog so I could have gone for external financing, but I didn’t need it because I had some money and I wanted to grow in my own tempo. Also I was quite negative about funding in general because I think it is bad for companies to have external influences in an early stage. Actually, until one year ago I thought I would never take funding. Now we have funding, so I changed my mind about it, but that was for a reason. We were running Eduhub for a while but I wanted to take it to the next level. Bootstrapping was very good to grow the company at start, but now I want to take the next step and for this I need external money.
So, are you looking for external financing now?Yes, we are now getting financed because we are growing very fast. Until 8 months ago we were only in the Netherlands. But we decided we wanted to become the booking.com of this sector and we had to expand to other countries for that. We launched in the UK 6 months ago. Our model assumes a new country will make a loss for about a year. In the Netherlands it was easier, because I already had a network, but in Belgium, Germany and France it will be different.
Do you think that bootstrapping was optimal for you so far? Or should you have started with external financing earlier?That depends on the goal. Our goal was to grow personally and to grow a good company. If our goal had been to grow as fast as possible, bootstrapping wouldn’t have been a good option. I am happy with our financing decision and I think it is the right moment to get external financing now. We already employ 17 full-time persons; we are expanding, so I think the timing is good. The last 5 people we hired in the last couple of months, because we knew we were going to get external financing.
Could you tell me why you resorted to bootstrapping?I just wanted to validate the business, to see if it would become a business. That was my only plan, to validate it and grow it organically afterwards. Now with the new countries, we just have to see if we can do it. And if it works out, we invest more money. We have competition in each of these countries and most training companies want to work with 1 or 2, so we have to convince them we are the best option.
Looking back, do you consider that the bootstrapping methods you applied and the motives to do so, influenced your companies growth? How?Of course we would have grown faster if we had external money, but bootstrapping was for us a way for continuous improvement. We like to study our processes and make them better and I think bootstrapping fitted this approach very well.
Today we're happy to announce the following two speakers at CapitalOnStage: Ilja Laurs is the founder of GetJar - the independent, cross-platform app store provider that received in total $42 million in three rounds of funding. Ilja will speak about his lessons learned in the process of getting funded, but in particular will discuss the differences in getting funded and valuated in Europe and the USA, from the perspective of each side of the ocean. In his talk, he'll explain his views about why tech startups based in Silicon Valley are still mostly valued two times higher than when they're based in Europe, as well as why European VC's don't really seem to bother themselves with what's happening in Silicon Valley.Emi Gal is the founder and CEO of Brainient - an interactive video advertising platform. Emi is Romanian, but raised his $800.000 in funding mostly from UK and US based investors. Why did he make this choice and how did he pull it off? You'll find out on the 14th of September. The third speaker and the presenting Investors
We're adding more sources to find the best startup founders of the moment. After yesterday's announcement of our collaboration with Springboard, today we can tell you that a selection of the companies that have been featured on Beta Li.st will be invited as well. So watch your inbox, as you may be one of them.
Attending Capital On Stage as a startup is not expensive, as tickets start at 25 Euro. The problem is - it's just hard to get accepted. Some of the criteria include the following. You need to be an Internet startup that's working on an outstanding product. You've already launched or approaching the launch date, and the business better be scalable. Oh, and founders only, of course. Today, we announce collaborating with Springboard; the accelerator based in Cambridge, UK. The finest of their startups will be invited to the conference, so keep checking those inboxes. If you're not enrolled in the program, and believe you should attend the conference, do try to get invited.
In a series of interviews, Roxana Turturea interviews startups about their life before the funding. Today we interview Distimo's Remco van den Elzen about bootstrapping the business for the full 2 years. Distimo is a web-based tool that allows users to monitor their own and competing applications in all app stores. Additionally it provides more in-depth reports about mobile apps for device manufacturers and mobile operators.
Can you tell me where the idea for mobile apps analytics came from?It was mainly because of the fact that we all worked at eBuddy. I also wrote my master thesis on eBuddy and I was thinking about business ideas all the time. There was a lot of frustration going on because we always had to watch the competitors, see what they were doing. Then Apple and Google came into existence with app stores, and we saw that many developers would get problems with monitoring their app performances in the different app stores. Aside from developers, we realized that device manufacturers and operators were very interested in insights into those markets as well. That is why we decided to sell reports to those companies.
Can you elaborate more on your companies financing history? How did you finance the start-up?We didn’t have any long term loans. We've had some loans from the University of Twente, but those are personal loans and they are not significant. We have put most of the money to set up the company together ourselves. That only enabled us to live for one year, so that left us no extra money for actual investments. We pretty much bootstrapped everything; we do not have any external financing. We only have personal loans which we used, so we wouldn’t have to pay ourselves any salary.
Can you tell me more about the bootstrapping period? Was it a matter of choice or need? Did you prefer to start without external financing, such as a bank loan?It is pretty difficult with banks, I think. They just don’t give you 100.000 euros just to start a company. We were thinking about venture capital money. But very soon after we started we got our first clients, some very big names, and we realized we should do it by ourselves instead of getting funding. It takes a lot of time to look for investors, discuss with them, have board meetings etc. We just preferred to keep all the ownership ourselves. For figuring out your business model, the bootstrapping period is very good. Instead of just getting a couple of million euros and figure out what you can do with it afterwards. When you know money is limited, you are also more careful with how you spend it and sometimes make wiser decisions.
How do you see the next few years? Do you want to continue to bootstrap?We are doing pretty well right now; we can pay for everything ourselves and slightly more. It depends a lot on what type of product we may launch. If we discover an opportunity that is large and requires lots of money we will go for VC money. But as long as we can pay our own salaries and we don’t need more money to grow further, we will probably continue to self-finance.
Did you encounter any problems during this period, cash-flow related for instance, or clients paying late?Only some small clients, but we mostly do business with large device manufacturers. It is a hassle to get into their systems, but once you are in the system and you send an invoice, they will pay in time, a few days late at most. But usually we don’t have problems with that. We are normally paid when we deliver the report, so it is convenient for us.
Could you tell me why you did resort to bootstrapping?We didn’t have a track record, so we used bootstrapping to make a name for ourselves. It is difficult to get external financing as a start-up. Bootstrapping allowed us to develop our model freely. At the beginning we did not know exactly where our revenues would come from. We wanted to get the money from the app developers, but they were not interested to pay for our service. Then we approached device manufacturers. When you have venture capital money is not that easy to move from one revenue model to another.
How do you think bootstrapping influenced your companies growth?I think we would have had a different monetization model. Which means we would not have a lot of money right now. We would just offer something for app developers, a paid service. Right now, having a direct relationship with all these large clients is very valuable. That probably wouldn’t have been possible with VC money. We had more freedom to experiment and adapt our business model. And we could also enter the market really fast, focusing more on our product than on attracting external financing.
Do you think bootstrapping was good for your company?We focused more on making the right decisions, since we could not afford to make many bad ones. We could not focus on many ideas, some of them might have proved successful, but I am still happy all the equity is ours and the company is growing, so the answer would be yes.
In a series of interviews, Roxana Turturea interviews startups about their life before the funding. Today we interview Jons Janssens about Marvia's 2.5 years of bootstrapping. The company is now 3.5 years old and provides an online tool that allows users to easily edit pre-designed print documents. The user just has to choose the template, edit text and visuals and send the document to the printer or publisher.
Where did the idea for Marvia come from?Steven, one of the co-founders, had a design agency here in Amsterdam and he noticed many of his clients were coming back for small changes in the printed materials, like flyers. We figured we had to make a web application to do that. The first clients were coming from Steven’s business or from our previous one. This is how we started and how we started bootstrapping as well.
Can you give me some details about your company investment history? How did you finance this start-up?We had personal loans, the three F's: friends, family and fools. We also generated some revenues from our consultancy work and web design. This generated funds to start developing the product. Two and half years later, our revenue streams looked very well and that’s why we took an informal investment and also a bank loan, to speed things up a little bit.
Do you still bootstrap?Now we are generating revenues, so not so much. As I said, we took a bank loan after 2,5 years and we also had an informal investment last year.
And what are your plans for further financing Marvia?We bootstrapped because we wanted to show that we could generate revenues by ourselves, and after that the informal capital helped to speed things up. The next step would be to speed it up even further for example with VC money or strategic partnerships.
Did you have any problems with financing during the bootstrapping period?All the time! That’s one of the parts about bootstrapping, you want to focus on your product, but you have to take the money from whatever source you can. I wasn’t working for other businesses; we did projects on the side to generate some revenues, but only for our own company.
For you bootstrapping was a choice or a need?In a way, both. You really get creative when you don’t have a lot of money. For instance with advertising, we relied a lot on PR and friends. I think bootstrapping is a good way to start a business. If you don’t have money, or you don’t earn revenues, you really have to manage your costs to the last cent. But also, we wanted to generate revenues as fast as we could, not only because otherwise we wouldn’t survive, but I also think it is good for a company to focus on its business model in the beginning and not spend time on looking for external financing.
Did you have the possibility to attract external financing in the beginning?When you start you only have an idea or a business concept. With technology is not that easy to convince a bank to give you money. That is why informal investors who believe in you and in your product, are more suitable for a start-up. We had some offers when we started, but this takes up a lot of time as well. You want to build a business and a product and you don’t want to spend all your time looking for financing.
Could you tell me why you did resort to bootstrapping?It was organic, it just happened. We finished university and figured we could start working for a large corporation or just do what we have been doing for a couple of years already. Bootstrapping seemed the easiest way to do it. Also, we are in the second phase when we focus on growing the company. In the beginning we were focusing more on just surviving, delivering proof that the product works. When you identify the market, which for us is represented by marketeers, you can invest in doing it better. But at first you have to look around and see where your business fits. Bootstrapping is good for that.
Looking back, do you consider that the bootstrapping methods you applied and the motives to do so, influenced your companies growth? How?Definitely, you learn a lot in that period. So it is beneficial for the founders and the company as well. Especially because you are forced to be creative with everything. For us bootstrapping was a necessity, you have to do all these things to start up. Now we diminished it and I don’t think we are really bootstrapping this year. We attracted an informal investor to be able to hire some new people and focus more on the things we really wanted to do. Now it’s time to grow even further. We know where to invest and we are going to succeed.
Today we sent out the first batch of invitations. Check your email to see if you made it to the list!
Capital on Stage is a conference about funding on the 14th of September in Amsterdam. Top-tier investors present themselves to Europe's finest startups. So, investors, feel free to get in touch. Startups, check out the program and try to get an invite!