€280k Up For Grabs By Start-Ups

31st of August 2007 by conor

The annual InterTradeIreland all-island Seedcorn Competition is heading towards its closing date of September 28th and the question many are asking is “should we enter?”. €100k for the winner is nothing to be sniffed at but does your web app stand a chance?

The competition started in 2003 and the winners to date have been Luxcel Biosciences, SmartHomes, Sigmoid Biosciences and EnBio. There is a very clear pattern here which seems to be putting off many in the web space from entering. Looking at the regional winners from the various years, there is a much wider spread of companies with several web ventures. However it does look like the scoring box marked “defensible IP” is highlighted in red given the types of businesses I checked.

Entering a competition like this is not a trivial decision since you are committing yourself to a lot of time and effort to go up against many more mature companies for a shot at €20k as a regional winner and then possibly the big prize. There is also €50k for the best emerging company.

I’m of the opinion that going through the process can be a great way of sanity-checking your business. If you don’t have a good business plan, if your deck stinks, if you can’t convince a panel of the value of your business, then Seedcorn will highlight this to you very quickly. Better to discover these problems in a competition than when you are trying and convince an Angel or VC to invest in your business.

I hope InterTrade avoids giving the 2007 prize to yet another Bio company. They also need to get more people on their evaluation panels who have a deep understanding of the web and content businesses. My experience in one of their master-classes was that this expertise was simply not in the panel I presented to.

Are you entering Seedcorn 2007? Have you considered it and decided against it? Have you entered in previous years? We’d love to hear about your experiences and why you made the decisions you did.

Company Index: InterTradeIreland

Comment posted by Alan O’Rourke
at 9/1/2007 9:01:18 AM

I entered it last year and came away with a “Highly Commended Award”. Not sure if they give those to all entries :)
It took about a week to get my plan ready to enter and over all i found it worth while. They allow you to follow up after the competition to get feedback on your plan and where you can improve it.

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