Do you want your company to get involved and meet with promising startups? Finding the right startups is by no means an easy task, but there are many ways to get discovering great startups across Europe. We have put together a list of the different types of places you can find a whole host of startups – some you might already know and some that you might not have thought about before.
Keeping Track Of Startup News – Investment, founding and new product launches
This is the most time consuming on the list but also one of the best ways to find out about the best startups. Keeping track of startup news means you’re on top of everything that is happening in the startup world and will hear about all the sizeable investments into early stage startups, the new product launches and the growing in popularity of early stage startups.
Using services such as Google Alerts can provide tailored news results to you on a regular basis depending on what startup keywords you want to hear about. Looking for news stories by industry can also help you narrow down the relevant startup news available.
Here are a few good examples of where you can find European startup news:
Events for startups are frequent and increasingly popular – especially for those involved in technological fields. Attending these events can get you in a room with loads of bright entrepreneurs presenting itself as a good networking opportunity.
Having your company officially attend an event with things such as a stand and keynote speakers can draw startups directly to you if you have something of interest to offer.
In the next few months alone Europe is seeing a whole host of events that will appeal to startups:
- Campus Party (London, 2-7 September)
- White Bull Summit (Barcelona, 6-8 October)
- Wired UK (London, 16-17 October)
- Dublin Web Summit (Dublin, 4-6 November)
- TechCrunch Disrupt (London, 20-21 October)
- Webit (Istanbul, 1-2 October)
- Global Entrepreneurship Week (Everywhere, 17-23 November)
Accelerators and Incubators
One of the absolute best places to find startups is through accelerators and incubators. Accelerators and incubators look for potentially very successful startups, and with the acceleration industry growing at a rapid pace more and more industry specific accelerators are popping up making it easier for you to discover startups in your field.
The key for engaging with accelerators is to give back. In an article with Computer Weekly, the CEO of Tech Hub Manchester spoke of how corporations need to provide something in return for the knowledge they gain access to. He gave Barclays as a good example to how a corporation should interact with accelerators. They offered a long term commitments wanting to form a good relationship rather than just gaining access to startups.
Accelerators are also known for holding big demo day events where the current cohort of startups pitch their companies on stage to many potential investors. Attending these will allow you to hear, from the startups themselves, their ideas and goals as well as give an opportunity to invest in those who sound interesting.
Mentorships tie-in strongly with accelerators and incubators. Both offer their startups mentorship from the best minds in various industries. Becoming a mentor not only gives a huge amount back to these organizations but it allows you to directly speak with startups, help them grow and potentially reach out for partnerships.
Having your company starting up its own mentoring program is another option. Although requiring more work it would really put your company on the map as one that wants to encourage entrepreneurship. One great example of just this comes from IBM.
If you are really serious about getting involved and meeting startups mentorships should not be ignored.
Crowdfunding platforms are another way to find startups. Startups are shown across the platforms ready for investors to put money in those they think to be great ideas. The crowd curates the quality startups making it easier to narrow down which might be of interest to you. Many platforms also allow you to sort by industry further narrowing down your results.
There are a few platforms across Europe that could be useful to corporations looking to find interesting startups:
Competitions and Hackathons
Running and sponsoring competitions is a great way to get connected to startup talent. The idea is to bring startup teams together to solve a problem. Offering prizes such as mentorship or free access to your products to help their company grow can be incredibly attractive to young startups.
The nature of competition also allows you to curate the stronger candidates for your needs although can require big efforts to carry out.
Databases are one of the easiest places to find startups but quite often are not fully comprehensive. This means you need to check multiple databases to make sure you get the full picture of what startups are in your industry as well as ones focused in specific locations.
There are some databases that also act as networks for investors looking for the next big thing. Platforms such as AngelList are great for investors as well as those just looking to find a big list of startups.
Here are a few good free databases that don’t even require sign up to get you started:
Open Up Your Company To Crowdsourcing
Although not the most obvious option, opening your company up to crowdsourcing can introduce you to startup teams as well as provide a great means of innovation. Companies such as Procter and Gamble and BMW are already doing this.
Being open allows startups to discover you and potentially pitch ideas to your organization if both of your industries fit.
Run Your Own Events And Meetups
Tying in with a few of the previous points on this list, running your own events not only provides networking opportunities but also puts your company brand out there as one that is serious about startups and entrepreneurship. In one of our previous posts we talked about how to make your company more attractive to startups, and this does just that.
Showing your brand to be startup friendly helps you to meet startups from them approaching you if your company can grow a positive reputation.