You can now submit your start-up to The Telegraph's Tech Start-Up 100 for consideration by our judging panel. To do that, . You'll be asked a few basic questions about your business.
If you don't disclose things like revenue, that's fine, but having as much of the most up-to-date information about your start-up as possible will assist you when we run the numbers and will probably result in a better ranking. If you make it to the judging stage in February, we may contact you for more information.
At last Monday’s launch party at TechHub, we unveiled a bit more information about the Tech Start-Up 100. Here's a recap in case you weren't able to join us.
The Telegraph is working with a panel of expert judges to create the most authoritative and trustworthy list of promising technology start-ups in Europe. We're looking to measure two things: potential and innovation. We're defining both of those things with a series of questions.
Firstly, potential. When constructing our ranking methodology, we'll be asking questions such as: could this company become a global player like Skype or SAP? Might they get that billion dollar exit to Google? Does this company have the potential to make a serious dent in the economy and create jobs?
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Secondly, innovation. Could this company seriously disrupt a global market? How brilliant or original is the product? How bold is the vision? How excited do our judges get by the inventiveness of this company?
We're seeking to introduce some proper rigour into the Start-Up 100 by using standardised metrics and criteria for collecting and classifying companies and a transparent, analytical methodology – which we'll publish here on the website – to rank start-ups. That, we think, is key to the list's credibility. Other rankings have been very bad at making their selection criteria and ranking processes transparent, leading to suspicion that they're just beauty parades.
The second thing we're doing differently is assembling a truly world-class judging panel of venture capitalists, proven and execution-focused serial entrepreneurs and other industry experts. There hasn't been a judging panel of this quality before for any comparable project in Europe.
We'll be unveiling our full panel in January, once we've finalised the line-up, but we're already thrilled with the people who have signed up. To give you a little taster, we can reveal that Robin Klein from Index Ventures, Dave McClure from 500 Startups, Fred Destin from Atlas Venture and Sonali de Rycker from Accel Partners are among the fifteen people who have generously agreed to give their time.
So how's it all going to work? Well, although you'll have to sit tight for the fine details, we can tell you that the 100 will be split into ten categories of ten, internally ranked. So there's a winner in each category of start-up - for example, green tech, social or e-commerce. In addition, there will be five overall winners across all categories – again, ranked, so one company will take home an overall first prize in addition to being first in their category. And when we say prizes, we mean prizes. Awesome ones. Watch this space.
There will also be a number of Special Mentions, which you'll hear about later. These are ad hoc awards from the panel that recognise a unique achievement by one or more of the companies in the Start-Up 100. For example, is there a start-up that could offer significant cost savings to the public sector?
You probably have two lingering questions at this point. How are we defining start-up? And what are the limits of 'technology'?
We're taking start-up to mean a company that has just started up. Not much else matters. That will normally mean you've been operating for no more than 6 years and offering a product to the market for no more than 4. But, if your company falls outside those limits, don't be put off from applying: there will always be exceptions, for example in categories where it's normal to have a product in development for some time before going public.
Don't worry too much about things like number of employees: our judges are there to make sure it's a fair fight. Profitable? No problem. (Rather, good for you!) Major no-nos include acquisitions, mergers and IPOs, but you probably knew that already.
As for product categories, you can get a hint of what they might look like in the drop-down menu on the . That's not a definitive list – there are more than ten there for a start – but it'll give you a good idea as to whether your product falls within our remit. Since credibility is our watchword, final categories will be determined to some extent by our panel: if we don't have the expertise we need to make an authoritative ranking, we simply won't judge that category this year. That's better than putting a finger in the wind and guessing, right?
Given the necessarily fluid nature of these definitions, the basic rule is: if in doubt, apply.
Throughout January and February, while the judging is taking place, we'll be publishing a series of guest columns penned by members of our panel and a selection of other experts here at .
We want to create an invaluable resource for the European start-up community and we hope you'll enjoy getting involved in the debates our guest columnists kick off.
That's all you'll hear from us officially until the new year. In the meantime, . The closing date is Sunday, 23 January 2011.
The Telegraph Tech Start-Up 100, in conjunction with TechCrunch Europe, is supported by Orrick and Silicon Valley Bank. Commissioning editor: Milo Yiannopoulos for The Telegraph. General editor: Shane Richmond. Chair of judging panel: Mike Butcher. Additional reporting by David Rosenberg.
To contact us about the Start-Up 100, write to . For updates, bookmark or follow .