Brussels says CheckThis and the US says “Yes, Sir!”

May 8, 2012
Vote on Hacker News

Everywhere we turn, startups are popping up to change the way we create and share content. Pinterest’s image-centric platform allows people to express themselves via collections of images. Instagram, with filters (and images). Twitter, via 140 characters. CheckThis co-founder Frederic della Faille found himself looking at all these platforms and wondering: “What if I don’t want to create an account, upload a profile picture, find my friends, and commit to long-term activity, in order to share?” And, like that, CheckThis was born.

CheckThis to close a round imminently!

Aptly described as being in between a blog post and nothing, CheckThis has been on a roller coaster ride ever since it was accepted into Seedcamp earlier this year.The website, which enables anyone to instantly publish and share temporary but beautiful webpages, was showed off to some prominent Silicon Valley VCs in its first month at Seedcamp, and the response was phenomenal – so phenomenal that CheckThis decided to roll their seed round with Seedcamp into a bigger round with VC-firms. Although unable to disclose the details on which investors are getting in on the deal or when the deal will be closed, Frederic told me they will be relocating to New York, where most of the investors are located – perhaps Fred Destin & Atlas Ventures are in on this one? The deal is set to close very soon; it seems the final papers are just being passed around to be signed.

Creating a startup in Brussels: “There’s no Big Player”

Once signed, Fred says they will be moving to New York by the end of the year, in order to grow the team, be closer to investors, and closer to potential clients. CheckThis is currently based in Brussels, Belgium, and so I took the opportunity to ask Fred about what it’s like starting a company in Brussels, Belgium, and Europe. “In Europe, there are very few brands,” says Fred – it’s not a question of where the money is, “It’s all about the people.” While Fred says that CheckThis is focusing entirely on users, and not on brands (and thus, not on revenue), it is an easy step to see how a platform of this kind could be interesting to brands, who are constantly announcing new products, new events, and news – New York and the East Coast are, no doubt, ideal locations for CheckThis.

“Every Month we have an Oh SH!T Moment”

Talking with Fred, I got caught up on CheckThis’s history & vision; he told me about how musician friends came to him and said they wanted to announce the release of a new music video, but that they didn’t want to make a YouTube account, or a MySpace account, or a blog, just to announce one thing. With requests like this coming in to him often, Fred realized there was a need for CheckThis: “On Instagram, can’t make an ugly picture. On CheckThis, you can’t make an ugly webpage.” CheckThis is currently working on new features, like cloning pages so that you can replace someone’s content with your own while keeping their feel, in order to make creating and sharing content that much easier.

“Every page starts as a message. Someone has a rant, an idea, a video to show.”

For startups considering joining Seedcamp or any other accelerator program, Fred said that Seedcamp was a great way to “train to pitch and meet other entrepreneurs,” as well as perfect your pitchdeck. Seedcamp also organized the trip to the US that allowed CheckThis to get their foot in the door.

Keep an eye out for this company, as well as other Seedcamp companies – it seems Seedcamp is picking such good companies, that investors can’t keep their hands off. In order enter the Seedcamp accelerator program, you must first apply to one of their one-day events, which include intense mentoring by European entrepreneurs, investors, and company builders. The next Seedcamp event is in Zagreb, and you can apply here.

For this article, I created a CheckThis page in order to show off the article – take a look and take our our poll to let us know what you think!