July 14--Britain's royal couple garnered a lot of buzz for their L.A. jaunt last weekend. But on Tuesday, Silicon Valley got its own visit from European royalty: His Royal Highness Guillaume, the crown prince of Luxembourg.
On a stop at Sunnyvale's Plug and Play Tech Center, he inked a deal that makes his tiny duchy home to Europe's newest technology incubator.
Modeled on Silicon Valley foundries like Plug and Play, and with support from PricewaterhouseCoopers, the "PwC Accelerator" will coach European startups on doing business in this country -- and help U.S. tech companies enter markets there.
One of the smallest countries in the world, Luxembourg in recent years has positioned itself as a tech nexus; it boasts the European headquarters of PayPal, Skype and other brand-name firms, as well as much of the continent's venture capital.
PwC itself has 2,000 consultants in Luxembourg, a nation of fewer than half a million people.
Other PwC offices around Europe will scout startups for the new initiative. Those participants will get office space; coaching on market strategy and hiring; and, ultimately, a ticket to Plug and Play's valley headquarters, which already is home to a number of entrepreneurs from overseas.
Luxembourg's foreign trade minister, Jeannot Krecke, said the program will further ingrain in his country "the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation that characterize Silicon Valley."
doesn't have an exclusive hold on Europe's startup activity. A few other places have already passed the duchy.
Richard Irving of Pond Venture Capital, which specializes in trans-Atlantic investments, notes the growing number of incubators around London's "Tech City" hub. And Dave McClure, who runs Mountain View accelerator 500 Startups, said he's spending an increasing amount of time in places such as Paris and Berlin, not to mention Beijing and Tokyo.
"I think you're definitely seeing an explosion of incubation facilities in the U.S. and abroad, particularly based on Y Combinator's success," McClure said Wednesday -- while getting off a plane in Montreal.
Back to school: McClure may aspire to launch 500 startups, but the people at Santa Clara University have a more modest number in mind: 29 entrepreneurs from around the state will be on campus starting Friday for the second annual California Program for Entrepreneurs.
CAPE attendees are working on startups that offer everything from cancer treatment systems and wind-power storage to vitamin water for dogs. Over four weekends between now and November, they'll get an intensive dose of workshops and mentorship opportunities geared at getting their businesses off the ground.
The program culminates with a $5,000 pitch competition in the fall. It's not a lot of money, but then again, the program's free, funded by advisory board members of the university's Leavey School of Business.
Dean Drew Starbird said members of CAPE's first class have gone on to place their products with major retailers. To find out more, check out www.scu.edu/business.
Fund for everyone: It appears to be a good week if you're running a Silicon Valley startup. Among those trumpeting funding news:
--Badgeville, a "social rewards" platform in Menlo Park that helps websites boost user loyalty, snared $12 million in a round led by Norwest Venture Partners and El Dorado Ventures.
--San Francisco's Crittercism, which makes a support platform for developers to instantly diagnose mobile app crashes, said it raised $1 million to $2 million from Google (GOOG) Ventures, AOL Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, among others.
--Another San Francisco fledgling, CloudFlare, announced $20 million led by New Enterprise Associates. The Web security company, which launched just nine months ago, said it powers 7 billion page views a month.
--Nimble Storage of San Jose closed $25 million from Artis Capital Management, Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital.
--San Francisco-based mobile entertainment studio Skyrockit raised $2.6 million from Intel (INTC) Capital, former Linden Labs CEO Mark Kingdon and others. The company may be best known for the Virtual Zippo Lighter, though its name also tends to get the song "Afternoon Delight" stuck in your head.
--And if you've ever forgotten something, you'll be glad to know Mountain View's Evernote -- which says it's "helping the world remember everything" by letting users record their activities to a computer, mobile phone or tablet -- has landed $50 million in a round led by Sequoia. I was going to send an e-mail congratulating their CEO, but his name escapes me.
Contact Peter Delevett at 408-271-3638 or email@example.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/mercwiretap.