Europe Struggles to Develop Start-Up Culture
Here at Worldview, we walk the divide between U.S. and international cultures and business methods…with most of our clients being from other countries and practiced in the nuances of global business. We relocated our headquarters to the San Francisco Bay Area / Silicon Valley exactly because this area is the Mecca for innovative ideas, start-up culture, and wealth creation. And more and more, international entrepreneurs are converging here to cultivate and grow their innovative ideas.
Let’s be honest here, the Silicon Valley is the capital of innovation around the world, with the most developed ecosystem of talent, money, and innovative spirit of anywhere in the world. This isn’t really even an American thing anymore – although it took American ethics and attitudes to evolve and grow. But now this phenomenon is truly global, and entrepreneurs from all over the are coming here. Some estimates are that as many as one-half of all new start-up founders are foreign-born. That is amazing!
This article from today’s Wall Street Journal does a great job of highlighting the massive challenge for Europe…to develop and foster a risk-taking start-up culture in order help grow their economy. It is indeed going to be a tall challenge!!
Europe Is Struggling to Foster a Startup Culture
Resistance to risk-taking makes rivaling U.S. tech giants tough
When Adrian Johnson saw a request for volunteers to speak at his children’s career fair, the high-tech entrepreneur jumped at the chance to explain his profession. But the school in Fontainebleau, France, turned him down.
“They wanted doctors or people who worked at BNP Paribas,” said Mr. Johnson, a Briton who has started Web companies in France, Germany and the U.K. “The idea of having a weird guy who started companies—they didn’t want their kids to hear that.”
As Internet firms push farther into the terrain of mainstream industries, from publishing to telecoms, policy makers in Europe are increasingly concerned about the lack of home-grown rivals to compete against dominant U.S. players like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. Their solution: knit the region’s 28 national ecosystems together into a vast digital market that could become a breeding ground for the Web giants of the future.
But these grand plans may not be enough to overcome a European culture that has long been unfriendly to entrepreneurs, valuing prudence, professionalism and leisure time over flamboyant risk-taking.
That culture is a particular liability when it comes to the increasingly crucial high-tech field, whose culture and lore are wrapped up in startups, from Steve Jobs in his garage to Mark Zuckerberg in his dorm room.
Europe has yet to produce a single Internet company valued at more than $10 billion. Six privately owned startups in the U.S. are currently worth $10 billion or more, and two in Asia, but none in Europe, according to Dow Jones VentureSource. Spotify AB, the biggest private European startup, was valued at $8.4 billion in a fundraising round last month, according to people familiar with the matter.
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