is Europe innovating?

Here is an interesting stat:

last year, add up all the venture capital put in companies in continental Western Europe (Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Denmark, etc).

add it all up.

it was less than the venture capital put in companies in tiny Israel

4 thoughts on “is Europe innovating?

  1. Mikael Gueck

    Just as you can say that Europe is quantitatively much less religious than Israel because of the significantly larger amount of kosher restaurants per capita in the latter. Secondary indicators are secondary indicators, you can’t get back to the primary through them.

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  2. Pelle

    While there are innovative companies in Europe, there just aren’t enough. In most Western European countries strategy is about proactively supporting entrepreneurs through “enterprise zones”, grants and other kinds of programs that do little but increase the bureaucratic burden of the entrepreneur.
    There are a few exceptions to this such as Estonia which has taken the low tax and administrative burden approach instead with much success. They have in proportion to size a large amount of VC flowing in.
    Another problem as well is the overall lack of risk taking and example of risk takers. One example is that in the Copenhagen Ruby meetings most people are worried about finding enterprise clients, where I keep telling them to stop worrying about finding clients compete with them instead.
    I suspect that in similar meetings in the bay area there is a much larger ratio of entrepreneurs (or people working in startups) to contract software developers than here in Copenhagen.
    Anyway I’m probably relocating to the bay area soon to be closer to that very inspirational vibe I always get around other entrepreneurs.

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  3. MikeyK

    From anecdotal observations I’d say that in entrepreneurs do exist in mainland Europe, but they are more inclined to borrow against their property rather than call in venture capital, and they tend to grow their companies more slowly. I don’t know why this is – it could be a thing they have about self-reliance, or the bureaucratic difficulties involved, or just a not very well developed VC network (a chicken and egg situation – ha ha ha!)
    The only thing I’d say is that innovation does happen in Europe, maybe not at the rate it happens in the UK or USA, and that you shouldn’t attach too much significance to VC funding figures, since these are just secondary indicators: VC can be useful but you can innovate without it.

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