Words of Encouragement for European Startups

Let’s not fool ourselves – the economic situation in Europe is dire. The latest GDP figures show that the UK and Germany barely grew (0.1% for DE and 0.3% for UK), France’s economy actually contracted and according to this BBC article, “The figure (Germany) marks the longest recession since the euro was launched in 1999”. The Eurozone GDP also seems gloomy:

What do these numbers mean for Europe? http://on.ft.com/12aUCZZ Less

What do these numbers mean for Europe? http://on.ft.com/12aUCZZ
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But it’s easy to see only black… so I’d like to offer European startups a few words of encouragement and a video that may change your outlook.

In the Campus Annual Survey we ran for the one year anniversary of Campus, the level of optimism across startups (1,850 respondents) is very high. Ignorance may be bliss, or it’s just that one (major) part of the economy is shrinking (retail, banking, construction), and a new (small but emerging) part of the economy is growing – startups.

Here are just a few of the articles that caught my attention:

Why You Might Want to Start Up in Europe (Inc magazine)- Art Rosenthal, a serial entrepreneur and Boston University professor, decided to base his new healthcare startup in Galway Ireland and explains what the benefits are. Some of the benefits listed: specialized universities, government support (there’s plenty of it going on if you know where to look), strong network of local startups.

 

Dear European startups: Stay optimistic!

Dear European startups: Stay optimistic!

The Flat White Economy (Bloomberg) – Hipsters Flocking to Silicon Roundabout as Bankers Fade – “The main drivers of growth over the past 10 years were property, financial services, consumer debt and government borrowing,” says Rohan Silva, 32, a senior policy adviser to Cameron. “We have got to move the economy to a more resilient footing: life sciences, green tech and digital technology”. While the journey is described as an “uphill battle”, it’s one definitely worth fighting for…

In a recent interview I gave to the Guardian, “London as a startup hub“, in advance of Digital Shoreditch, I spoke about the growth I’ve seen in the startup community in London in past year and my *reluctant* prediction for the next 5 years.

Silicon Valley Bank published the UK startup outlook report which showed that 87% of UK startups plan to hire more people in 2013. The big challenge (43% of respondents) seems to be around finding people with the right skills (especially technical talent).

“Tech Country” (PDF) a recent report by the BVCA, shines a spotlight on the various tech clusters in the UK. Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester, Aberdeen… there’s more to tech in the UK than Silicon Roundabout. Find out more about they key recommendations: focus on more private (vs public) capital, avoid the urge to “manage” the clusters, and do more with the existing clusters rather than artificially create new ones.

TransferWise raised $6 million from Peter Thiel, in Valar Ventures’ first investment in Europe. Is this an anomaly or the beginning of a trend?

The Lean Startup and Customer Development are getting the attention of big companies. The cover of last issue of Harvard Business Review “Why Lean Changes Everything” (PDF Reprint), is a testament of how “startup thinking” is percolating into not only business schools, but also large companies.

Finally, I’d like to end with “This is Water”, a video based on a speech by author David Foster Wallace. It’s about what you choose to look for in life, and how it impacts your outcome. Do yourself a favor and watch this.

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So, dear founders – like the fish in the video, what you choose to see when you read the news or when you wake up for work in the morning, will change the way you go through life. You can choose to see gloom and doom, or you can keep focusing on creating amazing products, that make the world better and improve the way we do things.So do yourself a favor, keep innovating and stay optimistic – the future of our economies depend on it!

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He’s an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.