The best tech ecosystem in Europe is…Posted: August 12, 2013
A few weeks back I got an opportunity to ramble on in great length about the current state of the Berlin tech ecosystem on Tech Crunch. A kind of “the truth and nothing but the truth” post.
Towards the end I briefly touched on a topic that I feel is worth a long blog post on its own. I am going to be lazy and just copy-paste what I wrote:
Not Berlin vs. London, but Berlin AND London AND Stockholm AND…
Whereas competitiveness is a healthy thing, I tire of the “my tech hub is better than yours” attitude, not only because it signals low opportunity costs and insecurity to engage in such a discussion – but much more because I have the firm belief that there are really several great places to build a company, also within Europe. The evidence also suggests nothing else. Hell even in Germany – Trivago, based in Düsseldorf, was just acquired for $1bn – our largest company by revenue – B2X Care, churning out hundreds of millions in annual revenues – is based in Munich.
But here’s the really amazing thing and what matters most to me – Europe is right now in the middle of witnessing the creation of several tech hubs within barely an hours flight from each other: Berlin, London, Stockholm, Espoo (yes, Espoo, near Helsinki), Paris, etc. Heck, even Tel Aviv isn’t too far away.
So I think the right way to view it is not e.g. Berlin vs. London but Berlin and London and Stockholm and…. Each have their individual strengths and weaknesses, but together Europe is really a mind-blowing different place in terms of creating global category leaders than even 5 years ago.
No serious participant in the Berlin ecosystem [or any other] is seriously wasting a single thought on “beating” or “challenging” another tech hub, there is simply too much homework to do here on the ground.
On our part we are now actively investing from Istanbul to Stockholm. Everywhere; and we are not the only ones. Our companies are also using the best of all worlds – spreading activities where they are most impactful, getting talent from all over Europe, etc.
Do we all need to fix capital markets for young tech companies or is that something London can (must?) champion, while Berlin still hacks together the craziest consumer apps and we’re all being awed off our feet by Scandinavian and Eastern European engineering, etc?
I am very happy for every tech hub to be great at everything, or all of them together being even greater. That would be a nice way for the European tech ecosystem to work.