Saturday, March 15, 2008

Two Views on Europe

I'm on a short trip to Europe to take care of some things. It's nice here: Well-architected buildings line pretty streets with cozy cafes and without homeless people.

But is it a good place for entrepreneurs? Two friends have sent me two articles with vastly different viewpoints.

The first comes from Foreign Policy: "Europe's Phiosophy of Failure". It points out the anti-capitalist attitudes found in Germany's and France's school textbooks. The author, Stefan Theil, claims that these textbooks portray capitalism as brutal, economic growth as a health hazard, and entrepreneurs as money-grabbing dictators. Having gone to high school in Germany myself, I didn't find this to be true. But times and textbooks may have changed since the pro-American 1990s.

The other article comes from BusinessWeek: "Europe's Crop of Billion-Dollar Babies". It features Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder of my favorite European VC firm, Index Ventures. Zocco talks about how "there are a lot of European companies founded in the past 5 to 10 years that can, with the right support, become billion-dollar companies." Can Europe build bigger companies than Silicon Valley with investors that have a longer time horizon? We shall see.

If you liked this, read: Why Startups don't Condense in Europe.

3 comments:

Dan said...

Patient investors are good, but a better way to build companies with a longer time horizon is to cash out the founders and employees a bit at each funding round. That way, they'll be willing to take more risk and build bigger companies.

Anonymous said...

I'm on a short trip to Europe to take care of some things. It's nice here: Well-architected buildings line pretty streets with cozy cafes and without homeless people.

You know as well as I do that Budapest has its fair share of homeless...

-Varangy

Gabor said...

Varany: I was actually in Munich. In terms of homeless numbers, it's a far cry from San Francisco :-)