As the Olympics kick off this week, and tech news in France goes into its August slumber, it's nice to know that major publications like The Economist still have enough time to write lengthy pieces trashing the European startup scene. Les Misérables
may have been addressed to the entire European Startup Scene, but it seems that Germany & France took the brunt of the beating. The UK, of course, was mysteriously absent from this post, save a sentence or two, and while Berlin got a detailed breakdown of how cafe's function, it seems the unnamed author wasn't quite get as familiar with Paris' startup hotspots.
As per the norm among Europe-trashing articles, the author made reference to his fair share of recycled statistics - labor laws, bankruptcy penalties, oh and it turns out that the US founded more big companies than Europe betwen 1901 and 1925, so that's important. I won't try to argue that this article is false, because it's clear that Europe is not the US - but I don't see what amazing insight these articles are feigning to provide? The only statistic I'd like to see is the number of articles written comparing European startups to US startus - because it seems the number of these articles is skyrocketing, like an opposing political partying trying to trash its opponent's credibility.
The underlying tone is the same in every one of these articles, which come out like clockwork - GigaOM's "Are European Entrepreneur's Defeatist?
" (thanks Bobbie), TechCrunch's "European Startups Need To Get A Valley Education, And Fast
," and don't forget BetaBeat's "French Startups Take Refuge in New York
," (I personally ripped this article apart here
). The point is: we get it
. Europe's hard for startups, and hiring's still hard in France - boo hoo. When has building a startup ever been easy? Who's been spreading these rumors that launching a startup successfully has been or ever was easy
? I've never heard any real
entrepreneurs say that, so why are we spending so much time comparing the N% success rate in Europe to the (N+1)% success rate in the US?
I prefer to report what is
happening, and what's good
for France, and Europe, instead of stomping my feet to the same "no billion dollar exit in Europe" mantra.So, while major publications are trashing Europe from abroad, let's look at some of Europe's pathetic
startups announced this week:
...Meanwhile, in a world where people report the news...
Google purchased French startup & Mac/iPhone mail client Sparrow last week, and whether you're upset about it
or not, an acquisition is always good news - unless of course it involves the co-founders relocating to California.
Just as one US company buys a French startup, so a French startup buys a US startup
- smart address book startup Kwaga purchased the pioneers of push notifications, BoxCar. Kwaga is the creator of WriteThat.Name, a tool which scans incoming emails and updates your address book with new contact info.
German ride-sharing startup Carpooling raised a round of funding to launch in the US, and while I think the the guys at BlaBlaCar would have a much better time doing this
, Carpooling definitely stomps the hell out of their American "competitor" ZimRide.
App Intelligence & Reference site AppAnnie released a report
on the Global AppStore Economy - among other interesting figures, AppAnnie placed the UK, Germany, France & Italy as 3rd, 6th, 7th, & 10th largest appstore economies in the world - the European AppStore economy still lags behind in the APAC and US markets, but they are certainly not negligible, with leading US App companies getting up to 62% of their app revenue from outside the US.
Quit your bitchin' and just build great companies
Clearly the European ecosystem isn't all that terrible - startups manage to thrive, hire, and even make money. If you asked France Digitale
, they'd tell you that there are 108 startups that together make just as much money as your favorite megacorp with a 22% annual growth rate.
So European Startups
:next time one of these articles pops out telling you that your city's startup cafe is quaint, or that your startups would do so
much better in the US, or that it must be tough dealing with all those government regulations, then you just smile, nod, and go on building something that will blow them off their asses.
We've got some cool stuff coming up this week: we'll be interviewing Gilles Babinet, talking about some cool startups, and trying to make August in France not seem so boring.
Enjoy your week and, as usual, if you've got questions, tips, or angry rants, feel free to email me.
Editor at The Rude Baguette