Investing In Startups In Europe

One of the big european tech conferences starts today. It’s called DLD and my partner Albert is giving a talk there tomorrow. The last big european tech conference was LeWeb and I gave a talk there. You might wonder why we fly across the pond to attend and talk at these events.

The answer, as Sten Tamkivi explains in TechCrunch, is that europe is a great place to invest in startups. Sten lists five reasons that european startups are exciting:

1) Talent

2) New Models

3) 400 million customers

4) Global skills

5) Security and privacy

I agree with all of those but to me the biggest thing is european entrepreneurs have fully made the change from locally focused to globally focused and are mostly now building businesses that can and do serve a global user base from day one.

At USV, we have made nine investments in europe since 2008 when we started investing there. That is roughly 20% of our total investment activity in those six years. Contrast that with the bay area, where we have made thirteen investments during the same period.

It is way easier to invest in europe from New York City than the Bay Area and that is something we have taken advantage of. And I am not sure that Silicon Valley can or will pay a huge amount of attention to Europe. But that is an opportunity for us. And we are taking advantage of it.