Europe's 'lonely' tech entrepreneurs are in need of aid to bridge the gap between their potential and the success achieved by Silicon Valley. Leo Apotheker, former CEO of SAP and Hewlett-Packard, along with Phill Robinson, a British software executive, have recognized the untapped potential in Europe's tech industry and are working to provide support and mentorship to emerging startups through their initiative called Boardwave.
Contrary to the belief that Europe lacks capital for tech ventures, Apotheker argues that there is plenty of venture capital available in Europe. Atomico, a venture finance firm, even predicts $50 billion in European tech investments for 2023.
The real challenge lies in the lack of a supportive ecosystem that Silicon Valley offers. In Silicon Valley, there is a culture of collaboration, with experienced entrepreneurs readily available to provide guidance and advice. This collaborative environment fosters innovation and helps entrepreneurs navigate the challenges they face.
Boardwave aims to address this gap by providing mentoring and support to European tech entrepreneurs. Apotheker emphasizes the importance of having peers and advisors who can offer guidance and share experiences. He regrets not having had someone to bounce ideas off of during his tenure at SAP. Boardwave's mentors, with their wealth of experience, save young entrepreneurs from sleepless nights and help their bold ideas succeed.
The fragmented nature of Europe's tech scene also hinders its ability to match the success of Silicon Valley. While Silicon Valley benefits from a concentrated geographical area, Europe spans a vast expanse, making collaboration and knowledge-sharing more challenging.
However, initiatives like Boardwave and events like Slush in Finland, which connect startups with investors, are working towards bridging this fragmentation and creating a more cohesive ecosystem for European tech.
Europe does have its success stories, with Apotheker pointing to industrial design programs and the UK's leadership in financial software and fintech as examples. He draws inspiration from Airbus, where European airline makers came together to challenge Boeing, resulting in Airbus becoming the largest in the world. These success stories highlight the potential of European tech entrepreneurship when supported by the right ecosystem.
Europe's tech entrepreneurs need to shed their skepticism and embrace confidence, similar to their counterparts in Silicon Valley. They should also learn from their mistakes and openly discuss them, as transparency and learning from failures are crucial for growth.
Apotheker and Robinson are dedicated to leveraging their knowledge and experience to help Europe's tech industry flourish. Their initiative, Boardwave, aims to support startups in reaching $118 million in turnover and expanding globally. By providing mentorship and fostering a collaborative environment, Boardwave hopes to nurture the next generation of European tech leaders.