Monday, February 19, 2007

Processing feedback on Y Europe

Thanks to everyone so far who has commented on last week's post on why Europe can seed great startups in the coming years.

There has been a really encouraging response so far: not only in the really thoughtful comments people have left but also in the e-mails that I've been sent.

I'm delighted that people feel this is an issue we need to be addressing and are keen to participate.

As suspected a few issues have kept on surfacing:
  • crisis of confidence - fear of taking risks, fear of failure
  • inferiority complex - the Silicon Valley shadow looms large and long
  • lack of dense networks - for hiring, funding or just bouncing around ideas
A few things I want to be clear on so far:
  • we don't have a name yet for what we'll be doing (thanks to Phil and Sam for suggestions, keep them coming)
  • we're not planning an incubator (i'm really not convinced that's the right model) -- right now we're just starting a conversation and finding out what people need and want to help them succeed
  • we do want to gather people together in the summer to get the ball rolling
There has been a lot of quality thinking on this issue for some time now (see a great post from last year by Gabor) and what's clear is that there is no silver bullet.

Let me repeat, I'm still not sure the YCombinator model is right for where we are in Europe - it might be part of the solution. But now we're talking, I know we'll find the right approach (maybe approaches) that will work for us.

I still think better education, awareness and transparency of information on how companies are built, funded and exited is one of the biggest issues. If you want to find out more about funding and you're at FOWA, you should stop by and hear Ben Holmes' presentation on Tuesday.

We simply do not have enough experience in Europe yet of building great early stage businesses - but it's happening and there are more and more knowledgeable people around (entrepreneurs, investors, service providers etc) to ask questions and find answers.

So let's keep asking questions -- or start asking them at least -- and please keep the comments coming.

If you want to discuss this in person, I'll be at FOWA tomorrow and speaking on a panel at lunchtime on Wednesday wiht my friends Richard from Moo and Tariq from Netvibes. Looking forward to seeing you there or online.

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At 2/20/2007 08:08:00 am, Anonymous Ouriel said...

Saul, we don t know each other but i write the french version of TechCrunch and run a joint venture between Gemini and LightSpeed in israel investing in internet ventures. I liked your post and wrote about it in techCrunch France. Greats comments were there. hope you can read french

Say hello to Mike and Tariq for me

At 2/21/2007 08:22:00 pm, Anonymous Paul Elosegui said...


from the lunch time debate on Europe vs Silicon valley. You were right on the money saying entrepreneurship culture is maturing in Europe but naturally lags behind Silicon Valley. Phase 1 versus phase 10. Rings very true with what I see.

As for the rest of the debate, I am not too sure anecdotal success stories can be taken as structural health of an entrepreneurial environment. It is very hard down in the European trenches.

At 2/22/2007 10:14:00 pm, Anonymous Dan W said...

I talked to you very briefly during FOWA and you mentioned you were considering using recommendations to find the right founders.

You might be interested in looking at It was set up to allow YC to get to know potential founders based on their comments and submissions on YC news.


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