Why more funds should consider launching scout programs in Europe

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a growing interest in angel or scout programmes on behalf of European funds. Atomico, Backed VC, Blossom Capital and Ada Ventures have been among the first Europe-based funds to venture into this territory. While there are additional funds that are rumoured to be toying with the idea, I find it odd that the concept has seen only limited development in Europe. After all, such programmes could prove to be truly game changing for local investment — and the European ecosystem as a whole.

How is it possible that the first VC angel or scout programmes weren’t launched in Europe until 2018 — a full nine years after similar programmes had made their debut in the US? And why primarily with only a handful of London-based firms? 

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Now is the best time to launch a tech startup

Fiascos always present new opportunities for entrepreneurs. The dotcom bubble — which happened exactly 20 years ago — killed off companies like Pets.com but strengthened the likes of Amazon and eBay. Airbnb, Spotify, Uber, Dropbox, Adyen, Evernote and more all grew out of the economic downturn of 2008 (as many a venture capitalist likes to mention). 

Even smaller-scale crises have been catalysts for startups. In France, the Icelandic volcano eruption of 2010 and the more recent metro strikes fuelled the rise of alternate means of transportation, like carpooling platform BlaBlaCar and electric scooters. 

This is an opportunity — it’s time for the tech sector to seize it. 

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Are European Startups Avoiding the Topic of Downsizing?

We’ve already read about tons of startup layoffs. 1000 people at Yelp and another 1000 at Magic Leap, almost 1000 at Lyft, 45% of the workforce at Eventbrite, 30% at Bird. Layoffs Tracker has over 300 companies listed – including the likes of Houzz, Lending Club, MindBody, The Wing and more. Yet a majority of the companies mentioned are in the US, which is perhaps not surprising given that government support for furlough is not what it is in Europe.

In Europe, the perhaps most prominent startups to announce layoffs have been UK-based so far: Deliveroo, who cut staff by 15% this morning, or Monzo, who announced the closing of it’s 165-person office in Las Vegas, etc. That said, there are prominent startups in France (I’ll avoid mentioning names) that have had to downsize and yet there is absolutely no mention of it in the press. A few people mentioned a similar situation in other European countries (Germany and the Nordics, for example). So my question is: why?

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Opportunity in a Time of Crisis

This is a topic that has been on my mind since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. In the first week or so, everyone moves into crisis-control in order to handle the immediate issues – which is a normal response. But I just can’t help wondering what new opportunities and business ideas this crisis will generate once things start to settle.

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Techbaguette turns…10!

I cannot believe I’m saying this, but my silly blog Techbaguette recently turned 10 years old. Now, that probably isn’t saying much, because I haven’t actually published anything on the site since December 2016. But it’s kind of crazy to look back and realize how much has changed since I bought this domain on Dec […]

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Iranian Startups: Looks a lot like France to me

Disclaimer: since about 2012 I’ve been following Iran’s rising startup scene. It first started with a few Startup Weekend events here and there. But I’ve seen the ecosystem really take off – and to an incredible degree and sometimes in the most unexpected ways. So – even though I usually cover France and Europe on this blog – I thought I would share a big of Iran’s rising ecosystem with you.

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Next Stop: La Halle Freyssinet

A few weeks ago, I announced that I was leaving Microsoft and mentioned that in the upcoming weeks I would be announcing my next move. Some people asked me if I was moving back to California (uh, why would I do that?) and some people asked me if I was launching my own startup (maybe one day, *sigh*). And no, I was not leaving Microsoft to join Google. When people would ask me what I was going to do, I would reply…

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