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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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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GigaOm’s Structure conference arrives in Europe (+ discount inside)

If you thought that all the big US tech blogs ignored Europe except for the occasional LeWeb conference, well, you thought wrong. Actually, if anything, they’ve all been vamping up their European activities recently. TechCrunch has got back up to speed, counting several Europe-based writers and is set to host an event in – yes, ITALY – on Septebmer 27th. It may be yesterday’s news, but The Next Web managed to lure back Robin Wauters as its European Editor earlier this year (though it may seem like events-wise they’re focusing more on rolling out in Latin America). And now GigaOm is rolling out conferences on this side of the Atlantic as well.

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Does France need a Startup Visa?

On June 9th, the Economist published an article on how the US government needs to issue more visas to foreign entrepreneurs. The article went on to cite a few examples of countries that are far more welcoming to foreign innovators, including the UK, Chile, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. Naturally, the  US – a country known practically as a country of immigrants –  has many foreigners to thank for much of its success stories. But how about France?

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Does Europe’s tech scene enjoy self-bashing?

Recently, I’ve noticed a new flood of negativity building up in Europe’s startup scene. Sure, the Euro isn’t doing particularly well and France (and apparently Will Smith?) is a little uneasy with what François Hollande’s government has in store. And Europe isn’t culturally as over-the-top optimistic as its transatlantic neighbor. Still, sometimes it feels like Europe’s tech scene enjoys a bit of self-bashing, whether it be about entrepreneurs’ incapability to “dream big” or VC’s ROI.

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TechBaguette has Moved. Well, Kinda.

I probably should’ve written this post a while ago to kind of clarify where I am writing these days. For anyone who hasn’t yet noticed, I’m not writing for TechCrunch anymore. And it has nothing to do with what’s been going on with AOL in the US – although, the fact that Michael Arrington, MG Siegler, Paul Carr, Sarah Lacy and Heather Harde no longer work there perhaps makes it a little less sexy. But hey. The fact of the matter is that I always said that if I wrote about French tech companies, I wanted it to be in English – so that the news could go even beyond France. That’s why I started blogging in the first place.

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The Father of Modern Venture Capital was F-R-E-N-C-H

Usually when I tell people I’m doing a Masters degree in International Political Economy, they look at me funny and follow-up with a “Huh, I guess that doesn’t really have much to do with tech.” And for a long time, I felt this way too. The IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, sovereign debt, currency crises, oil shocks, etc. didn’t really seem to overlap much with startups and innovation. But then again, startups and innovation are at the heart of economic development and growth. Therefore it’s almost impossible not to draw connections between the two fields.

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