Starting a company can be likened to a game of probability. Not roll-your-dice and see what happens kind of probability but a game of where actions YOU control maximize the likelihood of your startup succeeding. So if you were to bet a young entrepreneur succeeding from Silicon Valley versus one from the South of France – who would you choose?
If you were being rational you’d be torn between the two. Here’s why
-Opportunity: So Europe is a few cycles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem behind silicon valley, but if you are an opportunist that should set off alarm bells. Imagine being part of the second wave of entrepreneurs in silicon valley – vast opportunity, markets ripe for disruption and internationalisation opportunities beyond belief. This is Europe right now.
-Originality: Geographic separation leads to original insight, lack of group-think and an international outlook. In a global internet, killer design and original thinking separate the Skype’s from the vonages of this world. So why haven’t we seen a Betfair, a Stardoll or a Moo emerge in the valley? Sometimes cultural diversity can breed a different type of thinking.
-Ambition: Its hard for a young entrepreneur to stand out from the rest in the valley. So everyone starts companies, so what? You are sitting there in Stockholm or Riga with a killer prototype for a consumer internet service and your friends think your are crazy. What would have happened if Niklas & Jaanus had taken the rejections from investors literally, would Skype exist today? Would RJ and Felix, the founders of last.fm been able to live in tents without believing in the vision of last.fm? By starting up in Europe you’ve already marked yourself as being different to your peers.
But, you state that the probability of succeeding is influenced by being surrounded by those who have been there, can help you and have done it before, so Silicon Valley still wins. Even if Europe has the calibre of Serial Entrepreneurs who have given birth to companies such as last.fm, netvibes, fon and Skype, geographical separation means young entrepreneurs can’t feel that influence despite having huge ambitions.
Seedcamp Europe is going to change that. By bringing together the top young founders, together with some of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs & world class mentors the limit on the probability of entrepreneurs succeeding is not where you are but how big are you thinking.
As Niklas Zennstrom said, disruptive ideas which can yield mass adoption come from simple propositions which 100 million people can understand. Now imagine refining your disruptive ideas with the best in the business. The only factor now influencing your probability of success is whether you click apply.
Sumon is a 24-year old, Young Founder based in London & Seedcamp Board Member. If you are a Young Entrepreneur applying to Seedcamp get in touch . Sumon [at] seedcamp [dot] com