Macron and the dentists

The below observation was triggered by a boring interview about European entrepreneurs given by France’s president Macron, where, among other things, he says:

We need European financing, European solutions, European talent. We have GAFA in the U.S., BATX in China and GDPR in Europe.

No, we don’t. *Macron* does, for a nationalistic rhetoric made by a politician.

That is just another way of saying that Europe needs heavy protectionism, which any undergrad will learn in school that it hinders competitiveness, not encourage it.

The top down approach is not going to work for creating a thriving environment. From a macro perspective, we need a functional economy, access to capital and as little bureaucracy as possible. That is Macron’s job. Other than that it is a market’s problem and usually free markets are efficient in self organizing.

The capital part is there already but we all can see that throwing money at a problem, like Macron did in France in the past years, will not make for more and better entrepreneurs.

The continent is full of money already and the entrepreneurship level backed by investors in Europe is mediocre at best.

Maybe we’re not hungry enough and certainly we could use better incentives and models but the European paradigm of building tech startups seems to converge towards copying things from the Silicon Valley sorts and, if they stick, selling it to media as a success story.

There is more money than projects, the good ones are not too many and Europe lacks entrepreneurs, ideas and a proper overall environment for matching the good ones with the right kind of money.

Sure, it’s not black and white and that is the half empty part of the glass. You can argue that it has some of those elements (hey, we only saw tech unicorns on TV 10 years ago and now we have a good hundred) - but is it enough when your best value creators simply go to US in droves?

And that is also investors fault, as their industry from Europe as a category is pretty old school and narrow-minded, and that is probably top reason for the brain drain - you will go work with people who get it, and Europe doesn't have too many of those in excess too.

And btw, if you don’t go to America, America comes to you. Competition is probably even a better incentive than what Macron can do for the venture investors in Europe.

And listen, Macron and the likes may have good intentions as long their agenda allows them to but will have a hard time to understand that because the job of being a politician has nothing to do with entrepreneurship. It’s the same with him or with my dentist - they may have a cogent opinion when asked, but in particular have little knowledge about specifics.

1 Comment

Macron pushes good thing. If he can attract the top talent and simplify doing business in France its a big step forward. Let's see how it plays out in long term.

IMO: Risk appetite in EU and US in very early stage is different and focus is too much to diminish the risk than to discover something new. That from investors side and also ecosystem side. It might be that it's because markets taken one by one are small and each has different language, culture and ways of doing things. Scaling takes lot more time. Entrepreneurs go there where it's easier by default. Be the water as Bruce Lee said.

I have been talking lately with many entrepreneurs who have gone through the some entrepreneurship programs (particulary in Paris and London) which try to replicate YC, (with some some differences, taking people in only based on profile and build a team on the spot) they say it's mostly preferred to be deep tech and B2B focused, if you have these 2 you have changes there but changes in deep tech take time and lot more capital also approach is completely different if you want to build companies like FAANG in US.