Tag Archives: Europe

Consumer Electronics Business Sharp Will Sell Products In Europe

Sharp, the hardware and software telecommunications agency, is discussing the certification of Taiwanese and Turkish businesses to create and auction off their domestic devices in Europe. Sharp Corporation is headquartered in Tokyo, was founded in 1912 and has received over one hundred million dollars in private equity funding in the last two years.


The 3 bad habits VCs can’t afford anymore

Disclosure: I’ve conducted a thousand meetings with venture capitalists in Europe and thousands of calls with investors worldwide for the past 5 years. There are many good investors in France and Europe, don’t get me wrong. But i’m not here to pin medals ☺

I have heard too many stories and have witnessed too often venture capitalists misbehaving with entrepreneurs, especially and including some of the best ranked in Europe. It’s really sad for the entrepreneurs but mostly for the venture capital industry itself. Probably because (fortunately!) most of the time, it’s unintentional.

The mere fact that a venture capitalist tried to go towards a VC code of conduct is actually pretty alarming. I won’t go through all the details -education and good habits come from a consistent practice. But let’s be specific on three basic facts:

  • #ON-TIME > Some investors are late, always or often, and let’s face it, this is unprofessional, especially when the entrepreneurs are coming to you. At A16Z, partners are fined $10 for every min late to a meeting.
  • #EMPATHY > Entrepreneurs are on a mission and they deserve respect. The best investors are pretty straight-forward but they also show a lot of empathy while others are almost despising during the meetings, which is incredibly rude.
  • #FOLLOW-UP > The dealflow at venture capital firms is pretty huge, from 100 to 1,000 new opportunities per month popping-up. Not replying to unsolicited email is fine I guess, the rules are pretty clear for anyone looking to raise funds. But when you have been introduced to an entrepreneur by someone you trust or have met up with someone, you should absolutely get back to them, whatever the consistency of the answer.

I’ve been surprised in the US by the conciseness among the top venture capitalists, the straightness and the empathy in their answers. They’re full of humility and respect and we should learn from those practices in Europe. Some of them are even sending satisfactory forms after having met with entrepreneurs to make sure they were well received.

Good practices are not only good for the entrepreneurs but also for the investors themselves and the ecosystem. Please consider.

A bon entendeur ☺

Tips: Gmail for to-do, email & calendar(stop using outlook, NSA does not care about your dealflow), aText for templates, Doodle for meetings, Rapportive for people checking and finally Good habits but practice and organisation are actually the best tools.

You Don’t Have to Live in Silicon Valley to Start a Company

By  |  February 17, 2014, 2:34 PM

Berlin has emerged as one of Europe's startup magnets. (Image via Shutterstock)

Berlin has emerged as one of Europe’s startup magnets. (Image via Shutterstock)

Just about every city in the world is now teaming with young people (and some older ones) who are starting companies with ambitious and tech-savvy aims. This good essay by a former Facebook European executive underscores how pointless it is for everyone to compare their own region or city with Silicon Valley. Yes that hub will remain potent, but with tech transforming the entire planet there is ample reason for confidence that numerous other places can become vibrant hubs. The bigger challenge for Europe is the continuing prejudice in many countries against entrepreneurship and risk, and labor laws that frequently become punitive. They can unnecessarily increase the risk that an entrepreneur faces in starting something, raising the cost of failure substantially. (Many countries require ongoing unemployment payments for lengthy periods to a fired employee.) What’s amazing is how many great startups emerge in Europe regardless.

Read more at The Guardian


Aiming To Be The Coinbase of Europe, Sweden’s Safello Raises Investment Cash

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Billing itself as the “Coinbase of Europe” Sweden based Bitcoin company Safello has raised a $600,000 investment round lead by Bitcoin advocates Erik Voorhees (co-founder of the Bitcoin company Coinapult) and Roger Ver (Angel Investor & Bitcoin evangelist), and participated in by Blockchain.info CEO Nicolas Cary and angel investors Victor & Victor. The startup has also redesigned its site for usability to position itself as ‘safest way into Bitcoin’. The startup plans to go up against major competitors in the shape of Kraken, Bitstamp, Coinbase, and BTC-E.

The cash will be used to grow in Europe and to be a ‘safe harbour’ for Bitcoin. It’s estimated that about half of the Bitcoin exchanges have disappeared since 2009.

To achieve this, Safello has registered itself with the Financial Supervisory Authority in Sweden, a country that together with Germany has been pretty clear about bitcoin taxation, and, of course, a very stable economy.

Frank Schuil, co-founder and CEO of Safello says: “Our new interface is simpler than our competitors. And we are more ‘compliant’ than the others. Our goal is keep the user interface minimalistic so it’s simpler for people to get into bitcoins.” Erik Voorhees, says Safello’s growth “has been amazing thus far.”

Stability is key in the Bitcoin market but it is hard to find right now.

Bitstamp, the manager of the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, said over the weekend that it had restored automated customer withdrawals, after they were halted for days due to a hacking attack that crippled various Bitcoin platforms.


Bringing business back to the UK

We have set out a long-term economic plan to secure our country’s economic future and our economy is growing. Just this week, the IMF upgraded its growth forecasts for Britain by more than any other G7 country and we have also seen the largest quarterly increase in employment since records began.

The key challenge for politicians and business leaders in Europe is how we make a success of globalisation. For years the West has been written off. People say that we are facing some sort of inevitable decline. They say we can’t make anything anymore.

I don’t believe it has to be this way.

Of course, we cannot be starry eyed about globalisation – it presents huge challenges as our economies and societies try to adapt. But neither should we take this pessimistic view.

Indeed if we make the right decisions, we may also see more of what has been a small but discernible trend where some jobs that were once offshored are coming back from East to West.

In recent years there has been a practice of offshoring where companies move production facilities to low cost countries. But there is now an opportunity for some of those jobs to come back.

A recent survey of small and medium sized businesses found that more than 1 in 10 has brought back to Britain some production in the past year – more than double the proportion sending production in the opposite direction. From food processing to fashion, from cars to computer-makers. It’s not just one sector; it’s across all sectors of the economy.

The food manufacturer Symington’s is moving its factory from China to Leeds.

Hornby the model train manufacturer is bringing some of its manufacturing from India to Britain.

Raspberry Pi computers have shipped production to Wales.

A company I visited yesterday morning – Vent-Axia – has shipped jobs from China to Crawley.

One recent forecast suggests millions of jobs could be available for re-shoring globally. To win these jobs we need to understand what is driving these changes.

Part of the story is about rising costs in the emerging markets, a natural consequence of these economies developing and their people becoming wealthier.

At the same time, there are a number of factors pulling companies back home. Some companies are choosing to locate production nearer to their consumer markets in the West. By shortening their supply chains, they can develop new products and react more quickly to changing consumer demand.

There is no doubt that when it comes to re-shoring in the US, one of the most important factors has been the development of shale gas, which is flooring US energy prices with billions of dollars of energy cost savings predicted over the next decade.

Taken together, I believe these trends have the ability to be a fresh driver of growth in Europe too. I want Britain to seize these opportunities. I think there is a chance for Britain to become the Re-Shore Nation. For years we have had UKTI out there helping our businesses to export and encouraging inward investment. Now I want to give that same dedicated specific support to helping businesses re-shore. So we are setting up a one stop shop to help businesses capitalise on the opportunities of re-shoring.

I am not saying that our economic success depends on winning some kind of race to the bottom nor should we be engaged in one. Getting decent, well-paid jobs at every level is what we are aiming for. And I believe that’s what we can get – and that re-shoring can help. When mobile network company EE recently decided to move 300 call centre jobs from the Philippines to Northern Ireland, they didn’t do it because wages were lower. They did it because productivity was higher and because the company decided it would be more successful by having a more local call centre for its customers. And as they make this move, they aren’t just creating jobs for telephone operators. They are creating jobs for managers, lawyers and technicians too.

Right now, economies in Europe have a unique opportunity to accelerate this new trend of jobs coming back home. And we should be confident that we can do this. As we do so, we should never forget one of our most important strengths. We should never undersell the core values of our liberal democracy; the rule of law, the freedom of speech and freedom of the media, property rights and accountable institutions, all vital foundations for long-term stability and commercial success.

But for re-shoring to happen we need to build on those foundations. That means settling once and for all two key arguments that risk undermining our competitiveness.

First, on the overall business environment. We need an unashamedly pro-business regulatory environment – with labour market flexibility, low jobs taxes and a willingness to pave the way for new business and new business models. We have to maintain the flexibility for companies to grow and expand.

And second, on the need for cheap and predictable sources of energy. Yes, we need renewables – these are a vital part of our future. We need nuclear as part of that energy mix too. But we also need to explore the opportunity represented by shale gas. Now I understand the concerns some people have. We need the right regulations and governments need to reassure people that nothing would go ahead if there were environmental dangers. But if this is done properly, shale gas can actually have lower emissions than imported gas.

The Confederation of British Industry and Business Europe are coming together to launch a “Blueprint for Industrial Competitiveness”. Their message is clear. Act now to seize the opportunities of re-shoring. Deal with our debts. Roll back the unnecessary regulation. And embrace the opportunities of shale gas.

Business is making the case. If we act now we can ensure our businesses, our peoples and our societies can benefit from the next phases of globalisation. The security, stability and peace of mind that those we serve yearn for can only be delivered by facing the difficult choices. We must not fail them.

Posted by:David Cameron

The Past, The Future & What This Means For Our Developing World.

Peter Thiel SXSW

There are four quadrants used to organize the past and the future views of the developing world.  These quadrants are optimistic, pessimistic, determinate and indeterminate.


China is currently thought to be pessimistic/determinate meaning it has a clear view of where it would like to be in twenty years but at the same time China is worried about whether or not they will get there in this modern time frame.  China is more likely to save money, then invest money over the next few decades.

“China will be a somewhat poorer version of the developed world, people will become old before they become rich”  –  Peter Thiel, Co-founder, PayPal.

America is thought to have fell in to a quadrant called indeterminate optimism.  Presently, the United States is believed to have both a low amount of investment and a low amount of saving, this is arguably the most unstable position for a country to be in.

“One of the strange things about indeterminate optimism is that its the quadrant that has low savings and low investment.  Is it possible for the future to be better when no one saves and no one invests? Because no one is thinking and everyone is outsourcing all of the thinking to other people.”  –  Peter Thiel, Co-Founder, PayPal.

Both Japan and Europe are thought to be indeterminate/pessimistic meaning the future does not look bright and no body is sure what to do about it.

Let’s Have a Dream

2014 is shaping up to be a bad year. Across the world, even though there seems to be the outline on the horizon of the resumption of economic growth and a recovery in investment in the United States and in some emerging countries such as Mexico, Nigeria and Indonesia, the reality is that essentially, next year, this growth will not be financed except by an increase in public debt and by printing money. Inequalities will be increasingly wider; the benefits of growth will be increasingly confiscated by a minority; manifestations of protectionism increasingly numerous and effective. Nothing will be more conducive to the exasperation of citizens and the anger of extremists. In particular, in the United States, a choice will have to be made between continued monetary growth and tightened up budgeting, which can, in both cases, cause disasters.

From a military point of view conflicts across the globe can be expected, some of which already exist – in the Sahel, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Sudan – as well as further threats of conflicts – between China and Japan, between Iran and Israel. For the environment, increasingly serious natural disasters can be expected, caused by changes in climate.

On a European level, growth will not materialize, unemployment will not be reduced, the standard of living will continue to stagnate or fall, public debt will get out of control in Greece, Portugal and then in Italy and France; elections held in May 2014 will lead almost everywhere to a rise of extreme parties that will influence the decisions of the next European Parliament and will paralyze any federal progress. The recent drumbeat of banking union will turn out to be unworkable, in the absence of a revision of the Treaties; and the entire credibility of the achievement of the euro will once again be called into question. Never the future of Europe will have looked bleaker.

In France, the year is shaping up to be even worse, with growth in the French economy expected at zero, which means a decrease of purchasing power and an increase in unemployment; deficits not reduced; a rising debt; a racist party becoming the first French party in the European elections, after entering a large number of municipal councils, a « brain-drain » of the main players, a reversal of inward investment, a beleaguered political majority, tempted to find a way out by becoming more radical. France will then become the target of attacks from all markets, until brought under the control of a humiliating troika.

This worst case scenario is the most likely. Yet history teaches us that, when something in the future seems certain to us, it means it will not happen. So one may start to dream that 2014 will end better than it is shaping up.

US growth could at last rely on budgetary decisions that are finally reasonable; technological change could begin to have an impact on growth and employment. In particular, significant innovations will be able to improve significantly the efficiency of energy use. Growth could break the vicious circle of protectionism. Conflicts could also be kept away, thanks to the efficient intervention of French and African forces; and once peace has returned this could help the countries of the Sahel to connect to Nigerian economic growth. For Europe, a European election less radical than expected could lead to the implementation of a genuine federal project, distinguishing between the euro area and the European Union, which both Turkey and Ukraine could join.

Finally, in France, we are starting to dream of a president who as early as January will be taking courageous decisions, in order to regain control of the Socialist Parliamentarian Group and to obtain from them at last a reform of lifelong training, far beyond the timid agreement of the social partners. Those partners might take a close look at government expenditure, and launch courageous savings, in particular by removing the departmental level. Such action, accompanied with a clear and sincere implementation of a project for the country and Europe, can bring about a step backwards for the National Front, and a return of the confidence of foreign investors.

The outcome of 2014 will therefore be decided at the latest by the end of February, for better or for worse…

In a world more dangerous than ever, everyone will be increasingly tempted to find solace in his personal happiness. Even if this makes him forget about others, caring only for himself, leaving his country. By acting this way, we would be wrong: egoism is just a way of delaying deadlines. No matter what happens, we are not spectators of the world. Now is the time for us to act, through vote, revolt, smile, to make 2014 a very good year.

Photo: Tatiana Popova/shutterstock.com