In Europe we’ve come to realise it that while there are certain hotspots, to among which Northern Europe is slowly growing into, venture capital in general is extremely scarce compared to other parts of the world. Jan Müehlfeit, Microsoft’s European chairman, spoke this week in Brussles to TechEurope, in a Microsoft Bizspark summit, about the differences and challenges Europe faces as an area for entrepreneurs. Venture capital is clearly one of them.
“If you take the European landscape, if small and medium size companies are competitive in Europe, then Europe will be competitive globally. It is a dynamic sector; there are 23 million organizations across Europe and the sector accounts for 60% of European GDP and almost 100 million jobs.”
This of course is nothing new to us entrepreneurs, who understand the importance of this sector. He went to highlight the differences in venture capital, “If you take the amount of VC per capita, in Europe, it is $7. In the U.S. it is $72. In Israel it is double that,” before stating, “We do not have the education we need. There is not enough emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Maths), nor in lifelong learning.”
This of course puts Northern Europe and the region we cover in different light. Education is easily available to anyone who wants to educate themselves. Many of the national startup hubs in the countries in the region are located next to universities and they commonly work together to solve problems and commercialise innovation, even though there could be dramatically more done in this field.
While the figures represented by Müehlfeit can be argued to not hold true in the European sense, where national subsidies add to the capital available to growing your startups, they do show the dramatic differences between countries and regions.
On Hacker News, members calculated that VC per capita in Silicon Valley would add up to about $1800 per person.
Israel’s venture capital availability is explained by the high amount of international investors the country has. Overall, there about 70 active funds in the country. 14 of those are international with Israeli offices. Additionally, there are some 220 international funds having operations in Israel.
While a lot has happened in the recent years at least in the area ArcticStartup covers, these figures are a concrete reminder to us all that there is still a lot of work to be done.