While Facebook has made a lot of noise on their IPO, European companies like Spotify, the online music streaming service, and SoundCloud, an audio sharing platform, are also innovating. Rovio is notable as well; as the company has managed to achieve a valuation near $9 billion.
“Now you’ve got European entrepreneurs that have figured out how to build category leaders, not just clones,” said Jason Whitmire, a partner at Earlybird Venture Capital. “That wasn’t happening 10 years ago.”
Rovio is located in Espoo, Finland where Nokia is also located. While Nokia has fallen on hard times and shed thousands of jobs, it offers a ready pool of engineers for Rovio to tap.
“The important thing is that the way people think has changed, especially young people,” said Artturi Tarjanne, general partner at Nexit Ventures in Helsinki. “They used to dream about going to work for Nokia or McKinsey or something like that. Now they are much more willing to take entrepreneurial risk.”
France and Britain have instituted place tax breaks to support venture investment. For Germany, U.S. venture capital commitments to Berlin firms have roughly tripled and there’s been an influx of engineers from Eastern Europe immigration rules in Britain have gotten tougher.
Rovio managed to attract a $42 million investment from a group of firms led by Silicon Valley headliner, Accel Partners. “You might say that the culture is somewhat different,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio. “But at the end of the day dynamic businesses have the ability to attract venture capital no matter where they’re located.”
Source: New York Times