The Tech.eu Podcast is a show discussing the most interesting stories from the European technology scene.
Ten years ago VC funds in Sand Hill Road wouldn’t “even fly to Los Angeles”
Lucas Timberlake, general partner at Fintech Ventures Fund, the US VC that has a focus on fintech and insurtech, and Ricardo Schäfer,early-stage investor and partner at Revolut backer Target Global, discuss the differences between European VC and US VC funds while also offering insights into the European fintech market.
Timberlake, though, says the most prominent difference is between US West Coast VCs and US East Coast VCs, which are more aligned to European VCs.
Timberlake says, generally speaking, US West Coast VCs are looking for binary outcomes, while US East Coast and European VCs are more focused on revenue and loss aversion.
Schäfer said it was difficult to generalise about the differences between US and European VC funds, given fund-to-fund differences.
That said, he said European VC funds tend to be a little smaller in size.
The pair also discuss the trend of US VCs, such as Sequoia and General Catalyst, opening London offices,
“When I first went to the US ten years ago, I remember talking to funds on Silicon Valley's Sand Hill Road and they wouldn’t even fly to Los Angeles. Europe was really kind of far away.“Of course, if you are on the ground and you can play at seed, and if you hit the winners you will obviously be a lot better at deploying capital because you have to build relationships.”
He said this strategy of US VCs ploughing more resources into Europe was seeming to work.
“I think it makes sense specifically for the multi-stage funds to have a presence in Europe from seed onwards.”On whether the trend of US VCs investing heavily in Europe would continue, Schäfer said:
“Obviously what you have seen over the last couple of years is big fintechs emerge out of Europe. If you look at Wise, if you know look at Revolut, obviously Klarna and a bunch of others. That has definitely created a lot of attention.”
Scandinavian tech giants like Spotify and Klarna "have fostered a new generation of entrepreneurs”
Scandinavia is home to some of the most celebrated tech companies in recent years: Skype, Spotify, and Klarna. Cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen are also home to a new generation of startups creating waves across Europe.
In this podcast, we talk to Henrik Rosvall, chief operating officer of Stockholm-based climate fintech Doconomy and Emil Stigsgaard Fuglsang, co-founder and chief operating officer at Matter, the Copenhagen-based sustainability insights fintech.
We discuss the fintech scene in Scandinavia and why it is the envy of other nations across Europe; the factors that make cities like Stockholm and Copenhagen attractive fintech ecosystems; how receptive Scandinavians are to startups and fintechs; and whether the desire to tackle the climate crisis is particularly acute in the Nordics.
Commenting on Scandinavian success stories like Klarna and Spotify, Rosvall said: “The big giants have fostered a new generation of entrepreneurs.”
Fuglsang says that those fintechs that are successful in the region are usually successful globally too.
Those that make it in the region “typically make it because we go global quite quick and that is because [Scandinavia] has fairly small markets,” he says
The pair also discuss that the relatively high standards of living in the Nordics mean there is generally a higher motivation to care about climate change and try and tackle it.
“No one should be a denied a bank account”, says Politically Exposed Persons expert amid Farage bank account row
This week the seldom talked about world of Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) came into the spotlight after Nigel Farage claimed the banks did not want him as a customer due to him being a PEP.
The row between Farage and NatWest bank has already accounted for the heads of the CEOs of NatWest and Coutts, the prestigious private bank for the wealthy it owns, and looks set to rumble on.
In this podcast, we chat with a PEP expert Alia Mahmud, who is the Regulatory Affairs Practice Lead at compliance data provider ComplyAdvantage.
Mahmud tells us what exactly a PEP is; how fintechs manage PEP clients and the extra due diligence involved; and why fintechs and other financial institutions might want to reduce their number of PEP clients.
She says that being a PEP involves a “whole lot of complications” and Mahmud also tells us why it is “prudent” for fintechs not get publicly involved in commenting on clients’ political and social beliefs.
A decade in, what's next for UK-born digital identity verification software scale-up Onfido? CEO Mike Tuchen spills the beans
Founded in London back in 2012, Onfido has become one of the global leaders in the digital identity verification and authentication services.
We caught up with Mike Tuchen, who joined the company almost three years ago after stints as CEO of companies like Rapid7 and Talend, and was brought on board to lead the scale-up and supercharge global growth.
Started with merely $30,000 in seed funding a decade ago, Onfido has raised more than $200 million in funding to date, and currently employs more than 600 staff around the globe.
According to Tuchen, revenue has reached well over $100 million a year, but getting the multi-national company to cashflow-positivity while maintaining healthy growth figures is one of his priorities.
We didn't only talk numbers though; Tuchen also went deep into Onfido's software, its positioning, how and why it uses artificial intelligence in its products, combatting bad actors and deepfakes, the war for talent, the company's recent acquisition of Airside, his take on the UK and European technology ecosystems, and much more.
You can also watch the interview directly on YouTube.
Dronamics CEO Svilen Rangelov on building the first cargo drone airline in the world (out of Bulgaria)
Bulgarian cargo drone manufacturer Dronamics today extended its pre-Series A funding round to raise €2 million euro from private investors exclusively via SeedBlink, the Romania-based crowdfunding platform.
A few months back, the company raised $40 million right before completing the first successful flight of its flagship aircraft, the Black Swan.
As the deep tech firm gears up to close a Series A round, Dronamics wants to build on the momentum by commercialising its drone.
We caught up with one of the two brothers who co-founded the company, CEO Svilen Rangelov, to learn more about the startup's fascinating journey.
You can also watch the interview on YouTube
Big moves in AI, Getir exits Spain, how US companies fare in Europe, and Henry Philipson from ESG_VC
Up this week:
The AI wars are heating up: During London Tech Week Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set the goal of establishing the UK as the global home of artificial intelligence. This week OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT, announced that it would open its first international office in London, and Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis went on record stating that his engineers are building an AI system dubbed Gemini that will be more capable than that of OpenAI. All the while Stability AI, the company behind Stable Diffusion is looking, well, a bit unstable.
A new report from Frontline Growth took a look at how US companies succeed and fail when it comes to European expansion. Representing up to 40% of global revenue for public software businesses, The authors note that "the strength of today's European tech ecosystem makes ignoring the region a costly mistake." Frontline goes on to cite the problem of success amnesia, where companies focus on sales at the expense of local marketing, community development, and brand-building efforts. Their data shows that 50% of companies don't have a single marketing resource in Europe a year after landing.
Following a retreat from France, Turkish speedy grocery service Getir is now pulling out of Spain. Spain's biggest trade union CCOO didn't mince words stating, "We condemn the disastrous business management of Getir, which has not known how to grow or have a market strategy in Spain. Now its staff will suffer the biggest harm." In light of these developments, it would appear as though Getir's rumoured offer to acquire Flink might well be off the table.
VTT Spinout Steady Energy is working on a 50MW nuclear reactor to be used to heat homes in Europe. Operating at significantly lower temperatures and pressure than a traditional reactor, the company's CEO Tommi Nyman says, "The pressure required by the LDR-50 reactor is comparable to the pressure that of a household espresso machine. It operates at a lower pressure than a district heating network. This ensures that in case of a malfunction which leads to a leak, the leak is contained within the heating plant, without endangering people or the environment."
Working on the algorithms that drive quantum computing, specifically, applying these algorithms to drug discovery and development, Finnish startup Algorithmiq 's CEO and co-founder Sabrina Maniscalco says that, "a useful quantum advantage is coming sooner than many think."
A new report issued by ESG_VC and BVCA analysed ESG data provided by 450 startups backed by leading venture capital firms including Lakestar, Balderton, Molten Ventures, Highland Europe, Beringea, and MMC Ventures. We spoke to ESG_VC co-founder Henry Philipson about how the initiative is aiming to assist startups navigate the world of ESG, as well as gather his response to commentary that startups shouldn't be focusing on ESG in early days.
A Must Listen Podcast For Tech Entrepreneurs
It's great to listen to a podcast that is for European based tech entrepreneurs.
Well done to Neil & Robin for delivering great content in this podcast.
Paul - The App Guy Podcast
Great coverage of the European tech scene!
This podcast comes from the team behind tech.eu, a well established online publication that covers everything tech & startup related across Europe. It’s a great addition to their platform with plenty of weekly info & insight allowing one to catch up on the main events of the week.
Great resource for catching up on the latest stories in Europe's tech scene.