As the fight to invest in the best startups accelerates, where’s the best destination for tomorrow’s tech giants?
The rise of the expat startup generation has taken the internet by storm in just a few years, with top talent now doing it themselves rather than signing up with mega USA tech firms and hoping to be noticed. It’s now a lifetime lifestyle commitment spurred on by hopes of making it huge as the modern-day versions of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and world destinations now look very different from the USA’s version, to the extent that Silicone Valley seems somewhat yesterday.
Nevertheless, the USA is still vying to get the brightest and best, as is new kid on the block China, with both competing against Amsterdam and other major European hubs, all of which represent a sea change from the former routes to success. The only similarities between the now and the then are the setbacks and victories which make the journey the destination. In Europe, it’s brains which make the difference with Amsterdam now in the lead, whilst in the USA it’s still muscle and hustle.
When it comes to finding the money, it’s US investors’ way to back the team itself rather than their concept, centering on whether the idea is eminently marketable. Techies who win this round have the confidence to forge ahead even if there’s an upfront high change of failure and hours of drudgery, with motivation their main weapon against crashing out of the game. To work this, it’s necessary not to be a lone wolf as team building is an essential part of today’s startups.
Another certainty is that investors will bully, as will potential clients, meaning those with fragile egos need not apply. As to work/life balances, forget them as they don’t exist in this new expat world. Chinese and Americans work all the hours in every day of every week, with those unable or unwilling to compete better off in another profession.
At the present time, investment opportunities in Europe are improving, but the real money is still across the pond and in the hands of tough guys who’re fine until there’s a risk you’ll not get it right. At this point, you’ll need to have learned the rules of the game and be prepared to break them to stay on track. Whether you succeed or not, you’ll get the ride of your life and gain experience that will force you to try, try and try again until you eventually