Business

Europe’s tech winter will inspire a new generation of founders



Tech unicorn executives, investors and CFOs have since spent their time dealing with layoffs, falling valuations and negative profits — but the tech downturn hasn’t needs to be the disaster that everyone fears for the future of Europe’s tech ecosystem.

In effect, this recession will usher in a new generation of resilient, high-growth startups led by a flurry of highly-skilled tech geeks who decide to become the newcomers. founded in their own way.

Europe has never registered Apple or Facebook fables of teenage entrepreneurs working out of their dorm room or parents’ garage. Instead, the typical European tech unicorn founder left Canary Wharf in 2008 with ideas for how to make the bank better and a severance package to start a business; or they used their network and savings from a decade at a consulting firm to create their own startup.

That profile is changing — and the technology downturn is accelerating that change. Instead, founders are now emerging from tech startups and European unicorns.

Over the past 10 years, tech startups and scale-ups have attracted a lot of the best talent Europe has to offer. We now have a large pool of people with experience building their own companies or working in highly successful start-up environments – a demographic that is starting to reflect the West Coast ecosystem Ky.

For many people, this will be their first recession or recession – and it will be a shock.

Senior employees in Europe’s tech unicorns have spent the past decade on the money train. There has been fierce competition for talent with rising wages and golden shackles locking down talented workers. Only the most steadfast entrepreneurs forgo seven-figure salaries to start their own companies.

In the good times, playing offensive is fun. Many managers and directors of tech unicorns will join these companies to lead a team of ten, and 12 months later they will be responsible for 150 people. The roller coaster of steep learning curves, building new things, and credibility is a very engaging environment.

However, the world has changed. These same individuals are leaving their teams, stopping their pet projects, and playing defense for the first time in their careers.

After seeing how liberating building a tech startup is and how lucrative an upward trajectory can be, they won’t want to trade that excitement for the stability of the company. their previous corporate, consulting or financial work. The dam is about to burst and there will be a tidal wave of really strong founders emerging from our current unicorns, ready to start tech companies.

For the first time, Europe will have founders who understand what it takes to start and scale billion-dollar tech companies. And, for the first time, these founders will learn the lessons of the downturn and will want to create companies with real customers, real revenue, and real growth potential. More and more founders from these backgrounds are approaching me to discuss startup funding.

This will have a more pronounced effect in Europe than the more mature US ecosystem, which has produced generations of entrepreneurial talent. Of course, new tech startups will be established in the US as a direct result of the changing employment landscape, but this will only advance the American tech startup tradition that has existed in the past. many decade.

Europe has a total of 132 unicorns. Of these, 85 unusual companies achieved unicorn status only in 2021. The United States experienced a similar hyperbole last year, with 340 companies securing multi-billion dollar valuations. The number of people who have developed skills while working at unicorn companies has more than doubled in the past few years.

The most fundamental component of the tech ecosystem – talent – in Europe is on a very different level than it was a few years ago. This alone will keep the innovation flywheel spinning and the technology ecosystem growing. For the right founder with the right experience, there has never been a better time to set up a tech startup in Europe.

lan Poensgen is a partner of global VC firm Antler.

Opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary are solely those of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Luck.

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