Where are the European startups at TechCrunch 50?

Next Story

What do you think about the new visualizer in iTunes 8?

OK, so either a lot of European startups weren’t deemed good enough to enter TechCrunch 50, or there were not enough judges who are inclined to EU startups, or Europe is just not producing enough quality startups. Whatever the reason, the number of Europeans at TechCrunch 50 is – for a region that encompasses about 300 million people – relatively thin on the ground and I am trying to determine quite why this is. (Then again, maybe the the cost of coming put some people off?)

It’s certainly not because they are from outside America. I have seen at least three startups from Japan, and probably the biggest non-US region here appearing in the TC50 list are startups from Israel (which include Devunity, Tweegee, Alfabetic, Mytopia, Alfabetic ).

There was only one UK startup that made it to the actual 50 list, and that was Connective Logic. They are developing software to fully exploit multi-core CPUs. Their Blueprint software development platform enables software developers to create complex multi-core software applications without requiring expertise in the field of multi-threaded software. What’s the upshot? The kind of software that can live track number plates of cars across London in real-time and put it on a Google map.

Other than them, there was only one other continental European startup (stop me if I’m wrong!) that pitched in the full TC50 competition, and that was “Burt” from Sweden. Burt builds technology that inspires people to have better and more creative ideas, initially focusing on enabling ad agencies to create more intelligent and entertaining digital campaigns.

Out of the visitors to TC50 I spotted Postcode Anywhere / The Web Service and of course MaxRoam was here too. And some other European companies in the Demo Pit were 3scale from Spain, Cards-off from France, Sobees from Switzerland, Cignis from Norway, Senderok from the Ukraine, and Plista from Germany. [Update: Twonq is now based in San Francisco, although development remains back in Holland].

So, what do you think? Did your European startup apply for TechCrunch 50 and get rejected? Why did you think that was? Should European companies be treated as more of an entity (“TechCrunch 50 Europe?”) or do you think they just need improve in quality to compete in this kind of US-based event?

  • http://guardian.co.uk/technology Bobbie Johnson

    So, Mike, you’re either saying the market you write about (European startups) isn’t very good, or not good enough compared to the rest of the world, or just non-existent.

    Given that this should logically mean there’s no reason to run your corner of Techcrunch (something I’m sure you don’t agree with), perhaps there’s one other possibility worth considering that you don’t seem to be entertaining here: perhaps not many European startups bothered entering the running in the first place. I seem to remember about six or seven Euro startups at TC40 last year… maybe the people who looked at it this time around just thought it wasn’t worth the effort?

  • http://www.3scale.net Steve

    As one of the companies here (3scale) I can definitely say it’s worth it to make the trip. Its tough to come here as a European company – 2/3am phone interviews + a significant investment in travel and fees + the wifi was a mess yesterday BUT the people we’ve met here have been great and the trip has already been worth it even before demoing tomorrow.

    Its definitely harder to make it as a non-US company (sleep deprivation for interviews, costs) and perhaps fewer applied but more definitely should – it’s generated loads of contacts and feedback. I also know for sure there were European companies offered Demopit slots which passed on them, understandably unsure of whether it was worth it.

    Maybe conferences like LeWeb already cover it (or could increase their launch platform), but I think a Techcrunch Europe could really make sense – there may be less startups in Europe, but an event like TC50 really helps companies get to launch – It might even bring more startups out of the woodwork – giving them a target and platform to show what they do.

    Anyway, still cool to have a European contingent here, look forward to to seeing anybody who’s around in the demopit tomorrow!

  • http://handelaar.org John Handelaar

    ARGH. Postcodeanywhere link doesn’t just obnoxiously not point to their site, but the Crunchbase page is *empty*.

    [Not that finding it manually was worth the effort, since they won’t let me see their website at all because I’m IP-banned despite never having visited it before, but still… cut that out, Mikey boy :) ]

  • http://www.tauyou.com Diego

    We applied for Techcrunch 50 and our T-Image! product was really attractive for the organization.

    The product concept is simple, get it, translate it! Just take a picture of a text with you mobile, send it to us, and get the translation.

    However, we got rejected the day before the final selection. So we were close, other companies were rejected many days before … We will write about TC 50 experience soon in our blog http://www.tauyou.com/blog.

    I think it’s worth the investment if you are among the 50 (52) selected companies, and if you have a Demo Pit space, it’s not clear. We decided not to attend the demo pit and try other events.

    We need more events like it in Europe also! And European start-ups need to think globally.

  • http://www.edicy.com Andres

    We applied with our startup http://www.edicy.com, at the time of application we we’re probably a little raw still but we’ve made great improvements since then.

    For an early stage startup it can be cost prohibitive to travel all the way to the west coast without knowing what the benefits may be. I think EU tech scene in general is a bit more fragmented and less social than in the US which means going to these types of events isn’t as much as a given.

    We’re looking to take part in more EU events later this year and that may lead us to start reaching out more and going further distances. I think an Techcrunch UK 50 would be a great idea and would attend.

  • http://techgain.net Ed French

    The dissadvantage of launching at events like this can be the sheer noise level of so many companies shouting at the same time. Maybe it’s a little too big?

  • http://www.learnitlists.com Nicola Robinsonova

    Who can tell what the reason is?

    We have invested many hours in application forms over recent months. We have had a ‘no’ from NESTA, seedcamp and TechCrunch50 and we have had no feedback.

    It would be really useful for us to know if we failed on some specific criteria/they didn’t like the application/they didn’t like the business model. We could then make amendments as necessary.

    I would be happy if the reason was simply – Europe?

  • http://enjoble.com Berislav Lopac

    Actually, there is a plenty of similar events in Europe — OK, maybe not as focused on launching as TC50 is, but there are conferences which give startups a chance to launch and present themselves.

    Of course there is Seedcamp, but by the end of this year we also have Social Networking Conference and Mobile Web Europe in London, EASY in Prague, FOWA Expo in London, Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin, Semantic Web Conference in Karlsruhe, TMT.Ventures’08 in Zagreb, biZbuZZ in Serbia, European Venture Summit in Düsseldorf and LeWeb in Paris. And for the next year there is already a great line-up consisting of Plugg in Brussels, The Next Web in Amsterdam, next09 in Hamburg and Web.Start in Zagreb.

  • http://simoncast.blogspot.com Simon

    Hi Mike,

    I think for many European startups it is not worth the hassel. It costs a lot to go to one of these conferences for Europe and for many European startups the audience is not seen to be the one they want – either as users or investors in the company.

    I’m not sure the audience reason is necessarily a correct assessment. My impression is that investors are getting less tied to geographical region. Audience really depends on what the product is.

    In the end for most European startups the cost-benefit analysis doesn’t add up. There should probably be a TechCrunch50 run Europe rather than specifically TechCrunch50 Europe.

  • http://www.learnitlists.com Nicola Robinsonova

    Berislav Lopac, please can you provide more info about EASY in Prague? A url would be great. Searching Google I find only a travel agent with that name.

  • anonymous coward

    I wouldn’t have entered this even if I knew about it – as it would require travel to the US and pitching my company in a market that’s essentially irrelevant to me.

    When there’s an equivalent in Europe, maybe then I’ll enter my startup.

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    @Bobbie – Yes, good point. Maybe European startups don’t put a priority on a largely Silicon Valley event. However, the feedback I have had from ALL the European startups here has been overwhelmingly positive. Maybe the word just needs to spread? Or the price come down? ;-)

  • http://aftnn.org Ben Godfrey

    The price definitely put me off. That amount of money invested in product should yield much greater bang/buck.

  • http://www.thewebservice.com Guy Mucklow

    John sorry that you couldn’t find Postcode Anywhere, we don’t have a profile up on Crunchbase, but will get that sorted. Not sure about your IP connection problem, however, we do exclude dodgy countries from seeing our site! In any event we’ve been at Techcrunch launching a new serice under the name “thewebservice” which you will find profiled on Crunchbase. However, we exited yesterday lunchtime so if anyone wants a free exhibitor stand for today and can cover the distance fast enough to get to San Francisco in 4 hours, they’re welcome to it. Unlike a lot of the social networking sites in search of a business model or monetization strategy, as someone put to us on the stand, we have a viable business generating non virtual money! We were hoping to get PR interest out of the show as there were some good press contacts listed as well as to network with people in the enterprise software space. It wasn’t unfortunately to be & whilst not a criticism of Techcrunch, which fills a great need for technology start ups in search of VC funding, it wasn’t the righ forum for us. Expensive mistake, however, we will be filling the time more productively today.

  • http://www.brainbakery.com Jof Arnold

    My 2 Euro cents

    1) Small startups
    More likely to be self-funded in Europe and therefore either a) too poor b) too busy trying to make money

    2) Large startups
    More potential customers in Europe. More fragmented. More opportunities to make money. Less competition – less noise. Why bother going to the US at all? (Except when you are looking for an exit, possibly)

  • http://www.scunnered.com Kyle MacRae

    Because for funding it’s irrelevant to European companies? Unless you’re based within a skateboard ride of a VC, you’re not going to get funded there.

    And because for a new launch it’s better to wait ’til the noise has died down. Give the two Mikes something to write about a month from now rather than competing with the current clamour.

    Being there to network would justify going for most companies but not, imo, the effort of pitching.

  • http://www.paybymob.net Liam Lowe

    and on the same vein – where is the TCUK coverage of this years seedcamp – the winning candidates have been published but no TCUK coverage boost

  • http://www.globalsecuritychallenge.com/ Simon

    I disagree with the notion that Europe is not producing “enough high quality startups”. In our annual international startup competition, the “Global Security Challenge”, we see a good mix of startups from Asia, Europe and the US. Our top contenders went on to raise over $37m in VC money, using as a launching pad. we just announced the top-5 european security startups, which are:
    • Arktis Radiation Detectors (Switzerland)
    • Beyond Encryption Technologies (Ireland)
    • Intuview (Israel)
    • Metaforic (UK)
    • QCC Technologies/Blackthorn (UK)

  • http://uk.techcrunch.com Mike Butcher

    Guy Mucklow – Email me if you wan to talk – I am around the next cuple of days.

    Jof Arnold – With respect I don’t the the US is a place you just come to “sell”. It’s more of a place you come to “scale” in terms of reaching a big market. No investor here is going to want to just buy you up at the drop of a hat unless you have some kind of unique intellectual property. Much more likely they would ask the startup to move to the States or establish a significant presence here first.

    Kyle MacRae – Fair comment!

    Liam Lowe – Rectifying that today – slight problem with the time difference right now.

  • http://www.scred.com/ Kristoffer Lawson

    Partly I imagine it might be a case of name recognition (as well as the practical matters mentioned here). Early stage European companies will be less familiar to judges and investors in the Valley. More “out of the blue”, and I would guess that has some impact.

    In Scred’s case Seedcamp actually felt more relevant so gained the majority of our own attention. Whether that was wise or not, time will tell. Not to imply TC50 is a bad event and I do think European companies should definitely have applied.

  • http://www.seedcamp.com Reshma

    As a few folks have said, Seedcamp is next week and there’s been a lot of activity around application and selection over the past several weeks. So, I think a lot of start-ups in Europe have certainly been very busy. If you look at the Final 23, we also think you’ll agree the start-ups are solving some real problems and that they are high quality. Actually the 43 on the shortlist are all very exciting companies. I definitely think though we want to have more and more US-Europe cross-border interaction. We’re seeing more and more exciting start-ups in Europe and there’s more positive energy about entrepreneurship so we are definitely celebrating that next week with Techcrunch :-)

  • http://www.arcticstartup.com/2008/09/11/nordic-and-baltic-companies-non-existent-in-tc50/ Nordic And Baltic Companies Non-Existent In TC50 | ArcticStartup

    […] being organised in San Francisco by Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch. Mike Butcher wrote an article in the UK version of TechCrunch about the non-existence of European companies, compared to Israeli […]

  • http://twonq.com Michal

    Twonq is European startup! It is now located in San Francisco, but it is founded by Europeans and we still even have our development team in Holland.

  • http://www.learnitlists.com Nicola Robinsonova

    The EASY event in Prague on the 3rd October:


  • http://www.broadstuff.com alan p

    Well, if Yammer is as good as TC50 gets, I think saving the airfare sounds good. Just pick your US startup and build an E2.0 biz model – sorted ;)

    More seriously, I see Plastic Logic (a Cambridge company) demonstrated its e-Reader at DEMO.

blog comments powered by Disqus