Why don’t more big Web companies come out of Europe? According to European investor Klaus Hommels, it’s not the usual excuses we hear like un-start-up-friendly labor laws or a culture against taking business risk. It’s that the European Union is just too fragmented of a market no matter what continent boosters would have us believe. Hommels explains in the video below– realizing full-well he’s another German likely getting some hate mail from our readers.
While I had Hommels on Skype, which he invested in, I had to ask him about his other notorious Swedish investment, Spotify. Rumors are swirling for the countless time in last two years that the company has finally gotten the labels on board and a US launch is imminent. I’ll believe it when I see it, but kudos to them if they’ve finally pulled it.
Hommels describes what I’ve called Spotify’s arrogance as founder Daniel Ek’s admirable refusal to take a deal that would allow his company to be bled dry by labels like so many music startups that came before. Should a deal be announced, the detail to watch is whether Spotify is allowed to offer a free trial service in the US without requiring users put down a credit card first. That’s reportedly been one of the big sticking points. If they’ve won that one, I’ll admire Ek too.
Go here for the first part of our interview with Hommels where he talks about his unconventional take on the Gilt/Groupon Clone Wars.