I read blogs. Lots of ‘em. Sometimes it’s a personal blog, sometimes it’s a collaborative blog (which is basically a news site, but with the editorial freedom that we used to expect from the news). I get introduced to a new blogs in a variety of ways – sometimes I meet the blogger, sometimes someone I follow retweets something; my favorite way is through guest posts on my already existing, pre-approved blog list. When I first discover a new ‘candidate’, I instantly find their twitter page and I follow it, no questions asked – in fact, I do the same with interesting people I find on twitter. If you look potentially interesting, you’re on the list. For now. For personal blogs that I really like, I subscribe to get their posts by email, so I don’t have to worry about missing them in my twitter feed.
Long story short, I read blogs.
I am getting less and less of my news from US Sources – frankly, they just aren’t relevant. I keep tabs on what’s going on, what’s hot, and who to keep an eye out for – but for every US article I read, I read about 6 articles concerning Europe, written in Europe. And I think this is the case for most European startupers. Before now, there wasn’t enough going on, nor enough press covering what was going on, to make this possible. Now it is. LeWeb showed us that Americans will come out to France (and Europe), but we let them down this year by not showing them what’s going on here. Granted, we don’t have much on their level beyond Spotify, but that’s on us to get on our game and stop playing startup and start doing startups. Most recently on TechCrunch, Amir Shafrir, president of Badoo, gave his shortlist of European startups to keep an eye on, based on what he had seen at LeWeb a few week ago. The most interesting part of the article for me was just after he talked about how the SV ‘usuals were all found at LeWeb, is when he added: “But hang on a second. Shouldn’t it work the other way around too? Shouldn’t we in the States also look to the European startup renaissance for ideas and inspiration?”
Why Go West, When the West Will Go You?
In 2012, a lot of things are going to happen. 2012 will be the year of the European Startup Explosion. The talent has been unearthed, ecosystems are starting to form, and it will not just be one city or one country, it will be all of them. It is not going to be TechCrunch’s US site which voices this explosion, and nor should it. After all, it is a Silicon Valley blog, which occasionally talks about things related to the Silicon Valley going on outside of the region. The only people capable of broadcasting this upcoming year to its fullest will be bloggers in Europe (and you’ve all figured out by now, we’ll be one of them) I would love it if there was one blog that covered all of Europe… But there isn’t. Yet. So for now, I have my regional blogs that I follow to get my news.
So, If you want to be the ultimate European Startuper…
- France: No question, The Rude Baguette‘s got you covered. Whether it’s Lyon, Lille, or l”Ile-de-France, we’ve got big plans for 2012, including more writers, more topics, and more RUDE – we’ll talk more about that later, though.
- UK & Ireland: two great startup regions, Dublin & Ireland are places to watch out for. Our own Robert Kelley wrote an article a while back about how Dogpatch Labs, a TechStars/Y-Combinator-esque Accelartor, set up a basecamp in Dublin to serve as the European connection to the US. In addition, Paddy Cosgrave, founder of the Dublin Web Summit, has done wonders in building a lively startup scene. Currently, I follow fellow Pirate Benoit Curdy on Twitter to keep an eye on Dublin – A Swiss native founding a company in Dublin after having worked for Google in the European headquarters, his twitter bio speaks volumes on his contribution to the Dublin scene. For the UK, there’s no better than TechCrunch Europe. With Mike Butcherand Robin Wauters planted locally, they’ve got the best eye on what’s going on – personally, I follow Mike Butcher’s personal twitter account more than TechCrunch Europe, but you never know when a good Guest Post will change things up. In addition, Milo Yiannopoulos, a reputed freelance journalist, is launching The Kernel today – only time will tell what will come from this, but his recent blog post peaked my interest, suggesting a focus more on long-form analysis than on cookie-cutter breaking news & PR releases.
- Germany: With Scandinavian and eastern European countries flocking to Berlin en masse, Germany’s going to need an English-language blog just to broadcast everything that’s coming out of that town (and others, of course). For now, my money’s on TechBerlin. Having launched 7 months ago, TechBerlin doesn’t just talk about Berlin, but you can imagine it’s the focus. Currently posting once a day, I haven’t found their editorial line to be as high-quality as I would’ve liked, but perhaps they’ll step it up in 2012. For now, they have taken the RUDE approach at being one the first English-language blogs in Germany, along with Venture Village.
- Scandinavia: Up in Northern Europe, I’m a big fan of Arctic Startup. Founded in 2007, it seems the global interest in startup scenes has finally caught up with them, and they’re ready. Posting 4-5 articles per day, they’ve got their hand in everything from mobile games startups to accelerators to events.
- Eastern Europe: Having begun guest posting on TechCrunch Europe a few months back, Natasha Starkell has got the best eye on anything going on east of Germany. Her blog, GoalEurope, which moonlights as a consulting service, has the best info on what’s going on out East.
Of course, as 2012 comes around, I will find new blogs, new bloggers, and I will keep you guys posted. You’ll notice that countries like Switzerland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Greece have been left out of the mix. For now, I’ve got my eyes on a few bloggers in the regions, but I have not seens a voice crop up in these regions. The Rude Baguette would love to say we talk about all Francophone countries; but frankly, if we don’t have a person on the ground in Belgium or Switzerland, we’re not going to lie. Spain’s Alex Barrera is doing a lot for the Madrid scene, and hopefully by the end of 2012 I will have my foot firmly in my mouth for not giving them more credit.
I think this next year will be a great time to be a European startuper. You can already hear pre-2008 entrepreneurs talk about how something in the air has changed in Paris, in London, in Berlin, and all over Europe, and I think that in 2012 there will be too much happening here for Europeans to constantly be looking to the Silicon Valley for guidance. Whatever country you’re in, whatever startup you’re doing – Europeans, it’s time for us to get our act together. We have the talent, we have the voice, and despite what anyone will tell you, we have the money. It’s time to put those three things together. My Startup is an Ecosystem. What’s yours?