Last year, more than $19 billion was invested in
Back in the U.K., access to foreign talent is understandably top of mind. As many as one in four British companies are setting up offices in continental Europe, according to
"What's happening in Europe right now is similar to what you are seeing in the U.S., with Silicon Valley realizing it's not the center of technology anymore," says the Paris-based investor and serial entrepreneur Romain Lavault, referring to major corporations' growing interest in middle-tier U.S. cities like
While this doesn't bode well for the U.K. and its startups, existing European startup hubs including
1. Economic tailwinds
In 2018, macro-economic factors could help E.U. entrepreneurs to grow their bottom lines. Earlier this month, the E.U. bloc raised its forecasts for economic growth, insisting that it would see its
Meanwhile, the relative strength of the European startup ecosystem has been bolstered by a series of recent exits, including the Finnish mobile game developer Rovio, which went public at a €896 million ($1 billion) valuation
This year, some analysts are suggesting that public offerings will outpace 2017, according to a
Of course, to truly compete with the U.S. and Asia, Europe needs more (and importantly, bigger) startup exits in the near future, with those entrepreneurs then reinvesting in their local business communities. "It's still rare to sell your company for more than $200 million in Europe," explains Partech's Lavault, suggesting that larger companies have historically been reticent to acquire startups.
2. Artificial intelligence, Amazon 2.0
Some sectors are expected to surge in 2018. In particular, analysts are bullish on artificial intelligence and so-called "deep" technology, including the U.K.-based semiconductor maker Graphcore, which recently raised $50 million in funding to take on stalwarts Nvidia and Intel. Meanwhile, the electric jet startup Lillium, based in Munich, raised $90 million in Series B funding for its so-called "flying taxi" last September. "There's a growing deep tech resurgence [as] academic institutions are beginning to commercialize their ideas," says Mattias Ljungman, co-founder of Atomico, nodding to schools such as University College London and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Meanwhile, Paddy Cosgrave, the Irish entrepreneur and founder of the international technology conference WebSummit, notes that more than 80,000 artificial intelligence startups applied to his network's incubator in 2017--a record share.
E-commerce could be another winner. As Amazon continues to expand globally, a number of E.U. competitors have emerged to take on the e-commerce giant in niche categories, including the U.K. specialty furniture maker Made.com. The London-based company generated nearly £100 million ($139 million) in sales--and turned a profit for the first tim--in 2016. Another firm to watch: Na-Kd. The Swedish fashion retailer last month raised $45 million in Series B funding, and plans to use the cash to expand further across the Eurozone. (Lavault's Partech was a lead investor in the round.)
3. U.S. brain drain
What may help the E.U. in the months to come is a different sort of "Trump Bump," whereby American entrepreneurs increasingly look to places such as Canada, France and Germany as potential locations to launch their businesses. "We've never seen so many resumes from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who want to relocate to the E.U.," says Lavault, attributing the change to the controversial U.S. President. Indeed, a growing number of business owners are now taking advantage of programs such as the
Meanwhile, as Trump trims back on legal immigration--and the H-1B visa program, in particular--some entrepreneurs have responded by
There's also the possibility that Brexit won't happen after all, suggests Cosgrave. "All of the moons are aligning to stop this from happening, and get us to a second referendum," the entrepreneur tells Inc. Indeed, a