As I’ve said many times I think the startup ecosystem here in Europe is getting stronger all the time. One of the reasons for that is that the entrepreneurs are getting better. That is something I observe on a daily basis at the companies we see.
When I’m asked to explain why entrepreneurs are getting better I typically point to the increasing number and strength of networking and support groups for startup founders (e.g. the ICE group run by Alex Hoye), and to the increasing number of serial entrepreneurs that are helping with both investment and advice (e.g. Brent Hoberman, Michael Birch, Niklas Zennstrom, the White brothers).
As of this morning I’m going to add a third item to the list; that learning the art of company building is easier than it ever has been before (note the careful choice of words – the learning part is getting easier, the building part is still very hard). It would have been nice if I’d thought of this whilst eating my breakfast this morning, but credit where credit is due, Marc Andreessen came up with it yesterday in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:
“I think entrepreneurs are getting better and better,” he said, “Better educated, better trained, better informed, better networked. When I was starting out, there was really no such thing as networking for entrepreneurs. Now they all know so much more about what’s going on.”
Social media has been a big part of that, Andreessen says.
“They’re all on Facebook, they all tweet – plus, so many VCs are blogging,” he said, referring to investors such as Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures. “They’re basically comprehensively writing the how-to manual for how to build companies.”
I would add to this the excellent work done by Steve Blank, Eric Ries and others in breaking down the process of building a company into its constituent parts which is slowly making entrepreneurialism more science than art.
This is particularly good news for entrepreneurs in Europe (and other smaller startup ecosystems) because it levels the playing field with Valley entrepreneurs who have historically had access to much better education on building companies.