Three Takeaways From The Noah Conference 2015
Last week I got to peek-in on the last day of NOAH 2015 conference in Berlin. It was a great experience, which I strongly recommend it to everyone in the world of media, tech and investment. Hot topics, impressive speakers, fantastic venue and swarms of high profile decision makers from around the world, ready to engage.
Three take-aways from the day:
- Addressing privacy and online security issues, the president of EU Parliament, Martin Schulz defended Europe’s efforts well. The vision of digital Europe becoming a reputably safe and transparent cyberspace will lead to better business opportunities in the long run. Indeed, having an upper hand in this space is important for the EU market to stay competitively attractive in the future. The challenge will be not to over-regulate to the extend that would actually slow down Europe’s digital progress in comparison with other markets.
- Eric Schmidt delivered an inspiring talk about Google’s efforts in supporting small ventures and involvement in ground breaking projects. The VC and start-up crowd created a very convenient environment for Google to toot its innovation horn, muting any talks about their core business – advertising. A lot of their efforts have world changing ambitions as well as legs. The question is will Google be able to continue heavy investments for long enough to create a sufficient revenue maker to offset their ad market share drop?
- A panel of Top VCs discussed differences in the current US and European VC atmospheres. It was reassuring to hear all unanimously reject that Europe would lack great ideas and/or entrepreneurial quality. VC’s also shared that while the real winners of US found raising are often valued much higher than European winners, the latter part of the tail actually looks very similar. This is what creates the ‘US ventures = better money ventures’ myth. It might be a myth overall, but when looking at the top of the mountain, Europe is yet to produce the Facebook, Apple, or Uber level of winners. Europe has a much younger start-up culture, and the investments to Europe are on the rise. Cultural and administrative fragmentation makes it more complicated for VCs though. And since the majority of VC money is coming from the US they understandably often choose to invest in their local market where they feel their knowledge is the strongest.