super founders of Europe
Welcome to Sunday CET. Many layoff announcements these days, how are you all doing? Hope all is well and you're hanging in - Xmas is around the corner, so planning on gifts and winter sports can be a good distraction. Speaking of which, I am thinking to do a snowboard/ski get together in the Alps at the end of January, if we find enough people. Let me know if you’re interested.
This week's edition includes a comprehensive list of super founders from Europe, namely folks who have built valuable tech startups (i.e. unicorns) and which can be a good example for the community.
superfounders in Europe
A few weeks ago I got into a discussion with a few entrepreneurs about good examples of other tech founders in Europe. People who have taken risks, built tech products on top of which created a consistently valuable business in the past 5-10 years or so, with ops and customers all over the world. People whose stories one can learn from for building their startup.
This is a peculiar point in Europe, which seems to be eaten out by management consultants at the middle - have you noticed that you keep running into those guys in the startup world? Late twenties, one year internship at McKinsey and 3 years work at Ernst & Young (random example), where they implemented projects for a big bank and an oil company. And here they are, at startup accelerators, venture builders, mentorship programs or VC firms - you name it, teaching founders theoretical frameworks about how to build a startup.
Nothing against those guys, theory is useful sometimes, and consulting cats are as cool as any (I have many friends in the field) - but startups are different beasts, whereas you learn by doing not from the books. For once, startups are about building anew what people want in a scrappy way - in the consulting world you sell solutions targeting big budgets of established large companies facing challenges such as “digital transformation”. You know when you help your grandfather to login on the internet and create a Facebook account, making sure he’s GDPR compliant in the process? That’s doing digital transformation work. Secondly, doing consulting work for big corporations doesn’t teach you about dealing with risks and doing startups is exactly it. Each day of building a company involves a de-risking step along the path you’re exploring - consultants take the already beaten path.
Back to our discussion, the broader point is that nobody goes to school to learn how to build a startup - while it’s interesting to learn theory, it’s better to ask for advice from people who have built startups in real life. And with this in mind, I started mapping a few European names, shot some emails around and came up with a list of people you can find below.
The list is alphabetically sorted and structured by country, and by no means comprehensive, quite sure there’s many names left out. But think it makes for a good start to learn about some of the great European tech founders.
click here to access the list (available for Nordic 9 subscribers)
Many thanks for feedback to Alex, Aquilino, Patrick and Sophia!
Interesting Euro deals
🇩🇰 Northstake, building validator node infrastructure, raised seed funding.
🇸🇪 Mai, building a mobile service that automates the selling of people's clothes, raised $800k.
🇫🇷 Alvo, building a marketplace for private M&A, raised $1 million.
🇩🇪 Februar, developing a payment infrastructure solution for Web3, raised $1.5 million seed.
🇪🇪 yummy, selling personalised meals and diet recos, raised $1.9 million.
🇳🇱 Rift, developing a new class of fuel for energy-intensive industries, raised $2 million.
🇬🇧 Suri, producing a sustainable sonic toothbrush, raised $2.3 million.
🇬🇧 Return Protocol, developing a blockchain technology tool for climate, raised $2.5 million pre-seed.
🇳🇴 Völur, developing a tool used to optimize meat producing value chains, raised $3 million seed.
🇳🇴 Kosli, doing SAAS for dynamic change monitoring and continuous compliance, raised $3.1 million.
🇫🇷 Bump.sh, developing a collaboration platform specialized in the governance of API ecosystems, raised $3.9 million seed.
🇬🇧 Util, doing a SAAS intel tool extracted from listed cos KPIs, raised $6 million.
🇩🇪 Gitpod, developing an open source development platform that builds ready-to-code workspaces in the cloud, raised $25 million series A.
More intel bits
++ At the edge:
✍️ Also notable:
Entrepreneur First will cease its operations in Singapore and Toronto.
Cherry Ventures invested seed in a startup done by two Frenchmen based in San Francisco.
Arrival, the British commercial EV maker that went public last year via SPAC, received a delisting warning from the Nasdaq because its shares have been trading too low.
Protocol Ventures, fund of crypto hedge funds, is returning cash as it’s closing down.
🇪🇺 Random intel
Appearance judgers Speaking of consultants in the startup world - founders are the opposite at social events.
Startup funding winter is an exogenous phenomena The environment is bad not because there’s not good startups to fund, but because investors are scared shitless to deploy money, exhibit 23258.
🏃♂️ Cool jobs:
Chief of Staff to Brent Hoberman at Founders Forum Group.
🗣️ Cheat sheets:
Good to know basis
👉 How investors evaluate your idea - some basic rules.
💲 Raising is a long process - seed round took 9 months to raise and I barely scraped together $500k.
ℹ️ SAAS multiples below the pre-Covid average - flat Euro rounds, at best
✍️ Creative tools 2.0 - overview
🛖 Workspace setups - by tech professionals
🤔 CMOs on pressing issues: spending priorities, team structure and more.
Have you created useful resources for the community? They can be events, reports or tools - send me an email with submissions at email@example.com
🔀 Miles Mobility acquired WeShare from Volkswagen - MM is an on-demand car sharing company active in six German cities and two Belgian cities, backed by a fleet of 9000 cars while WeShare is active in Berlin and Hamburg with around 2,000 e-vehicles.
It is an interesting move as just, like VW, BMW/Mercedes Benz also exited from the car sharing business over the summer, when they sold their JV called Share Now to Stellantis. Meanwhile, Renault also is pushing its Mobilize service, which targets a fleet of 200k cars by the end of decade. Volvo already operates its own service in Sweden and just launched a high end service in Switzerland - hope it also goes down the market as the local Swiss player Mobility could really use some competition (was a former happy Volvo customer and now using Mobility as I moved to Switzerland).
🇪🇺 Europe doing tech part 32572 Europe’s space agency is an example of European chauvinism at its absolute worst, its failures a masterclass in how not to be globally competitive, while spending billions on institutional grandiosity.
With a budget of €7.2 billion and a staff of 2,200, the ESA has admitted that it cannot launch its forthcoming space telescope and an asteroid mission. It’s had to beg Elon Musk for his reusable Falcon rockets. It has also lost access to Russian Soyuz vehicles (yes, they’re in bed with the Russians) and because of long delays in the introduction of the replacement Ariane 6 launch vehicle, it is wildly over budget and years late. The humiliation is galactic.
So no, money is not the problem in Europe.
🇬🇧 Investors turning own problems into a business model A VC fund charging startups fees because they don't get a good salary link
🙈 Empathy required - CEO Patrick Collison's email to Stripe employees Re: layoffs. Everybody is bracing for the worst, man.
🚀 A16Z also put $ into the Twitter deal, reportedly $400 million, and their LPs don’t seem happy about it.
🤑 Unicorn startups spending $10 million per year on, wait for it, Twitter threads. Paid for by their VCs, bien sur.
🤔 Great read: the end of the system of the world.
🤖 Oh Elon If you’re not living under a rock, you’ve known by now that Twitter’s takeover has turned into an ugly reality show reported on leaks from the company’s snitches and live-orchestrated by the dude threatening to go on a thermonuclear name & shame with advertisers boycotting his product. It seems obvious that Elon Musk is acting like an idealist elephant in the China store who has no idea how corporate droids work. Or doesn’t care, more likely.
🐋 Save the planet for the kids A blue whale ingests 10 million pieces of microplastic a day - the weight of plastic consumed over a year was estimated at between 230kg and 4 tonnes.
🏀 Being good at your job ain’t enough Nike suspended relationship with NBA player Kyrie Irving in the wake of the controversy surrounding his social media post about a book and movie containing antisemitic tropes. Think this dude’s career is over.
🚂 Only in America - you can own your own private rail car & attach it to an Amtrak train. Price tag: $300k + $5/mile, w/ 100 private cars in operation in the US.
🇨🇭 Meanwhile in Switzerland - Deutsche Bahn trains to Switzerland have become so unpunctual (only 40% with less than 6 minutes delay) that Switzerland's SBB decided to replace delayed German trains to Swiss cities by their own to avoid frustrated passengers.
🏘️ Gift ideas There is a whole town on the border between Spain and Portugal for sale for only $240k! A bar, a church and a school are included.
🥳 Anna Delvey, the Russian-born con artist who defrauded New York socialites and financial institutions out of a combined $275,000 by posing as a German heiress, is preparing to launch a dinner series out of her East Village apartment, where she’s been under house arrest since early October.
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