I had the chance to visit the Silicon Valley two weeks ago with some Swiss economic development officers and Swiss entrepreneurs. We saw some of the hottest startups and also some who are – possibly – becoming very hot and set to expand soon – also to EMEA.
Every time I am in the Valley I get this excitement and energy burst that is so special. The folks that came along also felt like that, so it is not unique to me.
Silicon Valley is hot again. Big Data, Software-defined networking, security, cloud infrastructure are some of the current waves that are attracting hundreds of millions USD of venture funding. Companies are hiring and talent is limited and a precious resource. One VC told us that he is very interested in looking at Swiss startup business plans. Of course what they have in mind is moving the people over and profiting from that talent pool. At the same time startups in Switzerland do not understand some of the basics that made the Valley such a success. Stock options and being part owner of a startup is the base of it all, something that is still not understood here as only the founders are owners. As long as that is still back-to-front there is no chance to get even a little slice of the success. Startup culture and Europe seem as far apart in this way as the European and US continents.