Monday, July 14, 2014

The Surprising thing TechCrunch's Co-Founder has to say about an European Startup Community

By: Paul Chen

Mid-last month was this year's edition of Bitspiration, Krakow's premier startup event. I had a chance to sit down with the co-founder of TechCrunch, Keith Teare to discuss his new project, Chat Center and how he felt about the Krakow startup community.

After Bitspiration, what is your impression of the Krakow Startup Community?

First of all, I'd like to say that Karakow is an impressive city. It is more like a Western European city due to its abundant culture. I am impressed by the quality of engineering and IT talent. It is on par with their western-peers. I like the high quality of mentoring available here. Young talent are treally in good hands here. I also like how well developed the network of investor angels are here.

How do you see the geographic positioning of the city?

I see it ias a great asset. Like Prague and Budapest, Krakow can be see as a bridge between the East and the West. It is one of the last major stops before heading into Eastern Europe and Asia.

How can the community have a more sustanable growth?

Focus on the big idea.

What do you mean by that?

Here in Europe, they don't really like taking risks. And when they do, they expect a fast return. I believe there should be an environment setup that encourages risk taking.

How do we do that?

A startup typically takes about 5 years of growth to succeed. However, if the angel or the VC expects a fast return on their investment, they could force the team to leave the station before the train arrives. Investors should be patient with the startup and give it all the resources for it to grow, especially: TIME.

People can be very impatient. What is the risk in that?

Like any biological ecosystem, you need time and investment to build a robust one. If you try to rush it too much or are impatient enthusiasm will dwindle and the whole ecosystem will start to fizzle out or worst case scenerio, die because you are not getting the return that you were expecting. However, if you let it grow organically and give it time, you will start to see bigger and better returns.

Should people still try to go to Silicon Valley?

I think Silicon Valley is still the proving ground of many wonderful startups. That said, I think it isn't the only one. Startups in Krakow shouldn't just focus on the local Polish market. They should try to go global. Silicon Valley is getting harder and harder to get into, but there are lots of other markets that can be just as lucrative, for example Asia and Africa.

Thank you for your time, any last minute remarks?

You have a good thing going here. It is growing nicely. Enjoy the trip while it is happening, don't be in such a hurry to get to the destination.

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