The result is an explosion of high quality entrepreneurs across a range of sectors and geographies. Accel is entering its third decade in Europe and yet we have seen more change in the last 18 months than we did in the preceding decade. It’s questionable as to how long the frenetic pace can last but the fundamentals have never been stronger and the innovation and ambition continues.
There is already a vibrant community of technology companies in Bristol, and it is growing every year. Over time that community will create more entrepreneurs who want to develop their ideas and build their businesses in the city. We would like to see Bristol emerge as one of the top tech hubs in Europe.
I'm very fortunate and grateful for the people I get to work with everyday. These include veterans and early employees from Wise, Amazon, Stripe, InVision, Mozilla, Atlassian, Vimeo and others. A meaningful consequence of this is avoiding a lot of pitfalls that come with building a high-scale company.
One of the challenges of European cities where the tech sector is new is the lack of similar know-how and experience in company, funding, team, product, culture-building and the nuances in approaches at various stages of the business. Mistakes in these areas can sometimes be costly, have multi-year effects and in some cases even be fatal for the business. I highly recommend founders who do not have prior expertise to build mentor and advisory relationships with people who do.
Being an operator and an early employee (2011) in one of Europe’s fastest-growing consumer tech companies, I’ve seen a dramatic shift and maturity in the tech ecosystem in the past decade. Apart from the substantial capital inflow into Europe, access to human capital is growing significantly. I’ve observed many operators and founders becoming full-time investors (VC or angel) with deep experience in starting a company, building world-class products, and scaling their business.
This is a critical inflection point, particularly for startups that will now benefit from more "smart money" and operational experience from investors, which is essential to further developing the ecosystem. I’m also very excited about stronger interconnected networks of angel syndicates, and VCs sharing deal flows across geographies. This means that you can now access capital in a much broader and more efficient way.
That said, we still struggle with the status quo in Europe, where traditional career paths take many of our most talented individuals. As an ecosystem we need to make a concerted effort to attract talent at the beginning of their careers to startups so that they can become the founders of the future.