One of the reasons I am writing this blog in English is because of the audience I want to reach. Yes, I also do it because I find it much easier but more importantly I want to reach those, who are reading all those blogs from the silicon valley, from the incubators, the failures and winners and the investors from the valley. And I want to reach those readers because, what they have been told, so many advices, which haven been and are still given, simply don’t work here. But every now and then I meet someone, who almost blindly follows the advice and I just want to tell them: look, that sounds great and might worked there but this ain’t California.
I mentioned it already in a side-sentence the other day, the story of the purely technical team that gets millions from some investor and get big over night, is a myth. It already more fantasy than reality in the U.S. but even more so over here in Europe, where this literally doesn’t happen. And the reasons for that being as versatile as they are simple: this ain’t California. Even the same Funds from the U.S. don’t fund those kind of startups here, even if their blogs tell you to focus on the product and the product only. Their unfamiliarity with the local market lead to create and run a local team managing a much smaller amount of money. And those people are rarely partners, nor bold enough to actually push something risky. Most European offices are run by numbers. So if you don’t have any sales, it’s almost impossible to get funded by any of them. This ain’t California.
The same goes for the pre-early-stage phase, where the U.S. has plenty of former entrepreneurs, who invest in stuff just because they love the idea and then push it through their investors to other rounds. And yes, these people are telling you to focus on the product only, because for everything else they have a great network and can help you find you everyone needed, once the product is done. But these former startup entrepreneurs are not the majority of Business Angels in Germany. Money here comes from Pharmacists, Doctors, Lawyers, Gastronomy Owners and Merchants, Banks and Family offices - who rarely understand what you are talking about let alone come with a network to help you sell stuff in the world of internets. If you don’t come up with the network yourself and sell your stuff, no one will. This ain’t California.
But once you got your head up and start selling stuff, you will pretty quickly realise another important difference between Berlin in Europe and California in the U.S.: the market. And I know I am repeating myself here. But rolling out something like Twitter is just ten times easier if you have a market size of 300 million, speaking the same language than it is with 80 million. And it is ten times easier to get money from someone to aid that roll out, it goes much smoother not to say, you’ll have global adoption even before you officially launch it in many countries. Good luck trying the same with a Product from Germany or Sweden. But even Spain or France, if you really want to tap the big market speaking that language you have to cross huge oceans. You are not embedded in a bigger easily accessible market. Sorry, this is not California. Just because it worked there doesn’t mean it works here…