Innovation Bridge

Technology, Startups, and Europe’s Connection to Silicon Valley

The San Francisco Bay Area, which includes Silicon Valley, 被广泛认为是世界领先的技术创新和创业活动中心, a status reflected in its research 大学, its extraordinary aggregation of venture capital, its high concentration of information technology and life sciences companies, and its track record of creating leading global businesses and transformative business models. This draws entrepreneurs from around the world and particularly from Europe.


This report was prepared by Sean Randolph, Senior Director at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. 卡米拉中东和北非地区, Research Analyst at the Economic Institute, and Adair Rosin, an intern from Brown University, contributed to the research.

训研所感谢使本报告得以编制的提案国:欧洲联盟, which provided the core grant supporting the project; Lead Sponsors Siemens and the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis; and Supporting Sponsors Bank of the West, the Consulate of Sweden, the Consulate of Norway, Innovation Center Denmark, 德国汉莎航空公司, Schneider Electric, 和泰克.
Leaders of many government agencies, 大学, 加速器, venture firms, and private companies, including many startup founders, contributed their insights through one-on-one interviews. They are listed in the Appendix.

We also wish to thank the following knowledge partners, who provided key data that helped inform the study: Mind the Bridge, RocketSpace, 工厂, 和技术.eu.

Europe’s Entrepreneurial Landscape

How and why so many startups from Europe come to the Bay Area is explained by many factors. 从上次全球经济衰退中缓慢复苏,担心自己正在输给美国和亚洲,这使得欧洲越来越多地把目光投向初创企业——在这个领域,欧洲表现不佳,但将新能源视为未来增长的源泉. This activity is concentrated in a number of major cities, led by London, 柏林, 巴黎, 阿姆斯特丹, and Stockholm; but other cities, such as Munich, 都柏林, 华沙, 和里斯本, 也聚集了大量的创业公司,并开始成为规模可观的创业中心.

Most European governments have launched programs designed to help startups grow. While varying from country to country, these typically include tax incentives and some type of investment, usually in the form of small-scale grants and co-investment with private venture firms. 欧洲投资基金(EIF)在欧洲各地分配资金,并与私人风险公司共同投资. In 2014, EIF-backed investments supported 41 percent of total venture activity in Europe, and the share of investment directly attributable to EIF was 10 percent.

Challenges in Europe’s Startup Environment

各国政府和欧盟的这些策略旨在弥补欧洲风险市场的规模不足:而欧洲的天使投资者和风投公司足以支持种子期和非常早期的增长, A轮融资,尤其是B轮融资和后期投资的资金池很浅.

IPO和M&A environment is also weak, 因为欧洲几乎没有能与纳斯达克相提并论的市场,让新兴科技公司能够上市, 超过一半的初创企业收购发生在欧洲以外的公司——主要来自美国. 欧洲初创公司面临的其他融资障碍包括风险公司和大公司的保守文化,它们经常无法利用新兴公司可能提供的增长机会. This situation is changing, particularly in the last three years, 随着越来越多的后期资金可用,越来越多的成功企业家开始成为投资者. But the gap between Europe and the US/Silicon Valley is still large.

The other major challenge that European startups face is lack of market scale, as individual countries lack the scale of the US market, 和文化, 语言和监管障碍阻碍了创业公司在泛欧洲水平上的成长.

This leads large numbers of European startups to come to the Bay Area, often with support from public and private companies, organizations and institutions. When they do this, 许多企业利用了由本国政府和已融入该地区的本国企业提供的深层次基础设施——机构支持. 这座桥, composed of overlapping public and private networks, provides European startups with short-term landing pads and with expertise, 建议, and connections that can help them grow their businesses. Whether that happens at a global scale, in the US or at home, most absorb the Silicon Valley experience, applying its values and insights to their future business strategies.

Connections in the Bay Area

At least 35 European consulates, national technology agencies, and sub-national government organizations operate in the region, all or most with a focus on startups. They are joined by entrepreneurship programs run by European 大学; at least 14 European-sponsored incubators, 加速器, 工作空间, and innovation offices; independent 加速器 where the largest number of international residents are European; and European-affiliated residential facilities specifically designed for startups. 湾区的18家欧洲商业组织在他们的项目中包含了创业支持. 主要的欧洲公司在旧金山湾区有19个企业风险投资部门、47个研究实验室和创新办公室, which have engagement with startups as a core focus.

The Bridge to Silicon Valley

在旧金山湾区工作的来自欧洲各地的企业家——每天都有几百人——有许多共同的目标. One is access to venture capital, particularly at the growth (Series A or B) stage. A second is scaling in the US and global markets. Others come because their business models are built on platforms created by Bay Area companies; many consumer-facing startups work at some point with companies such as Facebook, 推特 and Google. 几乎所有公司都利用了该地区大量经验丰富的营销专家.

The startups that come find a rich supporting environment with deep networks, experienced mentors, and an openness to ideas that is difficult to find at home. They also encounter challenges, not the least of which is the region’s high cost of living—a problem shared with Bay Area residents; housing is a particular problem. They also find a highly competitive environment for engineers, who are expensive, change jobs frequently, and have attractive opportunities with larger, 知名的公司,不知名的其他国家的初创公司很难与之竞争. This situation leads many to do most of their R&D and engineering at home, where quality engineers are available at lower cost.

经常, the startups that gain traction will incorporate in Delaware and establish their headquarters in the Bay Area; others keep their headquarters at home and open a US affiliate. In either case, the pattern that most often emerges reflects a division of labor, where different and complementary tasks are performed in the Bay Area and at home. 通常, the founder and top management move to the Bay Area, with strategy, marketing and in some cases R&D based in the region, and engineering support principally based in Europe, where most employees remain located. 旧金山湾区和本土都受益:旧金山湾区通过公司和人才的注入, and the home country through the increased employment, 收入, 而知名度则来自于拥有一家成功的全球公司,它的竞争力更强,增长速度也比留在国内更快.

Building a Stronger Innovation Bridge

欧洲和美国可以采取一些措施,使这种关系更加牢固. 在欧洲, 拟议中的数字单一市场(旨在整合欧洲的数字服务市场)和拟议中的资本市场联盟(除其他外,旨在降低对资本跨境流动的限制)如果实施得当,可以帮助欧洲初创企业在更大的范围内扩张, more accessible European market. 在这边, Bay Area 加速器 can expand their presence in Europe—a process that is already beginning; venture capital firms can also benefit from a stronger footprint as Europe’s startup environment expands. At the national level, 创建创业签证,帮助其他国家的创业者来美国创建和发展公司,这可能会增加来该地区创业的数量, enable them to stay longer, 并解决一个创业者经常提到的阻碍他们在美国扎根和成长的问题.