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Corporate venture BUILDING [0]: the UE strikes-b@ck

Everything is fine, Madame La Marquise

The EU invests in digital technology (e.g. H.2020, one of the largest public funding programs for innovation in the world) and legislates (e.g. Rgpd is a precursor).

But in real life, the EU is losing its sovereignty of thought, operation and even taxation.

It is indeed by the "experience economy" deployed on the mass market (B2C and SME) that the American Tit@ns have established their domination: [Google] search on the internet, [Apple] buy in 1 click, [Facebook] follow your friends, [Apple] be connected to the world, [Microsoft] write, calculate, make presentations.

Et caetera with Netflix, AirBnb, Tesla, Uber, Stripe...

Thus, the EU, the world's leading economic power, finds itself GAFAMed: its data (the black gold of the 21st century) goes to the United States, its citizens only experience the digital world through the United States, its dream of being taken over by a US player, and some of its members appoint Gafam ministers.

R.O.I of EU investment in innovation = under-performance

It is customary to explain this US domination by the EU's lag in terms of overall investment (public + private) in innovation.

However, with a greater market potential than the United States, for an equivalent proportion of investments (2019 data), the EU should generate at minimum:

  • 2 to 6 Tit@ns : EU 0

  • 36 to 127 Unicorns: EU 23.

Thus, since the EU/US situation is always observed in absolute terms, the gap makes it possible to call for more investment.

But the relative analysis (which should be refined) shows a real under-performance of EU investment.

"Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is blindness". Would Einstein continue to add money (volume) if he did not know how to optimize the money already invested to date (relative)?

Money is necessary, but, while it is the main focus, it is not the only key cause.

The EU, the world's largest market: between theory and operational reality

Beyond the money invested, the US Tit@ans become Winner Takes All, notably thanks to their initial playing field.

Their operationally unified market allows them to rapidly acquire a critical size; this is a key lever in mass markets (B2C and SME).

In theory, the EU also offers critical size. In practice, the fragmentation of its market means that deploying in Europe is much slower and more expensive than in the US.

To compete on a level playing field with the US & China, EU therefore need intra-continental operational acceleration.

"It's structural. Just like the mountains used to separate countries."

"Yes, but have you heard of tunnels?".

The EU must not allow itself to consider this as a structural weakness by only providing more money and legislative responses with limited or long-term operational impact.

There is indeed a need to "think different": revisit the operational core of the problem.

How can we help an entrepreneur to deploy his offer very early & efficiently in several European countries? What examples can we draw on?

Two lines of thought:

  • Amadeus: a European "Start.up" of the 90's whose history is rich in lessons (and which could be reproduced with Software Republic, Free-Now and Share-Now): 4 corporates teamed to create a startup. In 3 years it became a European leader and in 4 a worldwide leader. elle est devenue leader en Europe et en 4 ans parmi les leaders mondiaux. This is a key example of success achieved via Corporate Venture Building.

  • All the international Corporates-MidCaps-SME : their subsidiaries are finally like a simili-market EU operationally unified. If they massively adop

Corporate Venture Building could therefore be a key success factors for European startups to fight with the same weapons than their US and Chinese counterparts.


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