Tuukka Ylälahti

CEO, Founder Mesensei Oy

The European Startup Journey — Is it a thing, should it be a thing?

Reading a wrong map gives it’s reader a false sense of orientation. To illustrate: Don’t navigate a yacht departing from Helsinki by reading the San Francisco Bay navigational chart —or risk hitting the rocks at your own peril.

That much is obvious. However, it is less obvious if it makes sense to plot startup strategies based on the roadmaps of the Silicon Valley?

Emulating Silicon Valley is not the 0nly way “to startup”.

You know the story: from a garage to a global giant. A young pioneer works day and night. Gets some traction to make an amazing pitch presentation and *boom* scores a 20 million investment, leading to millions of customers and a billion dollar valuation.

What if the narrative of the “startup journey” itself is “as American as apple pie” and it has colonialised the very meaning of launching a venture, building a success and how it is supposed to be done. Is the Silicon Valley narrative on how to do startups helping or hurting to build financially successful ventures and happy founders in the European setting?

Helsinki is not the Silicon Valley. Its different. Our journeys and our destinations can also be different. Emulating Silicon Valley is not the only way “to startup”. New voices are emerging. New narratives created.

Angela Merkel recently stated that the destiny of our continent is in our own hands. While Trump is arguing for building a wall, Emmanuel Macron invites the climate scientist to come to France.

If the destination changes a new map for the journey is needed. Too bad that at least my European Startup Journey map is mostly blank. That tickles the explorer in me to plot a course to destinations like Paris, Munich, Flanders and Lausanne just to map out the journey and have a new story to tell.

The destiny of our continent is in our own hands – also in the startup world.

Personal musings is one thing, but finding resonance is usually a signal. It begs the question: is the European Startup Journey a thing? Can it be conceptualised, articulated and ultimately designed to make it *more* of thing for the next decade?


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