Will Europe ever understand “startups”?

Just reading an article in Wired magazine from December last year where they write about the stock option and tax situation in Europe that is totally unfavourable. Also Index Ventures – one of the most successful venture capitalists based in Swiss Geneva – initiated a lobbying effort in January this year. I have not heard anything since then. I guess it landed in a large inbox somewhere in the EU and some countries economic ministries maybe never being allocated any time slot?

To me, a startup without stock options as I experienced it in the US is NOT a startup. They are early stage high-tech companies and many are onto something big but a startup hands out stock options for two reason only: attract and keep the best talent and most importantly make them co-owners and by doing so motivate them to the max. This will guarantee that they outperform any corporate innovation activities by any measure: being much faster, better and being able to do it at all. It is human nature to take care of your “own baby” much more than someone’s else. A mother will kill for her baby. If you have stock options you will not kill maybe but for sure you will go the extra mile and that will make the difference needed. To think one can beat nature, well, good luck…

 Index Ventures, is leading a lobbying effort to persuade European governments to make it easier for home-grown startups to reward their employees with stock options and – hopefully one day – grow into European tech giants.


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