We hosted Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg for a fireside chat at our headquarters in Mountain View, California. Jeannette is the Founding Partner of La Famiglia, a Berlin-based venture capital fund that invests in early-stage tech companies that enable or disrupt large sector industries.
Here are five takeaways from the discussion:
1. Go where you can make a dent in the universe.
“If you look at the most outstanding companies, they keep pushing the horizon. They keep pushing the frontier and redefining industries, not just growing and capturing industries. It always comes down to founders willing the future into being. And to create long-lasting impact, change things for the better and then executing on it. One key element that I believe is underappreciated in all of this is great storytelling. Storytelling and narration is key for all stakeholders. It’s key for employees, it’s key for customers. It’s key for literally everyone you’re interacting with because what you’re ultimately articulating is a path to the future.”
2. European companies think trans-generational.
“European entrepreneurs think trans-generational. When they build companies, they build them for the next generations to come, compounding value for the long term. I think here, it’s a lot more focused on ‘get the muscle, make it big, sell, build something else.’ It’s a different mindset.”
3. Starting companies in Europe requires more muscle.
“If you’re thinking about starting a company in Europe, you need more muscle to tie the ecosystem together. Europe has a distributed talent base across many cities and universities. Compared to the U.S., where you have talent clusters like Silicon Valley, this lower degree of concentration of talent creates a higher bar for creating a densely interconnected ecosystem. But once the distributed networks interconnect, it allows strong growth and unleashes a high degree of creativity. That needs muscle, network-building capabilities, and perseverance.”
4. Technology will give Europe a seat at the table and leverage Europe’s unique strengths.
“What I want for Europe is to have a seat at the table and to start pushing the envelope again. Right now, we’re stuck in the middle between the U.S. and China and are somehow trying to hold ground. Technology will play a very important role in changing that. It is our goal to drive the integration of technology into all sectors of our economy and to shape sustainable positive change that leverages Europe’s unique strengths.”
5. AI talent is coming back to Europe.
“Europe has always had very strong research labs. There’s a lot of core artificial intelligence (AI) talent and research coming out of Germany and France. However, a significant portion of this talent has so far been lured away by major U.S. technology companies. Most of them moved to the U.S. and contributed value there. What excites me is that we are now seeing a lot of talent returning to Europe. While the epicenter for the commercialization of AI is likely still located in the U.S., we are seeing a growing trend of talent coming back to Europe, also because they are eager to build towards European sovereignty and resilience.”
Stay tuned for more insights from future guests of our fireside chat series, and head to our careers page to learn more about life at Applied.