Je ne sais quoi: Craig Blair of AirTree Ventures on what the Australian startup scene could learn from Europe

Having spent 10 years living in Europe in the 90s, Craig Blair, co-founder and managing partner of AirTree Ventures, has recently been back to check out the developments in the startup scene.

London and Paris undoubtedly have older, more mature startup communities — so what can Australians, whether they’re in the VC space, the government or starting up themselves, learn from their peers on the other side of the world? And what, if anything, could they learn from us?

Actively championing tech

One of the biggest differences between the European and Australian startup spaces is in the governments’ approaches to technology disruption, with European leaders more inclined to embrace change.

In France, for example, President Emmanuel Macron recently held a technology lunch, hosting representatives from the likes of Google, Uber and Microsoft, to consider how the government can work with global tech platforms.

“They’re actively championing startups and technology investors,” Blair says.

The French government also recently pledged €1.5 billion to artificial intelligence by 2022. In contrast, the $30 million set aside by the Australian federal government in this year’s budget “looks pathetic”, he says.

Investment into technology sets a scene, Blair says, and shows a recognition that “technology will underpin the future prosperity of the country”. Read more

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien - SmartCompany - 17 August 2018

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