Experts' Insights 06.Dezember.2017


In the course of the first Euregio Startup Festival on 24 NOV, Tal Catran and Cathy White shared their knowledge about startup ecosystems with us. Here the interviews to read:


Cathy White


What do start-ups need to start up and to grow?

A smart team of co-founders, ideally industry experts, all of whom need to be hungry to succeed, you will also want to find some capital in order to support you – so turn to the investment community. Working with the startup community is one of the strongest things you can do: finding like-minded people through co-working spaces or becoming a part of an accelerator or incubator; finding other people who are building businesses can be one of the strongest assets to you in those early stages. And of course: a strong idea with a market opportunity is key.


What’s the start-up scene in London like?

The London start-up scene has been growing and growing and there are numerous reasons for that: One of the key benefits of London is that there is a multitude of different Universities there. You have an academic base with a lot of very smart graduates and experts, and they are being supported by an increase of investors, an increasing community and ecosystem, with co-working spaces, accelerators and incubators, and they are also supported by multiple industries that are based in the capital. London benefits from easy access to the financial sector, to the arts and creative industries, advertising, music, anything you can think of. What is key in the growth is being able to make sure that all of these different parts come together and work together. And once you get to that point, ultimately government becomes involved, putting even more capital there in order to support start-ups and entrepreneurs.


Why are events like the Euregio-Startup Festival important for the start-up scene?

This is a great example of a community coming together in order to build something really special. You’re going to see a room which is filled with start-ups, aspiring founders, investors, people from academia. And the fact that they are all here, all engaging, you’re watching people actually build networks, that can really have an impact on the company they decide to build or the company they’ve already built. That’s why the festival here is very important.


Tal Catran

What’s the start-up scene in Israel like?

The start-up ecosystem in Israel is very advanced and referred to as the Start-up Nation, because it has the largest number of start-ups per capita, currently about 6,000 start-ups. Our ecosystem supporting the start-ups has many mentors, investors, vc’s. Whatever a start-up needs to establish itself and grow, Israel has it. Here it’s a bit different. It’s a bit smaller in comparison, but with a lot of motivation and professionals. Still, I see a need for hand holding and guidance like is seen in other countries. The ability to innovate is apparent, and the support is needed more towards monitization and commercialization.


Your good advice for start-ups?

Start-ups first of all need a good idea, something what you call a need shared by many. Second, they need a business model. How are you gonna earn your money. Then they need support. specifically funding and a team. Without a real need, a business model, a team and a technology, you ain’t going nowhere. To support a start-up, you need the mentorship, acceleration for instance, incubators, and of course the government. When investors are shy to invest because they want more stability in the product, they want some incomes, some customers, and they will not invest in the early stages, this is when the government comes in. Government has the possibility to invest large amounts of money. Still, we are talking about the tax payers’ money, so government of course will have to explain to it’s people why it’s going to invest in which start-up. Furthermore, government will try to make sure that the people who get the money know what to do with it, know how to handle the money, how to develop a technology, how to become a business. For this, we need the academia to train people. Teaching them entrepreneurship as a part of their studies is necessary and the also to consult and have talks with the industry, just to make sure that they are aligned. Academia is the man power provider for the industry. The industry is as good as your academia. It’s a tie, a link between them. They need to talk and to cooperate.


What drives successful entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs are a special breed. As an entrepreneur, you don’t wait until someone else solves a problem or satisfies customers’ demands and needs. Instead of complaining about a problem or a need, you motivate yourself and go for the solution. And you got to give your very best. At this moment, 20 other people might have just the same idea that you have. So, don’t waste your time or other’s time. Go for it, network and talk to people, push your idea, help others and make them help you and cooperate with you. people love to help people who ask for help. Especially, ask other start-ups you know to help you. You will both learn from each other and progress with your own start-up. The collaboration between start-ups is essential, because it pushes everyone involved. Cooperation is what separates early stage start-ups from companies: start-ups will always help one another, while companies compete. And then again: as a start-up, don’t ask an investor for money. Convince them with your team and your technology and with your ability to monetize what you are doing. Machine and technology don’t raise money, people do. Therefore, you yourself need to be convinced of your business idea and our business model. How could you convince an investor if you yourself doubt what you are doing?