“To defend its industry and its innovations, Europe is active, but this is not visible in the field of technologies”

Tribune. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a massive digital transformation, the value of American tech companies has exceeded that of the entire European stock market. A striking revelation, certainly, but not surprising. For several years, Europe fell behind in the creation of new services and the rare successes were immediately sold to American or Asian competition.

Although the Web was designed in Europe, its growth has been fueled by American and Asian innovations. Why ?

Several aspects are at stake, the fragmentation of markets and the multiplicity of languages ​​represent a disadvantage for us! Two major advantages on the American side: large investors and the absence of regulation.

In the cybersecurity sector, American companies have the advantage of being able to count on a first large customer, with deep pockets and keen on cutting-edge defensive technologies: the defense arm of the federal government. The latter regularly acquires new innovations while they are still just ideas on PowerPoint.

Feel confident

By relying on that early customer, they can take their ideas from being a promise to a real product. Conversely, European defense units and cybersecurity centers are smaller. Rather than investing in ideas, these entities prefer to pay for tested and proven solutions.

The same is true in the technology sector at large. Young American companies have access to a thriving venture capital industry, which eclipses that of Europe. In the United States, when start-up founders look for funds, they find American investors eager to get their hands on the next big idea to support.

Read the op-ed: Investment agreement: “For the EU, the most serious danger is that the ‘good’ European model will be replaced by the ‘bad’ Chinese model”

As Europeans we have something to learn from our American friends. If we are to progress in the technology sector, we must realize that, in order to innovate, the entrepreneur needs to feel confident when investing in his product idea.

In the technology market, our American and Asian competitors are also benefiting from more flexible privacy legislation. Imagine that Facebook or Alexa [assistant vocal d’Amazon] were launched by a European company: regulators would probably have inspected these ideas from top to bottom, until nipping them in the bud.

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