GetYourGuide’s Johannes Reck: European Startups Don’t Need Silicon Valley Anymore

European startups no longer need to head to Silicon Valley to court investors as deal-hungry venture capital funds are heading to the continent, according to Johannes Reck, cofounder and CEO of travel booking platform GetYourGuide

Speaking at the Forbes Under 30 Summit Europe in Berlin, Reck said that Silicon Valley’s unique status as the dominant source of venture capital funding was over. Reck described flying back and forward to the U.S. from Germany in the search for series A funding in 2013 but that’s flipped now.

“U.S. investors are here in Berlin every day… I don’t look very much to Silicon Valley anymore.” In May this year, GetYourGuide raised $484 million in a deal led by Japanese giant SoftBank Investment Advisers. It’s believed that took its valuation to over $1 billion.

Ahead and behind Silicon Valley

Alice Bentinck, cofounder of investment and innovation hub Entrepreneur First, took a balanced view on tapping Silicon Valley for venture capital. “We’re at a very exciting point, but we’re still behind Silicon Valley,” said Bentinck, noting that the Californian tech hub had a 30 or 40-year head start on Europe’s startup scene.

Bentinck, who tapped LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund for Entrepreneur First for investment, said while more capital is flowing into European startups, founders need to look beyond borders to reach bigger markets.

Valentin Stalf, who cofounded challenger bank N26 in 2013, said Europe had made significant strides but Silicon Valley overall had a more mature fintech market despite N26, and its European rivals Monzo and Revolut, emerging as the leading digital banks. Tougher regulations in the European Union were a barrier to fintech startups, according to Stalk.

N26 hit a valuation of $3 billion in July this year, thanks to a $470 million round led by the American venture capital firm Insight Partners. The range of investors in that round was diverse, though, including Tencent Holdings, Allianz X and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.

N26 launched its banking app in the U.S. in July but Bentinck says founders shouldn’t only look west. Asia is an increasingly attractive market, she notes, adding: “Amazing entrepreneurial talent exists all over the world.”

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