3 Takeaways from Deloitte’s Fast 500

Nov 28, 2011
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This past week, Deloitte released it’s annual list of the 500 fastest growing EMEA technology companies, and the results are pretty interesting. The most interesting point is probably that Logic Bilisim, the top growing technology company with %28617 gr0wth, is from Turkey. I thought I’d take look at the list and find some takeaways that could be helpful for startups.

More or Best – You Can’t Have Both

For the second year in a row, France ranked in with the most companies per country on the top 500 list; however, you wouldn’t notice that if your eyes drifted too quickly to the top 10 list, where the UK & Ireland took 7 of the top 10 growing technologies companies. This is the first mistake for a startup – thinking about how to be the best. If you look at it statistically, it’s microscopic, the chance that you will be “the best” in any substantial respect – continuing to think in terms of being the top 10 implies you think that you will increase your odds, and that’s just plain hubris. I understand the love of risk – that’s what makes us Pirates – but the “Go Big or Go Home” is not the only way to do a startup.

The Point is: France’s consistent placement (this is the 2nd consecutive year that France has the most companies on the Fast 500 list) shows a great ability, when needed, to keep its head down and reiterate, striving not for the most growth, but more a consistently high level of growth. It is possible to innovate in a space without conquering the world – find the comfortable middle and you fill find an attainable goal worth striving for.

Do What you Know

France hit number 1 in two sectors, BioTech(BioAlliance Pharma # 22) and Media/Entertainment(Concoursmania – #70) – France also took the #3,#9, and #10 slot in BioTech, which explains Strasbourg’s StartupWeekend turnout. Two of France’s top 3 companies by growth, Aquafadas and Ikos Group, are software companies; and while they may have placed 7th and 10th overall in the sector, that shows consistency – after all, France was the only country to have two top 10 software companies.

The point is: I hate to break it to you, France, but not every culture is best suited to innovate in every sector. Perhaps the sectors that France excels in aren’t the most trending, or quickest growing. Not every culture is most suited to do, say, social startups – as it turns out, Californians/Americans are more experienced with being social than the French (*braces for angry comments below*), just like New York startups are more suited for Digital Media startups. London’s top startup, Fixnetix, provides services to Financial traders – no surprise, given their strong finance background. Ask yourself: What does France already do well that it can apply to startups? 

Fast Growth doesn’t come FAST

While SoLoMo might be what’s on the plate for LeWeb, it’s interesting to look at what’s trending in Deloitte’s Fast 500 EMEA companies. Sticking my foot fully in my mouth, I have to admit that the #6 companies, RatedPeople.com, is indeed a “Lo” company – providing certified Local tradesman to those offering work. The fastest growing companies are providing real customers with real needs, and they’re doing it well. I should note that Deloitte’s growth percentage is based on percentage revenue growth over the last five years, meaning that companies have to be in business for a minimum of 5 years in order to meet their eligibility requirements ( 5 years ago?! That’s when Twitter was still being done via text message!)

The point is: keep your head down. These companies are not celebrating press coverage by TechCrunch – in fact, Goal Europe pointed out that the top 3 UK companies on the Deloitte Fast 500 have never been covered by TechCrunchEU. Fast growth rate does not come fast, and we can only begin to discuss the value of a company 5 years after its inception, when it has had time to show whether it will sink or swim.

Be sure to Check out Goal Europe’s take on what the Deloitte Fast 500 means for Central and Eastern European countries, or check out some of our other startup articles:

1. Mathieu Lhoumeau raised $0 Million for Contract Live

2. Smartdate, the French startup everyone is asking questions about

3. How Polaris & Dublin can help European startups get to the US