French and German Entrepreneurs: Time to Go Global

Dec 8, 2011
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Guest Post: Thomas is the founder of EU-Startups.com, a blog that covers Internet and Mobile startups out of Europe. EU-Startups also has bloggers in Spain, Ireland and the UK. The vision behind EU-Startups.com is it to connect the European startup scene and to encourage entrepreneurship within Europe.

Since France and Germany are the two largest non-English speaking markets  inside of the European Union, many French and German Internet entrepreneurs are still focusing on their home markets instead of thinking global. Sure, there are some obvious advantages related to the home market:

  • You may have a better understanding of the market and your potential customers
  • You don’t have to work on your english skills
  • You are more familiar with the laws of your home country
  • The French and German market is big enough to establish a nice and profitable Internet company

Entrepreneurs out of smaller EU-countries tend to concentrate more often on english speaking markets – mostly because they have to. Some might say this is a disadvantage of starting a company out of a small country. I would say it just simplifies the decision to concentrate on international markets and leads to huge oportunities.

Why should also French and German entrepreneurs think global?

Here are some basic pros:

  • Your startup will be recognized much easier by international media
  • You’ll have greater chances to attract international investors
  • It will be a lot easer for you to attract international talent
  • You’ll be able to reach a much bigger market

Let’s face it, the internet brought people from all over the world closer together. You might be based in a small village in the south of France, but at any given time you can chat with someone from Japan, exchange e-mails with your friends in the U.S. or buy goods and services from all over the world right from your computer. So why would you want to miss this opportunity?

Global will win.

It will be the global companys that rule the Internet (well, they already do). Just look at Facebook, which basically replaces all national communities. Or think of Amazon, which is leading the online retail market in many countries.  If you create just a French or German startup, you might be able establish a nice business. But you will never reach international attention until you start hitting really big numbers or get bought by an international player.

So why would you want to wait before a big U.S. company tries to get you out of your own local market? Let’s intead try to enter international markets and create strong and leading European companies. Especially France and Germany has a huge talent pool and lots of creative people. I guess If more talented Europeans would try to create global companies instead of focusing on their home markets, chances would be great that the next Facebook or Google would be headquartered in Paris or Berlin.

Some startups are ALREADY doing this!

Fortunately, there are already a bunch of promising French and German startups out there targeting a global market. Below you’ll find three examples of great German startups that are doing it the international way:

  1. With more than 120 employees from 20 countries, Wooga’s international team creates games that excite more than 32 million active players every month. This makes Wooga Europe’s largest social games developer and #3 in the world.
  2. SponsorPay is the leading global cross-platform advertising solution for the monetization of premium content and virtual currency. Since its foundation in 2009, the young company has already reached over 120 million customers across more than 100 countries. SponsorPay is headquartered in Berlin with offices in Paris, San Francisco, London and Tokyo.
  3. With 120,000 designers, 1.5 million registered users and a web presence in German, French and English, DaWanda is already the European market leader within its segment. The Berlin based company has just raised 4 million Euros in the latest round of financing. One of the most strategically significant countries for DaWanda is France, which is now being addressed as a priority. In addition to the headquarter in Berlin, offices in France (Paris) and other European countries will now be opened in the near future.

Check out some of our other posts!

  1. Actually, maybe you shouldn’t speak English in your startup…
  2. Startup Trends according to the 16 LeWeb Finalists 
  3. I’m sorry, did you think French companies don’t acquire?