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How can Europe take on Silicon Valley?

Boardwave Founder, Phill Robinson sat down with Boardwave Committee Member, Martin Ward to discuss building a united and more successful European software industry for the latest episode of the Waypointers podcast.

The episode, which is the second in a new series of industry-focused podcasts from Boardwave Sponsor, Waypoint Partners, is an in-depth analysis of the differences between the software sectors in Europe and Silicon Valley. Given the close geographic proximity of businesses in the latter, Silicon Valley has historically benefitted from a much greater ability to collaborate and share knowledge than in the more fragmented European market.

Through his work with tech leaders Oracle and Salesforce, as well as Exact, the largest software company in Benelux, Phill is uniquely positioned to compare the two industries. The Waypointers podcast episode details why Phill founded Boardwave in April 2022 to “give something back to the European software industry” after a distinguished career on both sides of the Atlantic.

The episode is hosted by Martin Ward, Partner and Head of Tech Growth at Waypoint Partners, and a Committee Member of Boardwave. The podcast is part of a wider series in which the Waypoint team share their growth advisory and corporate finance expertise.

Martin believes that “the technology industry is understandably highly competitive, but that doesn’t mean it won’t benefit from collaboration amongst these competitors – especially when it comes to supporting young tech leaders and emerging businesses. Tech and software are already significant contributors to the European economy, but their potential remains under-valued. By nurturing the next generation, we can unleash that unrealised value and develop positive leadership for the sector.”

In the episode, Phill quickly dispels the theory that the European software industry doesn’t have the capital access to truly compete with the US. He argues that: “there's lots of money sitting on the sidelines waiting to invest in really good, successful software businesses in Europe.” He attributes greater success in Silicon Valley to a stronger sense of community.

For Phill, Europe has “just as much expertise, wisdom and knowledge over the last 20 or 30 years [as the US, with various] companies scattered around the place - but it's fragmented and isolated.”

In comparison, Silicon Valley is, “40 miles long and a small piece of land. Everybody knows each other, their kids go to the same schools, and they generally have a community. People are inclined to help each other and support one another with new ideas.”

While some aspects of the European software industry can’t be changed, such as geography and language, Phill outlines why he created the Boardwave platform to facilitate networking, knowledge sharing and interaction between companies at different stages of growth to bring greater collaboration across the continent.

“Boardwave is an attempt to create a community in Europe that behaves the same way Silicon Valley does, by removing distance, culture and language. Removing these barriers, so that we can all share best practice ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and mentor one another - to build more successful global leading software companies.”

You can listen to further Waypointers episodes, here.


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