In a discussion on TechCrunch about where Europe’s own Silicon Valley would emerge, some interesting suggestions were made (warning: many links to specific comments follow). From Moscow to Lisbon and from Estonia to London.
The latter was the most mentioned location, followed by Finland and Switzerland. Finland has an USP that is their biggest pro and con at the same time: Nokia. On the one hand, it’s THE European tech company, on the other: it sucks up all the talent.
Switzerland would be a fair option, since it’s an innovative country and home of some important venture capitalists like Index Ventures. Yet a new development makes the question even more complicated: Nokia has just announced that it would establish a research center in Lausanne. It will be a joint lab with two Swiss federal institutes of technology. It will open its doors in June.
According to All About Symbian, the research agenda will focus on persuasive communications:
- Exploring new interaction experiences and technologies utilizing all the human senses;
- Services and applications based on the user’s context, such as location, and personal preferences, e.g.,
information provided by sensors within a mobile device or in the surrounding world;
- Internet services and technologies – enriching the Internet experience on mobile devices.
Nokia’s Chief Technology Officer Bob Iannucci said to Reuters that Nokia ‘sees the fusing of the digital and physical worlds as a key objective in mobility.’
So, will this cause some sort of local brain drain? Kai Lemmetty from Floobs told me during The Next Conference that this is the case in Finland. Nokia just picks out the talent and makes them an offer they can’t refuse. As you can imagine, this is deadly for local start-up action. And a good start-up atmosphere is one of the most important conditions for a Silicon Valley-like area. So all you European start-up experts, please lend me your thought on this matter.