Today Tech.eu celebrates a decade of chronicling the development of the European tech community. In so much, I thought it most appropriate, and time-saving for me, to finally put down in words the answers and stories to the questions I'm most often asked about Tech.eu.
So, here we go.
In the middle of the summer of 2013, I found myself in the Croatian port city Rijeka, sat down for breakfast in a rather posh coastal hotel. I felt slightly grouchy, having just been let go over the phone from my job as European Editor of The Next Web, which I was due to speak on behalf of that afternoon at a startup conference.
I vented to the only person I knew who was also up early, my friend Alex Barrera, and started lamenting that my now ex-employer TNW (a publication I still hold in high regard, I should note) never really listened to my plea to pay more heed to the burgeoning European tech ecosystems, and that the ‘local’ startup scene really deserved that attention.
To my surprise, Alex told me he and a number of other people had a similar idea of starting a publication dedicated to the fledgling European tech and startup communities and the promising new generation of entrepreneurs and companies that were beginning to emerge.
On the plane back from Zagreb to Brussels, I remember thinking fate works in mysterious ways, and started hashing out a plan to join the new venture rather than look for a new writing job at another publication or strike out entirely on my own.
The details would take too long, but I ended up banding together with a great group of people to kickstart what became Tech.eu (a domain name I had purchased for an undisclosed amount of course, on a whim earlier that year) in the weeks that followed.
Unlike my dear co-founders, I decided to make the jump and see what we could build if I actually focused on it full-time (and then some).
The early days
We incorporated in October 2013, but you are reading this 10-year anniversary post on 29 November because that’s the day our first article went live.
About half a year later, we closed a €150,000 Seed round of funding, which was the only investment we ever took, and started building.
It's hard to tell from the picture below, taken at the How To Web conference in Romania back in 2013, but it reads "There are many stories left to be told ..." - true words then and now.
Then came the milestones: our first hires, opening up for business and our first partnerships, our first anniversary, our first job board, our first (and only) co-published book on ‘The European Startup Revolution’, our first market intelligence report, our first online database on all things European tech (should have definitely explored that more deeply), our first podcast, our first re-design (should have definitely done more of those), and a whole lotta other things that are just too numerous to list.
A lot of ‘firsts’, and all that before two years had passed since our incorporation. Good times.
With so many more details about the later years of Tech.eu, we'd both be here all day if I were to list them all.
But so it was: more hires, more partnerships, (so, so, so many), more trips and events and meetups and workshops and panels, (maybe too many), more articles and reports and interviews and op-eds, more podcasts, (so many, many podcasts) more startup pitches, and generally more of everything.
More of a lot of things, and less pushback from people on the need to pay more attention to Europe's innovation ecosystems.
With the benefit of hindsight, it's perhaps easy to dismiss the initial idea behind Tech.eu.
We launched in a time that was — for the most part — pre-European tech scaleups and unicorns.
A time when the investment community and the availability of private capital were terribly lacklustre, especially compared to the US. Silicon Valley was the undisputed king of the innovation hill, and in certain circles (ahem, politicians) the word ‘startup’ was still downright exotic.
But we would always hear that we had great examples and role models in Europe as well — if only the rest of the world would listen.
Talk is cheap, and so stepped up to the challenge. We created Tech.eu to offer a window to this part of the world, for anyone to learn about and from if they chose to.
Growing up with European tech
Looking back at our kick-off article, the excerpt reads:
“We believe there’s an unmet need for in-depth coverage of Europe’s technology industry and its many triumphs and tribulations. We're going to make an earnest effort to fill that gap with amazing content.”
A decade later, that belief turned out to be factual, and our efforts to create amazing content were plentiful.
There were many ups and downs along the way, but I think we can safely say we grew up alongside the European tech community and played a positive part in its development from the sidelines as chroniclers.
It’s not a coincidence that the effort started around the same time as Tech.eu, and what a wonderful job they and their partners have done in tracking the ongoing rise of European tech alongside us.
Evidently, I would urge you to read the report in full, but here’s my main takeaway:
European Tech still has a long way to go to fulfil its vast potential, but it's come a bafflingly long way since we started Tech.eu a decade ago, and it is inevitably going to keep growing for many years to come.
Told you so.
To conclude this long-winded article, and keeping in mind it’s not a goodbye post, what I will always remember about the decade behind us is the incredibly amazing people I’ve had the good fortune of building Tech.eu with.
From the interns to the executives, the writing and research team, the customers and partners, the subscribers, everyone who came to our events and read our content, and many more I've crossed paths with in the past decade of Tech.eu: a heartfelt thank you on our 10-year anniversary.
Here’s to many more.
Now get back to work.