The European tech industry has historically struggled to produce a Silicon Valley-style tech giant, but some entrepreneurs believe that artificial intelligence (AI) could level the playing field and give Europe a chance to create its own Google or Apple.
Arthur Mensch, CEO of Mistral, a French startup that develops large language models, believes that AI technology, such as ChatGPT, could provide a new wave of fast-moving startups in Europe. He argues that the availability of new tools like large language models gives new players an advantage because they can rebuild everything around them quickly.
Gabriel Hubert, founder of Dust, a Paris-based startup that builds AI-powered assistants for companies, points out that many European startups now have former operators from US tech companies in leadership positions. This transatlantic return wave brings valuable experience and knowledge from the US tech sector.
Despite Europe’s skilled workforce, academic talent, and the opportunities offered by the single market, the region has underperformed in the tech industry. There is no European equivalent to tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft. The strength of the US tech sector at the turn of the millennium, along with Europe’s comparative weakness back then, is cited as one reason for the disparity.
The US had a tight-knit community of engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, and investment firms, particularly in California, which helped identify and build business opportunities quickly in a massive market. The availability of US-based venture capital funds also played a significant role in the success of companies like Facebook and Twitter.
To compete with Silicon Valley, European startups need better support systems, including access to a large domestic market and readily available finance. Governments and organizations like La Mission French Tech are working to address these weaknesses and support European startups in the tech industry.
In conclusion, AI technology has the potential to level the playing field for European startups and give them a chance to create their own tech behemoths. With the right support systems and access to resources, Europe could produce its own Google or Apple in the future.