If you’re an entrepreneur, you obviously want to be in Silicon Valley, right? Or maybe New York is a viable option now. Those are the two choices. But if Danny Rimer’s experience tells us anything, there is option number three: London. Rimer is a general partner at index Ventures, which runs an office out of London.
“The UK is this turbocharged microcosm of the US. And London is the UK,” said Rimer, during a fireside chat with Sarah Lacy in San Francisco.
Lacy pointed to a companies like Uber and Hotel Tonight, who have had designs on Europe, even before launching in a handful of cities in the United States. Rimer chalks it up to how globalized the world has become, but the United Kingdom also has a particularly helpful quirk: The UK is the country with the highest percentage of GDP made online. “Certain cities are a microcosm of growth. You want to own them,” Rimer said.
“London is one of the most competitive markets [Uber founder Travis Kalanick] will go after,” said Rimer. “But it will be the most lucrative.”
But even before expanding past the United States, there’s a case to be made for thinking of life outside of Silicon Valley and San Francisco early on. “Everything in San Francisco is on steroids,” he said. There are things that work in San Francisco and New York that don’t translate elsewhere. And while San Francisco is a good litmus test, he says, an entrepreneur has to think about how the business will work elsewhere.
But it’s a fine line, he says. “You want focus on one place until you have true convictions that the model works.”
So why aren’t there more billion dollar companies that come out of Europe? When asked, Rimer is coy, fearing he’ll give away the secret sauce. While he advocates for the value of Europe as a market, he does enjoy the fact that there is less competition. “We like the fact that folks don’t see Europe as anything other than a museum,” said Rimer.