I spent all summer in Europe working on various projects. At one point I travelled to 10 countries in three weeks. There is deal activity throughout the region, even in the smaller countries.
It’s easy to think that because the individual markets in Europe are small, they’re less significant. However, small size can sometimes be an advantage. Because they have smaller addressable local markets, smart software companies in Europe take more risk up front, and are more experimental in their approach. This was definitely the case with our client RapidBlue, from Helsinki. They created a valuable retail analytics system for small retailers. They tested all kinds of creative ideas locally, and then took what worked to the continent. Their approach was so innovative and exciting that they were acquired before they generated significant revenue.
Many US firms are taking action on the European opportunity. Several private equity firms that we have worked with in the US for years have opened London offices within the last 6 months.
Finally, European companies are more international than you may expect. So many of them operate with English as their first language, regardless of their home base, that their technology is appealing and easily used in other markets.
We’ve done a lot of business here of late, and we plan to do a lot more, so don’t discount Europe when you’re looking at the market overall.