Predictions for European tech in 2018 from report author, Tom Wehmeier

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Prediction #1

Founders will come to see regulation as a source of potential competitive advantage

The 'move fast and break things' mentality has never sat well with heavily-regulated markets. As founders realise that they can gain an advantage through regulatory compliance, it will go from being seen as a perceived handcuff to being a potential source of competitive advantage. Think of Natural Cycles, Kry or Babylon in the healthcare market. They are all early examples of companies that have embarked upon - and come out of the other side of - lengthy regulatory approval processes to gain an an advantage on their competitors.

Prediction #2

A venture-backed European tech startup will exit for a $B+ to a traditional non-tech European giant

Non-tech European corporates have already made billion-dollar tech acquisitions (Anglo-Dutch Unilever picked up Dollar Shave Club), but acquisitions within Europe have typically been in the hundreds of millions (for example, BNP Paribas and Compte Nickel). This will change in 2018 as European non-tech corporates put some of their combined $1.5 trillion cash holdings to work. 

Prediction #3

European founders will increase efforts to tap engineering talent pools outside of traditional hubs

The battle for talent in Europe is intensifying. Not only are there more venture-backed startups that are better funded and hungrier for engineering talent than ever, but global tech giants are also expanding aggressively in the region with inflated salaries on offer for the most talented. At the same time, European corporates are fighting back, ensuring talent flows are not a one-way street into tech. In order to stay competitive in this context, European founders will look for creative ways to best exploit the untapped engineering talent pools in less obvious places. For example, we expect to see more satellite offices opening up across the region in upcoming hubs. 

Prediction #4

A top tier, established European VC will participate in a token offering/ICO

In 2017, top tier US funds (including Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures) actively invested directly in tokens via Initial Coin Offerings. They were joined by some of Europe's newest funds, such as Blueyard. But the region's most established funds have yet to participate. This will change in 2018.