Lunch with the FT interviews Niklas Zennström

Sifted’s John Thornhill has lunch with Skype and Atomcio founder Niklas Zennström. Good conversation about technology, venture capital and Europe.

One highlight is that Skype alumni has created 910 companies including 15 unicorns. I think this mafia/alumni effect is one of the most important for the development of a startup ecosystem over 10-20 years after a major exit.

”In Silicon Valley, he says, they talk about the “PayPal mafia”, the founders and early employees of the payments company, including Elon Musk, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel, who went on to found or run other successful companies, such as Tesla, LinkedIn and Palantir. Zennström says a similarly dynamic network effect is developing in Europe, even if he does not like the word “mafia”. Former employees of Skype have founded 910 companies including 15 unicorns, or start-ups valued at more than $1bn. In total, he says, the European tech ecosystem is worth about $3tn (roughly the same as Apple’s market valuation on a good trading day).”

Author: Henrik Torstensson

Partner at Alliance VC. Investing in Nordic early-stage tech startups.

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