The decline of the OLD Silicon Valley
Last week Price Waterhouse Coopers published an earth shattering landmark report about the old Silicon Valley. The Q2–2017 report showed that the highest amount of US Venture Capital went to San Francisco. $15.6 Billion have been invested in what was a sleepy tourist town just 5 years ago: San Francisco. Only $8.9 Billion, almost half, went 40 miles south to the old Silicon Valley. People who live outside California may not see the significance because both is rather close. But living there, you may notice the enormity of that shift
Learning for the rest of the world
Silicon Valley is not a geography — it is a mindset. And a Mindset can move. There is no reason to not create a great mindset actually anywhere in the world. Back in the old days, California wasn’t exactly a high tech epicenter. Companies like Fairchild, Intel, Apple and many others have been built in a rather conservative farm land. NO — there was no spirit of openness, unlimited opportunities, brave high risk venture investment or thinking without limits. It was created by a handful of people who attracted more like minded friends and created a mindset of what then became Silicon Valley.
Theoretically Silicon Valley can be anywhere in the world
If the Silicon Valley spirit can move 40 miles and abandon it’s original place it can go anywhere. It even can be replicated by just a few people who decide to start a place for a new generation of entrepreneurs. San Francisco’s rise was just a few years ago in 2013. I remember being invited to countless pitch events, to mentor or to invest in Startups who popped right and left like mushrooms. We still lived in Palo Alto — but after commuting up and down the Peninsula every day — even we moved up to the City. In no time we built an Accelerator and found out that we had roughly 10,000 startups in San Francisco. Any place in the world is a good place if a few people start to build a new breeding space. However copying what already exist is not exactly an innovative idea. But in many cases a thousand times better than nothing. And nothing is across the world right now. Most countries look for technological innovation. But they really looking for soft improvements. They hate disruption and radical changes. They are not solving gigantic problems but tiny steps which they hope are bringing them forward. And that is what they did for the last 50 years. They look to get a Silicon Valley without even having a faint of an idea what that would mean.
Let’s build an internet search engine that indexes the world’s information. “Oh come on what a crazy plan — never happens” years later: “they have all the information and we can’t do anything”. OR “Let’s build an electric car and the whole charging network with it” — “Stupid, my customers want a Diesel”. And on it goes with hundreds of products and services — of which non was an improvement but a real disruption. It’s all about solving gigantic problems, not finding a next generation improvements — that is left to the rest of the world for now.
And interestingly enough, the live style which turned from hip and sexy to conservative and boring, combined with absurd cost of living, terrible infrastructure and an overly dominating corporate world ruling made the valley soooo not interesting for entrepreneurs that they moved up north.
Let’s go on solving the next gigantic problems
We have about 1 Million startups of which only 10% succeed. In addition we have probably 20 Million new entrepreneurs each year, who would love to create a solution for whatever existing problem but have simply no idea how to get there from a business point of view. Instead of sucking up those brains from all over the world — just to weaken those countries even further, why not building an entrepreneurs space where we educate entrepreneurs from any country? We know how to build a company from scratch with nothing but an idea. When it comes to building a business that creates jobs and adjacent businesses and even a whole economy, we should be able to help those who ask for help. If we could make 50% of the 20 Million entrepreneurs in the future successful to just build 50 employee small/medium business companies, they would create 1 Billion new jobs. And that is exactly what we need to do. And we decided to give it a try. Not in Silicon Valley and not in San Francisco — but in Lucerne Switzerland. We want to see if an amazing spirit can created anywhere in the world.
Why Lucerne of all places? It has a history of very open minded people who can think far beyond the here and now. The Swiss created the best implementation of Democracy and had no issue waiting 100 years to actually make it really work. They drilled an epic hole through the Swiss Alps to get traffic to the other side — 20 years later.
Today we are planning the Lucerne Entrepreneurum to teach entrepreneurs from all over the world with mind boggling ideas, how to make the unthinkable possible.
In the Entrepreneurum, no idea is too bold, no problem too big, no solution too crazy, no project too complex. And when it comes to funding real innovation no country is better than Switzerland, where unbelievable ideas have been funded before.
And last but not least, capital is definitely not the bottleneck. There is more capital available that seeks to be invested than business ideas. But those who turn those business ideas into investable companies need guidance. To support the current 800,000 startups around the world, we would need at least 40,000 entrepreneurs who made it in the past and now give back as mentors. And if you are such an entrepreneur — you are in the driver seat to decide how many new entrepreneurs will make it. You are one of the key creators of the entrepreneurial spirit in your country.