29 Apr Perspectives: What is your vision for European Tech in 2021? #8
I had the pleasure to interview Michael Schumacher CEO at Econio and a member of the European Champions Alliance, we discussed the issues of European tech in 2021. I recommend you sincerely to read his interesting perspective.
Emma Neige – Strategic Partnerships and Communication at the ECA
What is your vision for European tech in 2021?
You have to split it, the vision for tech and the vision for European tech.
For tech, we will see new business models for blockchain technology in 2021, there will be a strong disruption in some business industries. It will not be applicable to any business model, but we see especially in finance, legal, and an increasing value for content creators selling digital pieces of art through NFT’s.
In terms of European tech, I hope there will be more collaboration. At the moment it is still very fragmented due to national barriers. That is the part where the ECA comes in supporting European players to compete with Chinese and US companies.
How does Europe stand out in the domain?
We’re quite leading in Aerospace, Toulouse and Munich are important ecosystems in this field. Compared to international standards we have a good education system, even when there is still a lot to improve. The problem here is, that we’re losing smart talents for example to companies from the Silicon Valley. Technology is the future, we have to look at the fragmented markets and the missing link is the connection. Each European country stands out each for its own itself, but collaboration is important to tackle this flaw.
With the fastly growing digitization in 2020 due to the confinement policies, do you think European companies are jumping on the occasion?
There are companies that are seizing the opportunity, the coronavirus did kind of a push to digitization. Large enterprises sometimes did not have the hardware to switch their way of working to online – they had to catch up very fast. Companies have to do the switch anyways and the ones that delayed the process had to do it urgently when we had the lockdown. In my opinion, it was an overdue investment, but it can be the foundation for future growth and improved processes.
Who are, according to you, the main actors in European tech? Is there a collaboration between them?
Look at Netflix, Apple, Google, there is no such European company that can compete with them right now. I don’t see a big player which is European, which is one of the main problems. Celonis, Personio, and Blablacar are some of the rising stars – all of them are young companies and still have to prove their success on an international level. For a German start-up for example it is still a huge step to go to the French market language-wise, but also for finance, tax, and legal issues you need to have a corresponding setup. The ECA is one important step to collaborate and to connect the right people to scale their businesses.
Do your predictions lean towards an acceleration of this collaboration?
One key factor is the regulation from the European Union. There are so many different opinions you have to connect.
We need to have this joint effort and must put country-specific needs behind us. What’s happening if we don’t, we’ve seen with the COVID-19 vaccine procurement. You will always have the regulations. Working from home makes it easier for us and having the ability to optimize our work environment but it does not change the boundaries. The key is people and we need to lead by example and create facts.
What are, according to you, the domains that will thrive and stand out in the near future?
I see at the moment two main domains, where a lot is going to happen: Tech (Blockchain, Education, Space, AI, etc.) and Healthcare (Biotech, Pharma, etc.). Large improvements will be seen by automation of processes, machine learning and in the future also AI. We will get rid of all the annoying manual processes in administration and are able to focus on the relevant topics – that is my drive.