There's a reason that so much good stuff comes out of Silicon Valley. It's down to the benefits of clustering. People with good ideas come together. They meet in the bars and the cafés in Palo Alto, and they talk. They get feedback from other smart, passionate people. They team up. New concepts spread. People are having fun and they're also getting better. That's how things should work. Scientists have even managed to measure the growth in innovation as a city becomes denser and more connected.
But here's the thing: Not everyone lives in a cluster. There are plenty of smart people with good tech ideas outside Silicon Valley. And people who do live in clusters are also prone to groupthink. Great minds might be great, but put them together and they often think alike.
That's why I was so glad to attend the Global Ventures Summit in Luxembourg recently. It was organized by Parkpine Capital, a venture capital fund that focuses on entrepreneurs around the world and which funds the Silicon Valley Institute of Technology. The event featured people such as Alex Estevez from Accel Partners and Vikram Sasi of the Will Smith Funds (Dreamers VC).
The summit aims to create connections between influencers in startup clusters across the world. It helps to bring venture capital professionals to entrepreneurs and ensure that funding flows to the people who deserve it most wherever they are--even if they don't have access to a garage in the Bay Area.
I had a great time. I heard some amazing talks, met some really smart people, and watched entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to venture capitalists from Silicon Valley who were looking for promising places to put their money.
I don't know how many of the people I saw pitching in the reception areas and sitting at the bars will take those VCs' money and create something that changes our lives. But I do know that some entrepreneurs there were roaring ahead, especially in the cryptocurrency space. For example, VNX Exchange, which is a Luxembourg asset-backed token issuance and trading platform, announced the launch of its platform and the first offering of asset-based tokens on the first day of the summit. The company also announced an offering linked to investments in Streami, a Korean crypto company. Ahmed Shabana, GVS co-founder, said GVS helped close over $25 million for nine companies during the summit.
One of the great things about technology today is the way that it's closed distances. I can put on a live video and speak to people in real time while they sit in their homes in Seattle, Singapore, and Sierra Leone. Everyone watching the video shares an interest, whether I'm talking about cryptocurrencies or social media or where I think technology is taking us. Or what I had for breakfast. We might be in the different places, but we're all thinking about the same thing.
Great ideas are everywhere. They don't depend on where someone lives. An entrepreneur in Luxembourg is just as likely to think up a world-changing idea as a dreamer in Lisbon or a new arrival in the Tenderloin. What varies is the opportunity to make the most of that idea. An entrepreneur in the Bay Area will find it easier to contact a VC than one in southern Europe because there are more of them around.
That's why events like the Parkpine Capital road show that bring good stuff out of Silicon Valley are so important--and so much fun.