It may not surprise anyone, but Adyen’s European chief executive Pieter van der Does thinks that European startups and tech are ready for a comeback.
And though Europe won’t reach absolute parity with the U.S. investment and startup scene, he expects European startups to throw more weight around on the global stage.
Any European company that does, is, in some ways, following in Adyen’s example.
The payment processor for some of the world’s largest tech companies has always been a quiet player stealthily stalking the world’s stage rather than strutting and fretting on it.
The company has been doubling every year, and hasn’t had any difficulty in its growth trajectory despite its firm entrenchment in the startup scene in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, says van der Does.
“We started off in the Netherlands because we had a payments company we exited before and we started with four developers that we knew and four founders.. and we wanted to stay in Amsterdam,” says van der Does of his decision to remain in the Netherlands rather than pursue his startup dreams in the warm California sun.
He did acknowledge that Europe is not without its obstacles. The continent’is fragmented, and lacks the central hubs for tech startups that have evolved in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston.
“If you look where the unicorns in Europe came from it’s Amsterdam, Paris, London, Stockholm,” says van der Does. The lack of a single hub and the stability that a destination provides for entrepreneurs makes the development of successful communities easier, he says.
And while Adyen may be Amsterdam’s latest unicorn, van der Does is in no hurry to have it run free across public markets in either Europe or the U.S. He is, however, encouraged that Europe is becoming more of an option for tech companies, thanks to successful offerings like the WorldPay IPO earlier this year.
“It’s good for Europe because it makes it a more logical consideration,” says van der Does.
Adyen may be on a victory lap of sorts as growth continues and its chief executive luxuriates in the knowledge that the markets are waiting for him, and not he for them, all’s not wine and roses in startupland on the continent.
“What I see is that some companies around us in the ecosystem find it harder to get funded,” van der Does says.