when you look at the top of the tech market, the very top, Europe is lagging a long way behind.
The continent has plenty of perfectly decent technology startups: in May this year, technology investment bank GP Bullhound counted 40 founded since 2000 with a valuation of over $1bn, 17 of which come from Britain. But the combined market value of all those companies together was just $120bn – less than half that of Facebook’s $273bn market cap alone.
The problem Galbraith is highlighting isn’t one of financial returns, though: it’s an issue of power. “If you look at Europe now, we’re in the equivalent stage of being in, let’s say, 1920, with no car companies. No Citröen, no BMW, no Rolls Royce, no Fiat, nothing.
“This is as big a deal as the industrial revolution. You’re moving from the agrarian to the industrial to the digital age, and you’re seeing the digitisation of everything. Industries which weren’t considered to be digital are being transformed by some of the methodologies and the processes of the digital age. Take Tesla – we think of Tesla as being a ‘startup’, but it’s the same size as Audi.” Both companies are valued at around $30bn.