Editorial: Optmism's blind eye

The development of these firms as effectively new-style conglomerates based out of tax havens poses opportunities and threats to societies. But the hope and promise for those still seemingly emerging from a central planning past encourages the optimism that turns a seemingly-blind eye to the rulers of these "extremely powerful marketplaces".

After almost 50 years of central planning behind the Iron curtain and two and a half decades of transition into a market­-driven economy, entrepreneurship is now gaining momentum in eastern Europe.

Reporter Kaloyan Andonov interviewed Dilyan Dimitrov, one of the founders of the Sofia, Bulgaria-­based Eleven Startup Accelerator, about its plans and European Union backing. For the interview, click here. It is a fascinating insight into a nascent platform with much promoise. There is much to be said for how governments helped the market creation and filling a gap left by the private sector to then allow market forces to work more effiicently through entrepreneurial endeavours, such as Dimitrov's.  

What was also striking about Eleven was the relative freedom of movement, both for investors to follow talent (both geographically and across stages and sectors) and vice versa. It could be understood if this freedom was reserved just for the top tier but while they might benefit more than most, the openness to talent, investment and ideas is remarkable.

Venture capitalist Saul Klein, who recently wrote on his blog about his plans to leave just such a top tier firm in Index Ventures, has, along with his father, Robin, done probably more than most to develop Europe's early-stage ecosystem before and since joining the Index "family" in 2007. Along with an long list of triumphs, Klein writes how he has spent the past three years quietly "building a set of services and nurturing a collection of active communities, to better support not just the founders and CEOs that we work with, but critically their teams as well.

"This is becoming an extremely powerful marketplace for knowledge and expertise — a distributed Fortune 500 if you like."

The development of these firms as effectively new-style conglomerates based out of tax havens poses opportunities and threats to societies. But the hope and promise for those still seemingly emerging from a central planning past encourages the optimism that turns a seemingly-blind eye to the rulers of these "extremely powerful marketplaces".

See more from this Government Report: Switzerland, UK

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