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What is European tech anyway?

By Ian Silvera
31 August 2021

By Ian Silvera

As it matures, the idea of a pan-European block of technology companies and a subsequent support system is eroding. There are still some issues which distinguish the Continent and its fledgling businesses, namely privacy and a focus on profit over revenues amongst financiers, from their North American counterparts.

But European countries are now owning their own identities: London is known for fintech, Switzerland has embraced the cryptocurrency economy system, while Ireland is building a reputation for deep tech (IoT, AI and advanced materials), to name a few examples.

It is no surprise then that Tech EU, which launched nearly eight years ago, is dropping its coverage of Israel. Although not on the Continent, because of its unique history and development it is sometimes categorised nominally as European.

Tech EU covered the Israeli tech scene from its inception, but it has now decided to stop its coverage for two main reasons. The outlet has pointed out that local media companies have “tremendously improved the depth and frequency with which they cover the Israeli tech scene”. The other reason is that the lines between Israeli tech companies actually based in Israel and those Israelis who have set-up shop abroad have become “extremely blurry”.

Israel, a scene probably best-known for its cybersecurity credentials, is therefore coming into its own. On the flip side of the media de-categorisation is the FT’s own pan-European tech project, Sifted, which launched two years ago. Though the outlet consistently produces country-based lists, it takes a Continent-wide approach to its coverage. Healthtech, fintech, mobility and deeptech are just some of the sectors it covers.

Dutch-based Silicon Canals, meanwhile, has moved from a more Benelux-centred approach to covering all of Europe’s big tech news. It is right to say that there is a European teach identity quite distinct from North America, but it shouldn’t be treated as one market and instead many. Digital adoption amongst European countries widely differs and some locations have natural advantages over others -- London was one of the financial centres of the world before fintech came about. It is best then to see European tech made up of many different markets, rather than one.