After the festive opening of the EIT Digital satellite co-location at CWI (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica), we interviewed Prof. Willem Jonker, CEO at EIT Digital. During this conversation, we talked to Jonker about his view on the European scaleup ecosystem. “When a scaleup fails, it’s generally because of a lack of expertise.”
What’s the difference between a startup and a scaleup?
Jonker: “A scaleup wants to be an international player with a significant turnover, within a relatively small amount of time from the get-go. To be honest, I am more interested in companies who go for a significant turnover than the companies who go for a significant valuation. Startups, however, start really small and tend to focus a lot on the technology. A lot of the startups disappear, as they focus on a technology and eventually find that it is hard to scale it. You need big technology and a good sense of how desirable your technology really is. In other words, there has to be a market. Still, a lot of scaleups will fail. And that’s okay, but it shouldn’t happen because of obvious problems that you didn’t account for. Every scaleup once was a startup, but not every startup will become a scaleup.”