Facebook, on the other side of the pond, may or may not be worth $100bn, but either way it doesn\’t matter. Eye instead the company\’s S-1 filing with the US securities and exchange commission, and the key figures that stand out are that it took seven years to create a company with $3.7bn in revenues and $1bn in profit. No wonder, then, that from nothing Mark Zuckerberg may have amassed a fortune that, give or take, is worth $1bn for each of his 27 years of age. The growth may, or may not continue but, in an era where the media business is supposedly in decline, out comes one man to create an online environment that is so popular that it is becoming the make-or-break environment for other media brands, whether it is the games company Zynga or the all-you-listen-to Spotify.
Then ask, why does nothing like this happen in Britain: why is this country unable to create a globally significant disruptive media or internet business?
Err, both Bebo and Friends Reunited were home grown weren\’t they?
It\’s true that neither went on to multi-billion flotation but they were indeed globally significant and disruptive (the latter of more than one marriage so I\’m told).
And that is only to look at the social media world, without even considering the rest of the internet or computing world.
So I think we can dismiss the \”Brits don\’t create anything\” part. However, there still might be a problem in the financing stage: and I wouldn\’t be hard to convince that this is so. The US has a vast industry of venture capitalists desperately searching for exactly this next adventure that can be financed through the growth phase. They\’ll happily pump in billions upon billions to grow a company to size. Our own home grown such funds just aren\’t of comparable size. Millions, yes, tens of millions even, but that\’s not sufficient to grow to global size. Might get you a nice local positions, a UK one, but not global.
We need, in short, more and larger venture capital funds.
Not a new analysis of what ails the UK economy of course: been done to death over the years in fact. It\’s just that it\’s not exactly a politically acceptable answer, is it?