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Facebook and Google steal brains from Europe

24.07.2019

American companies are buying European high-tech startups.
A group of quantum computing scientists moved to Silicon Valley to establish a startup called PsiQ. The investor was the venture firm Playground created by Android founder Andy Rubin, who sold the last two Amazon projects. This is not the first time that high-tech specialists from Europe are being lured to the US, and European start-ups are beginning to worry about this.

Over the past few years, American corporations have increased the number of purchases of new technology companies in Europe. In 2014, Google acquired the British company DeepMind, specializing in artificial intelligence. In 2016, the same Google bought the French company Moodstocks, the developer of machine learning for image recognition. In 2017, Facebook acquired the German developer of plug-ins to add and remove objects in the Fayteq video.

According to the consulting firm Mind the Bridge, in the period from 2012 to 2016, American firms bought 562 European start-ups, which accounted for 44% of their total number. In 2017, US companies acquired another 17 European startups. According to research company Valuer, 22 of the 30 most buying companies in the world are in the United States, thirteen of them are located in Silicon Valley. According to Google economist Hal Varian, the main reason for acquisitions is the ability to buy the entire team of developers, and not specialists individually.

The situation has become so serious that in January 2019, 500 European start-ups, the cumulative cost of the 12 largest of which is about $ 35 billion, signed an open letter to European politicians expressing concern about the “brain drain” in the United States. They demanded a change in European legislation so that tech startups that cannot compete in salaries with the American giants could allow employees to buy part of the company, thus compensating for the lack of income.

At the same time, European politicians do not consider the growing US demand for European startups a problem. Last week, French digital technology minister Cedric O announced that American takeovers of French start-ups are “not a problem” if the technologies of new companies are not critical for the country. According to Bloomberg, Europeans are primarily concerned about the protection of engineering companies such as Alstom SA and Siemens AG, and not their start-ups and, in particular, the sale of the German robot company Kuka in China in November 2018.