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European Startup Bankruptcies Remain Low But New Company Creation Stalls | ‘The Voice of EU’


The European startup landscape is showing intriguing dynamics in 2023, with a mix of VC-backed bankruptcies remaining relatively low while the creation of new companies through first-time financings has faced a significant slowdown.

Here we will analyze some of the top trends altering startups ecosystem.

  • Bankruptcies in European Startups Is A Surprising Trend
  • First-Time Financings Slump In New Startup Creation
  • Potential Rise in Failures as Funding Challenges Persist
  • Navigating the Challenges of European Startup Ecosystem

Bankruptcies in European Startups – A Surprising Trend

Despite concerns stemming from the slowdown in VC investments observed since the previous year, the anticipated wave of startups facing bankruptcy due to rising operational costs hasn’t manifested as predicted. In fact, according to ‘Voice of EU’ data, only 156 VC-backed companies have filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year. European startup bankruptcies remain low but new company creation stalls.

If this pace continues, the total number of bankruptcies for the year is projected to be lower than the figures reported in 2022.

The key factor here seems to be the strategic efforts taken by startups to extend their runway by implementing cost-cutting measures, including employee layoffs.

Additionally, venture capitalists have prioritized injecting additional capital into existing portfolio companies, bolstering their chances of survival during this challenging period.

European Startup Bankruptcies Remain Low But New Company Creation Stalls

Picture credits: PS Art

First-Time Financings Slump In New Startup Creation

While the bankruptcy rates remain surprisingly low, the slowdown in VC investments has affected the creation of new startups in Europe. Specifically, the number of first-time financings, a critical metric for gauging the health of the startup ecosystem, has experienced a notable decline.

In 2023, only 1,619 first-time financings have closed across Europe, a stark contrast to the 3,876 reported in the previous year, 2022.

This decline signifies a significant shift in the European startup landscape, as managers exhibit caution in entering new investment commitments amidst the ongoing funding challenges.

Rise in Failures as Funding Challenges Persist

The deceleration in first-time financings paints a clear picture of the challenges new startups are facing in securing initial funding. Should these funding challenges continue, it’s possible that startup failures could see an uptick in the coming months as more companies find their runways reaching their limits.

Notable instances include the liquidation of Spanish laundry service company Jeff, which had previously raised $41.4 million from backers such as Mundi Ventures and FJ Labs.

Interestingly, the bankruptcies in European startups have been largely observed among smaller companies with comparatively limited funding. However, this year has seen exceptions to this trend, with a handful of larger startups succumbing to financial pressures.

Dutch electric vehicle startup Lightyear, despite securing over $200 million in funding from entities like Invest-NL, faced bankruptcy in February.

The Challenges of European Startup Ecosystem

The current landscape for European startups is a nuanced one, characterized by the juxtaposition of relatively low VC-backed bankruptcies and the significant slowdown in first-time financings. This delicate balance underscores the resilience and adaptability of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

As startups continue to strategize for prolonged runways and venture capitalists carefully manage their existing portfolios, the year ahead holds the potential for both challenges and opportunities for Europe’s startup community.

Thank You For Your Support!

By Raza H. Qadri (ALI) | Entrepreneur, Science Enthusiast And Contributor ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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Tenants prioritise ease of commute, pushing up rents in Birmingham, Chester, Cobham and Weybridge

Tenants are prioritising the ease of commuting once again as they look for a new home, according to new data from Savills.

The estate agent said this was reflected in its latest data revealing popular commuter areas with the strongest rental growth.

These areas with the best growth in the first three months of this year include Chester, Birmingham, Cobham and Weybridge, which saw values rise 3.9 per cent, 3 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

Areas with biggest rent rises include Weybridge, where values have increased 2 per cent in the past three months

Areas with biggest rent rises include Weybridge, where values have increased 2 per cent in the past three months

It is in sharp contrast to the start of the pandemic four years ago when lockdowns prompted a ‘race for space’ in the property market as people flocked to the countryside and coastal areas.

As people return to the office, Savills said tenants are prioritizing the ease of their commute when choosing a new place to live.

The appeal of commuter belt spots such as Cobham and Weybridge is the ability to enjoy surrounding countryside combined with the amenities of a vibrant town and good transport links.

The train station in Weybridge provides train services into central London that are less than half an hour. 

Areas with biggest rent rises include the city of Chester, where values have increased 3.9 per cent in the past three months

Areas with biggest rent rises include the city of Chester, where values have increased 3.9 per cent in the past three months

Savills said urban areas generally continue to outperform their surrounding areas, with regional towns and cities growing by 8.2 per cent on the year compared to 2.3 per cent growth in surrounding areas.

Built-up areas in London’s commuter belt are also outperforming at 3.9 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent for more rural commuter belt locations.

Harriet Scanlan, of Richmond estate agency Antony Roberts, said: ‘Despite a slight increase in properties available to rent in areas popular with commuters such as our part of London, this hasn’t translated into cheaper rents. 

‘Tenants are presented with a wider array of choices, leading to an increase in viewings per property, yet landlords continue to benefit from steady rental incomes and minimal-to-no void periods.

‘However, it’s important to note while the modest increase in available properties to rent is encouraging, it’s not yet sufficient to tip the scales in favour of renters. Supply continues to lag behind demand, ensuring that rental prices remain robust.’

Growth in rental values in different regions and commuter areas
Q1 2024 Suburban Inner Commuter Outer Commuter Regional towns & cities Cotswolds & South West All Regional Offices
Quarterly growth 0.90% 0.70% 0.80% 0.90% 0.50% 0.90%
Quarterly growth, Q4 2023 -0.30% 0.30% 0.60% -0.60% -0.80% -0.20%
Annual growth 4.20% 2.20% 3.60% 7.40% 3.30% 4.00%
Growth since Mar-20 21.10% 24.30% 24.70% 26.90% 26.20% 23.90%
Source: Savills           

Expensive areas in the heart of London are not seeing a similar rise in rental values.

They increased 0.3 per cent during the first three months of this year, with Savills attributing the slowing rental growth on the market ‘slipping back into a seasonal pattern’.

It means rental values have increased by 0.9 per cent in the past three months across affluent regions, while annual growth has slowed to 4 per cent.

However, Savills explained that rents still remain significantly higher, at 18 per cent, than before the start of the pandemic.

Growth in rental values across different parts of London
Q1 2024 Prime Central London North West London South West London West London North and East London All prime London
Quarterly growth Q1 2024 0.50% 0.60% -0.10% 1.10% 0.00% 0.30%
Quarterly growth Q4 2023 -0.50% 0.50% -0.40% 0.70% 0.00% -0.10%
Annual growth 2.50% 4.10% 2.90% 6.30% 2.70% 3.20%
Growth since March 2020 14.00% 18.90% 20.70% 21.30% 15.90% 17.70%
Source: Savills             
Rents in regional towns and cities continue to outperform their surrounding areas, says Savills

Rents in regional towns and cities continue to outperform their surrounding areas, says Savills

Savills said Chester, Birmingham, Cobham and Weybridge are among the strongest performers this year, as tenants re-prioritise ease of commute.

Jessica Tomlinson, of Savills, said: ‘Rental growth picked up slightly on the quarter, however, affordability pressures and increased stock mean rental growth has settled at a much lower level compared with the last three years.

‘But rents remain at a record high, and the prospect of falling mortgage rates is expected to ease some of the financial burden on landlords.

‘Rental growth continues to exceed capital value growth, meaning that yields have improved across the sector, which will support continued investment.

‘In London, houses are now outperforming flats, signalling that the flats market maybe hitting an affordability ceiling, while tenants searching for houses typically have slightly more leeway when it comes to budget.

‘Also, a stronger sales market has constrained the number of houses to rent across the capital, particularly across west and north west London.’

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Paramount Studio Prevails in Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

Paramount & The Copyright Battle Over ‘Top Gun’ Sequel

The Voice Of EU | Paramount emerges triumphant from the legal showdown triggered by Maverick’s triumphant return to the big screen. A U.S. district judge swiftly shut down a lawsuit brought by the widow of the Israeli scribe who penned the piece inspiring the 1986 blockbuster, Top Gun. The heirs of Ehud Yonay alleged Paramount breached intellectual property rights with the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, which soared to unprecedented heights in 2022, raking in over $1.5 billion worldwide. However, the judge decreed that numerous aspects of the sequel, including its narrative and dialogue, bore no resemblance to Top Gun. The sole shared element? Both narratives orbit the U.S. Air Force pilot training hub.

Judge Percy Anderson’s verdict laid bare that many of the claims raised by the Yonay clan failed to meet copyright criteria. In a 14-page ruling, he affirmed that the sequel’s themes, dialogue, characters, setting, and overall presentation diverged significantly from Yonay’s original article, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.

Marc Toberoff, the legal maestro representing the Yonay lineage since 2022, swiftly vowed to contest the ruling. The estate had dispatched a cautionary missive to Paramount in May of that year, weeks before the sequel’s release, forewarning of potential copyright infractions due to the family reclaiming story rights in January 2020.

The judge’s decree solidifies that Top Gun: Maverick marches to its own beat, with little homage paid to its predecessor or Yonay’s source material, which meandered through life at Miramar Naval Air Station in a non-linear fashion, honing in on pilots Yogi and Possum. Instead, the latest installment, helmed by Joseph Kosinski, unfurls a linear tale set years later, spotlighting a fresh squadron at North Island Naval Air Station, also in San Diego.

With the lawsuit dismissed, the runway is clear for the trilogy’s third chapter, headlined by the indomitable Tom Cruise. Currently in pre-production at Paramount, the script by Ehren Kruger, architect of the sequel’s success, fuels anticipation. Talks are underway to enlist Kosinski’s directorial prowess once more, though industry pundits speculate production could hit turbulence if Paramount falls under SkyDance’s umbrella. The titans of entertainment are in deep discussions about the fate of Tinseltown’s venerable studio.

Regardless, Ehud Yonay’s legacy won’t grace the credits of the third installment, as Judge Anderson quashes any such notion.

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4 Ways AI Is Transforming Social Media Marketing

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith explains how marketers and content creators can use AI-powered predicative analytics, content personalisation and scheduling tools to create successful social media campaigns.

Is artificial intelligence (AI) the next big thing for social media marketers?

With over 4.26bn social media users to serve, AI is set to transform targeting and improve content personalisation for a more focused marketing future.

AI is not a new phenomenon in the marketing world. When surveyed, over 56pc of chief marketing officers (CMOs) said they use automated assistants for content personalisation and tracking consumer insights. AI-driven social strategies are just the next step in a fast-approaching digital future of campaigning.

However, could a push for AI-infused social campaigns pose ethical concerns for future marketers? From breaching consumer privacy to decision system bias, with great technology comes great responsibility.

Here we look at AI’s impact on social media marketing and discuss some of the best AI-infused platforms that are tipped to lead social strategies in 2023.

How can AI improve your social media?

Using AI, you can quickly segment large demographics into targeted groups, track viral trends and schedule personalised content responses in seconds.

If you want to compete against commerce giants and industry leaders, your social content should be consistent, compelling and customised to each and every consumer. Here are some insights into how AI can help.

Content personalisation

In 2023, 73pc of shoppers expect brands to offer them a personalised experience and content that speaks directly to their values. AI can enhance a brand’s personalisation potential in a number of ways.

Automatically harvesting behavioural and historical consumer data, AI-generated platforms can quickly learn about a user’s interests and predict what products or services they’d be most likely to interact with, resulting in a hyper-individualised experience that can boost engagement and increase the chances of conversion.

However, with 69pc of consumers now concerned about how their data is collected and used on mobile apps, it’s important to use content personalisation tools with caution.

“As consumers continue to learn and become more informed about their data rights and how their data is currently used, I expect we’ll see more and more calls from consumers to have their data protected,” claims Swish Goswami, CEO of browser extension platform Surf.

The key here is to keep your consumers in the loop. Give your followers a chance to choose what they share, and make sure the data you collect is transparent. Personalised ads, posts and targeting is a business game changer, as long as you have consent.

Automated content posting

Creating content for your brand is the driving force behind audience engagement.

While experts recommend that brands upload social media content daily, this process can be time-consuming. Using AI-driven social media tools, marketers can feel the pressure drain away, as automated assistants not only create original content formats but automatically schedule them too.

For example, AI-infused content planner Sprout Social can generate personalised tweets that reply to fans and followers in seconds. Instead of physically manning social channels and checking for replies, Sprout Social monitors a brand’s comment section before analysing the tone and sentiment of a reply. Sprout can then suggest an auto-response that aims to carry on the conversation between the brand and the consumer.

While automatic replies can pose ethical questions about a brand’s true identity, Sprout Social ensures that before an automatic reply is posted, the social media manager is able to review and edit the content. This guarantees that the brand’s voice still has a human tone when connecting with its audience.

Hubspot is also a nifty tool to have under your belt, especially if you’re struggling to develop new content ideas. By simply pasting a content link into Hubspot’s content generation feature, it uses AI to quickly analyse the metadata and create an original social post.

Social media advertising

Social platforms are the perfect vessels for advertising success. Whether you choose TikTok or Instagram, with the ability to post a pop-up on a user’s scroll-down feed, or a sponsored TikTok that blends seamlessly into a For You Page, social channels allow for a more organic future of ad placement.

However, with so many brands utilising social media, it can be hard to make your ad stand out from the crowd. Your ads must be full of compelling captions, quick links to your online store and contain a personalised hook for your target consumer.

Using AI, brands can optimise their ad performance on social channels. With the ability to analyse historic campaigns and current trends among industry leaders, AI-driven ad tools such as Sprinklr can make recommendations for smarter campaigns that drive better results.

Also, AI-infused ad strategies are more likely to be personalised to each user’s feed. AI tools like Phrase can generate customisable ad phrasing that adapts to target individual customers. This is a great way to ensure your ad captions remain fluid and speak directly to a diverse set of leads.

Predictive analytics

While it’s easier than ever to track social media performance, acting on your results can be tricky. AI-generated monitoring tools utilise the data harvested on content engagement, clicks and consumers, and turn these insights into predictions for new campaigns, content formats and new target groups to work on.

The key here is to take these predictions and turn them into content campaigns that frame the values of your brand. It’s also important to do your own research before jumping into an AI-generated content campaign, as just like humans, AI can have a decision system bias.

“AI is fallible and in a perfect world should be used critically, responsibly and democratically,” says Annie Brown, founder of the creative sharing platform Lips. “AI is only as fair and accurate as the algorithm, and the algorithm is only as fair or accurate as the human-generated information it gathers.”

For example, if the only data your AI tool collects is from a specific consumer group, it’s likely to inherit the same biases. Therefore, it’s important to perform your own content research if you want your brand voice to remain objective on social media.

However, with more data to inform their strategy, brands that use AI to influence their social campaigns are more likely to see higher conversion payoffs.

As social platforms continue to become more visual, AI can also enhance video and image analysis. For example, AI algorithms can now identify certain aspects of Instagram images and TikTok videos, making it easier to gather more data on a user’s interests and behaviours.

Visual analytics could help a brand improve its content styles as AI tools learn more about audience preferences and the formats going viral.

Could AI take social media marketing to the next level?

AI can enhance the experience a consumer has with a brand on social media. With predictive analytics at play, the content targeted users receive is more likely to speak directly to their values.

While there are still ethical concerns surrounding an AI-infused future of campaigning, there’s hope on the horizon for data-sharing transparency and the impact of algorithmic biases as both consumers and marketers take control of how data is gathered and shared.

As machine learning gets even smarter, the possibilities are endless for brands that want to get close to their leads. From automated responses to automatic content creation, the future of social media marketing is AI-driven.

By Rebecca Barnatt-Smith

Rebecca Barnatt-Smith is a freelance content writer and multi-media marketing executive at Solvid Digital, specialising in social media trends and widespread digitalisation in the marketing sector.

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