Disrupt or Co-operate

An allegation that has been levelled at European entrepreneurs is that they lack ambition. This is ostensibly a significant contributing factor that has led to the lack of globally significant technology companies developing in Europe.

We are facing one of the components of this with one of our companies at the moment which in broad terms lines up as follows:

1. We have developed a technology product that has the potential to significantly enhance the efficiency of a large services industry
2. The services industry has historically been slow to adopt new technologies
3. We are a technology product company and hence our natural instinct is to focus on selling software product

Conventional wisdom suggests it is much easier to sell our technology to the existing services companies and improve their efficiency. But because of the culture of these organisations this won’t be easy.

The alternative, and this comes back to the point about ambition, is to take on the service market segments, one by one, and disrupt the entire market with a next generation services business with a significant technology edge.

Clearly it’s important to understand how fundamental the technology is to the underlying services business. But I’m interested in investor’s & entrepreneurs instincts and experiences on this front – do you lean towards driving efficiency in the market or disrupting the entire industry?