yesterday, the volcanic ash not only impacted the airline industry, but the tech world as well, disrupting business and conference travel alongside product deliveries.The grounding of flights in and out of European as a result of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull has been a powerful reminder of how much of our global economy relies on air transportation. As we wrote
European startups, particularly reliant on quick transportation from country-to-country, may be feeling the consequences of restrictions on air travel even more so. Mike Butcher argues in a Techcrunch Europe article, "It seems that Europe's startup economy has been running partly on the spread low-cost airlines for the past 5 years, and without airlines the startups, along with the whole of the general business sector, are going to be badly affected."
It's unclear how much the volcanic eruption will further challenge business development, or if it will spur innovation and opportunities, particularly around virtual conferencing and alternative transportation planners.
Jame Andrews, co-founder of Loco2, a site promoting sustainable travel, remarks, "Thanks Iceland volcano for helping us to prove the market for alternatives to flying!"
Jacek Grebski, founder and director of f3fundit, a blog and business portal aimed at helping support European entrepreneurs, argues that the major hindrance in Europe remains "investor readiness." According to Grebskii "there are definitely a lot of good ambitious companies out there. There is a lot of activity all over the continent." But while there seems to be a lot of startup activity, Grebski is less optimistic about investor activity. "We're seeing very little if any VC activity in Europe at the moment, and the majority of funding is coming from angels and larger corporates." To help, f3fundit are holding a "Next Top Startup" competition. Ten finalists will take part in a boot camp June 16 and 17 in Barcelona, Spain, where they will work closely with a team of 25 mentors. One of the companies will be crowned the "Next Top Startup" and win a 25,000 prize.
Grebski hopes f3fundit.com's competition can help provide both the cash and the support for some of the startup community. Hopefully, European volcanic activity will cooperate.