Blogs that write about the ‘startup world’, kinda-sorta-exactly like this one, are pretty easy to criticize.* We’re still stewing our comeback to belligerent journalist Mark Ames’ snipe at us regarding the ‘entrepreneur-suckup business.’
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) April 17, 2013
To that end, it’s almost no surprise that the world’s most aggressively independent voice on startups comes from a tiny, struggling nation with questionable dependency on the tech community — Estonia.** According to TechCrunch, DotEEBubble has become fairly notorious for revealing the Estonian government’s irrationally heavy investments in startups, and the resultant follies of those startups.
A typical story, “GameFounders: Full of Game Failures,” systematically dismantles all six gaming startups from an Estonian-taxpayer backed incubator, with a breakdown of all sources of funding. In another post, DotEEBubble dismisses Fits.me — a ‘virtual fitting room’ which we wrote about in April — as “an ill-fitting waste of taxpayer money.”
DotEEBubble’s anonymous founder says that he runs a successful, independent software company in Estonia, and is genuinely concerned about Estonia’s general poverty (second poorest by assets-per-person in the Eurozone) and poor track record in the tech community. Thanks to government spending, Estonian taxpayers gave more money to startups than private equity and professional venture capitalists in 2012.
Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars, is another high-profile critic of government incubators, but such professional opinions may not be having the preferred effect. In the past few months alone, governments across Kenya (Silicon Savannah!), New York State (taxpayer retirement funds!), Israel (media investments with Nielsen!) and Colorado (once again, taxpayer retirement funds) have popped up.
Does your local government spend money on tech startups? Then you’ve got yourself a controversial blog topic! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
*TAKE NOTE: If your favorite tech blogger ever ends a story with “I’m looking forward to seeing what X company produces…” or “Clearly there is an opportunity here…”, the intellectual rigor of their reporting should be questioned.