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Why It’s So Hard for Startups to Create Wealth in Europe

Lawmakers across the Continent haven’t given startups the compensation tools they need to share profits with employees. That’s changing.


Johannes Reck should be feeling pretty groovy. He’s the co-founder of one of the hottest startups in Berlin. GetYourGuide lets holiday makers book tours online in 150 countries and is on course to increase ticket sales this year by 75%. In May it raised $484 million from investors, and it’s now valued at more than $1 billion.

Reck’s company is precisely the type of unicorn European policymakers want to see more of as they champion entrepreneurship that can kick-start much-needed economic growth. But he’s fuming. “It’s not even that I am disappointed—I am angry, really angry, because you don’t need to reinvent the wheel here,” says Reck, a 34-year-old German with the wiry build of a marathoner. “It’s not like we are asking politicians to do something unheard of.”