Startup Europe Partnership: Devos and Fourth Industrial Revolution
We’re on the brink of another technological revolution. A ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, according to the World Economic Forum. That was the theme of this years’ conference in Davos – an iconic gathering of the world’s most influential political, business and cultural leaders this past weekend.
Two years have passed but it feels like just yesterday when Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda announced the creation of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) on the world stage at Davos.
At that time, she claimed that if Europe truly wanted to challenge Silicon Valley, then its startups would need to learn how to scale-up. Specifically, she wrote, “they need to get better at growing: breaking through national and language barriers so they mature into global champions that last.”
Two years on, are European startups successfully scaling-up in greater numbers? Is Europe really starting to rival Silicon Valley?
As the driver of Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), we are proud to say we are making progress in reaching the goal that Commissioner Kroes has set for us.
With the support of our partners, we’ve organized 12 matching events for startups and corporates across the continent, bringing together over 180 SMEs and 25 corporations for more than 350 meetings. This has helped 15 European startups raise a cumulative $400 million in funding in two years. We’ve also facilitated procurement deals, strategic investments, and acquisitions for Europe’s top corporations including Enel, BBVA, Unipol, Orange, Telefonica, and Telecom Italia, among many others, who have a vested interest in leveraging the potential of Europe’s best scale-ups.
We’ve mapped the progress of European scale-ups through our Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) Monitor, a portal of in-depth research and analysis of individual markets and continent-wide trends. Our monitors have undoubtedly helped to raise awareness among policymakers, investors, and small businesses themselves about the opportunities, and the remaining hurdles. (You can check out our latest research about Portugal here. And stay tuned for an in-depth analysis of the Nordics, coming soon).
But despite the clear gains we’ve made, Europe’s startup ecosystem still has a way to go. A recent op-ed in the FT highlighted the issues at stake. On a wide scale, European startups are not growing fast enough, even as attitudes towards entrepreneurship and risk-taking improve across the continent. Instead, the main issue is access to capital and the lack of large and medium corporates seriously committed to deal with startups and open innovation.
As global policymakers gathered en masse this weekend in Davos, hailing the coming of an age “characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres”, let’s hope that some straight talk about reforming current policies also occurred. Only with more capital, greater access to corporations for procurement and collaboration, and more supportive policies from the EU government, will EU startups of today truly become unicorns of tomorrow.
Chech out other related posts to this topic: http://mindthebridge.com/mtb-lead-startup-europe-partnership/