Startup Europe Partnership with MTB

I’m on my way back from Davos where, during the World Economic Forum, we’ll participate in the launch of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP).

After the official press conference and press release by the commissioner by EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, the news has been picked up and commented  by a significant number of both international sources (Techcrunch, TheNextWeb, RTT news, IDG news, Venture Capital Post, etc.) and local newspapers.

We are excited and humbled at the same time for this unique opportunity to shape the future of the European startup scene and the creation of success stories.

We’ll keep you posted on the exciting upcoming development.

For now, here is our official press release (yes people still use those…).

Mind the Bridge Selected by European Commission to Help Drive Startup Europe Partnership

First integrated platform to support growth and sustainability of
European companies announced today at World Economic Forum

Founding Partners Include Telefónica, Orange, BBVA with institutional support of the European Investment Fund/European Investment Bank Group, Cambridge University, IE Business School and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society

DAVOS, Switzerland, January 23, 2014 — Mind the Bridge, an Italian-American foundation based in San Francisco, Calif., has been selected by the European Commission to help drive the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), the first pan-European open platform dedicated to supporting the growth and sustainability of European startups able to compete and raise funds at an international and global level. The initiative will be driven with the support of the British foundation, Nesta.

Startup Europe Partnership was launched this morning by Ms. Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission, at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The initiative will debut officially at an event in Brussels, March 2014.

“Startups need to break the ‘glass ceiling’ of the early-stage,” said Alberto Onetti, chairman of Mind the Bridge Foundation. “The ultimate goal is to have a tsunami of startups able to become global champions. The Startup Europe Partnership platform aims to bridge the startup ecosystem with the large corporate and investment community.”

All the Startup Europe Partnership partners will work with Mind the Bridge and Nesta to reach this goal, from big companies (Telefonica, Orange), to financial institutions (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), investment funds (European Investment Fund, part of the European Investment Bank Group) and the most important European universities (Cambridge University, IE Business School Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society).

Startup Europe Partnership is the first pan-European program conceived to make startups “scale,” and it is one of the six actions for web entrepreneurs defined in the European Commission’s, “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan” (January 2012), developed in partnership with leading corporations and education institutions. It was conceived to realize key recommendations included in the Startup Manifesto drawn by the Startup Europe Leaders Club.

Ms. Kroes said, “Europe needs thriving startups and global internet companies to become a global growth center again. Politicians don’t create jobs, entrepreneurs do. We’re going to support that mindset and push European start-ups beyond their comfort zone. Then we’re going to get out of the way. Sometimes the best thing a political leader can do is get out of the way.”

The SEP program will be based on three main actions revolving around a unique, scalable format successfully run in Italy by Mind the Bridge’s Job Creator Tour:

  • Matching: a series of same format international events that will take place in different startup hubs across Europe. Each event will be a real marketplace where selected startups and corporations from all over Europe will meet. The goal is to enhance the procurement and investments from corporates into startups, as well as pave the ground for potential acquisitions or “acqui-hires”.
  • Mapping: a map of the hottest European startups/startup hubs and the celebration of success stories of start-ups/spin-offs able to scale up. The goal is to provide international visibility to emerging startups and promote role models.
  • Sharing: a repository of best practices in use by leading European and international companies on intrapreneurship and corporate venture/startup support initiatives. The goal is to reduce the cultural divide and favor “startup cross-fertilization.”


“We’re very honored to be part of this timely project for the European Commission,” added Marco Marinucci, founder and executive director of Mind the Bridge. “Since our beginning we have been focusing on mixing knowledge and skills, exchanging talents from one ecosystem to another, making investors and entrepreneurs find the right match, and helping startups boost innovation. We make this happen with our Job Creator Tour and the Venture Camp in Italy, and with our Startup School, Executive Program for Managers and the Angel School for investors in San Francisco. Now we need to draw on this strategy for the development of European companies towards a position of international leadership.”

The Secretariat, comprised of Mind the Bridge and Nesta, will be supported by a Steering Committee of the Founding Partners – Telefonica, Orange, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), and the Institutional Founding Partners – Cambridge University, IE Business School, Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and European Investment Fund, which is part of the European Investment Bank Group. The Startup Europe Partnership will also closely follow the guidance and advice of the CEOs council comprised of CEOs from the top European corporations, plus the European Commission itself. Institutionally, the SEP will enjoy the patronage of the European Commission and its European Digital Forum.


The Mind the Bridge Foundation is a non-profit corporation, based in Italy and United States, founded by Marco Marinucci in 2007 and chaired by Alberto Onetti. Its goal is to foster a sus­tainable entrepreneurial ecosystem, spur innovative ideas, and reinvigorate the new venture economy, providing entrepreneurship education. Mind the Bridge provides startups, investors and managers with direct exposure to the most experienced, entrepreneurial ecosystem in the world — Silicon Valley. The ultimate goal of Mind the Bridge is to help create in Europe a new generation of entrepreneurs and success stories.

Nesta is the United Kingdom’s innovation foundation. It helps people and organizations bring great ideas to life by providing investments and grants and mobilizing research, networks and skills. It is an independent charity enabled by an endowment from the national lottery. See