We are all set for our annual gathering of the European Innovation Day conference. Same venue (Computer History Museum, likely the most iconic venue for large conferences in the Bay Area), same month (September), same premises: on one side a showcase of some to hottest high-growth “scaleups” from Europe, on the other the platform where EU policymakers can discuss the key topics of the development of the Digital Economy with the main stakeholders of such economy, in Silicon Valley.

Organized by Mind the Bridge, and co-organized by EIT Digital, the conference marks the centerpiece of the 3rd edition of the Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley week. This year SEC2SV will attract a delegation of ~90 executives from Europe (2X from last year) and will involve a total of ~800 people from investors, mentors, host companies, and speakers.

The morning of the 20th will be dedicated to investors in an invitation-only meeting with the CEOs of the top 15 Scaleups invited for the 2017 edition. With an average annual revenue of $4M+ ($60M cumulative), each employing 50+ people (800+ cumulative) and a 100%+ growth YoY, those companies represent the real economic impact that the Startup Economy can bring to Europe.

In typical European fashion, most of those businesses have bootstrapped the whole way up without any injection of capital. No wonder why the morning session will be packed with Silicon Valley investors, intrigued by the growth potential of those resilient businesses.

The afternoon conference will start with one of the central discussion topics of the week: the EU Digital Single Market (DSM for short), the set of regulations meant to harmonize the digital business in EU (the largest E-commerce market in the world). According to the EU Commission, “a fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute ~500B Euros to the EU economy” doubling the current figure.

Gerard de Graff, the director of the DSM at the European Commission will inform on the status of development, and, right after, will join a panel with EC colleague Kristin Schreiber (Director of programs for SMEs) as well as representatives from the industry directly impacted by the regulations, Ali Khayrallah of Ericsson and Erik Stallman of Google. The moderator of the panel will be Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former President of Estonia (huge success of Digital-first economy) and today at Stanford University.

We will then turn the focus to the US, with a keynote on the Secret Sauce of Silicon Valley (and the impact of millennials) by Steve Westly, venture capitalist ( an early backer of Tesla) but also deeply involved in policy making (he’s running for next year election of California Governor).

Then we will address one of the lava-hot topics of the month: Silicon Valley diversity problem and its recent scandals. We will do that with Oona King a Diversity Director, at YouTube, but also ex-member of UK parliament (and Baroness), who also ran for mayor of London. She will be interviewed by Charlotte Danielsson, head of the Silicon Vikings organization but also founder of a nonprofit dedicated to shattering barriers for the Asians.

Willem Jonker, CEO of EIT Digital, will address the Digital transformation of Europe, while, Alberto Onetti, my partner in crime at Mind the Bridge, will lead the discussion on how M&A between EU and US is changing (and for the better). Real data crunching with the support of Gene Teare of CrunchBase and Matteo Daste and Olivier Edwards of Orrick.
We will then address the question of our time: is AI good or bad for jobs and the economy, with a keynote from Matt Thompson of Microsoft. We will then move back to EU, to look at how European regions are developing innovation bridges with Silicon Valley with Cecile Jodogne (State Secretary, Brussels-Capital Region), Carsten Rudolph(Director of BayStartup, Bavaria), Giampiero Lotito (of FacilityLive and Basilicata region) and Jukka Häyrynen (from Tekes, Finland).

We will then move to another issue that is making many CEOs lose their sleep (and jobs): Cybersecurity and the need of Cyber Hygiene, will be the title of a keynote by Sanjay Poonen COO at VMware.

We will talk about how to build companies for the long run with Marten Mickos, former CEO of MySQL and Michel Wendell, a VC with Nexit Ventures, and turn into the magic world of EU corporations… moving their innovation outposts to Silicon Valley (with AudiInnogyCap Gemini and EDF…)

We will then approach another topic that is front and center of all the tech world these days: the unknown world of ICOs (Initial Coin Offering) with Matthew McGraw, versus the health of the old good IPOs with Giordano Sassaroli from the London Stock Exchange.

We will talk about the “New Wave” of exciting opportunities for innovation coming from CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) and conclude our long journey with the recurrent open question: can entrepreneurship be taught and what is the role of educational institutions in supporting ecosystems of innovators? I will have the pleasure to moderate a chat with 3 very esteemed thought-leaders in the subject: Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, president of the IE University, Tom Byer of Stanford University and Robert Eberhart from Santa Clara University (just a few miles down from our venue).

Well, if you made it to this point, I assume chances are I will see you in a few days.

Stay tuned then, we are coming!