Applications for the final round of Soft-Landing missions are now OPEN! (and they’re especially looking for female founders)
The Soft-Landing open calls are now open!
Launch of the Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative
46% of startups incubated in the Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE) region raise financing from investors outside of Europe and move their base, most often leaving to the US and China. This highlights the substantial investment gap faced by digital innovations, a major bottleneck for startups, and the digital economy, in reaching full potential.
To address this investment gap in CESEE’s digital economy the European Commission (EC) together with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the World Bank (WB) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) launched the Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative (DISC) during the Digital Assembly on June 14, 2019. Under the leadership of the Romanian EU Presidency the DISC initiative was launched at an investment round table with high level representatives of the Government of Croatia, Finland, Germany and Romania.
The initiative will develop a regional investment facility that specifically targets digital innovations and the scale-up of digital startups in the CESEE region.
DISC will focus on providing support to strategic future-oriented digital innovations and deep technology that are capital intensive, risky by nature and require longer-term financing (patient capital). In particular, the initiative will focus on the early stage and the scale-up of innovative startups and deep tech SMEs in the Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE) region. Specifically, it was agreed that DISC will explore potential funding structures and support mechanisms to leverage resources from the EU, international financial institutions, National Promotional Banks and the private sector in support of highly innovative startups and SMEs with higher risk profiles in the CESEE region.
What are DISC’s main objectives?
- to develop a regional joint initiative supported by the EC, the EIB Group, the EBRD and the World Bank Group to leverage funding and competencies
- to enhance financing and the access to advisory services for early stage and scale-up of innovative, high-risk deep tech startups with high growth potential;
- to provide advisory support, connect innovators with investors, and enhance the visibility of digital champions though and Investment Support Program;
- to offer technical assistance to public agencies to strengthen their capacity to design, develop and implement digital innovation programs;
- to strengthen strategic investments in the enabling environment for digital innovations;
- to connect digital innovation ecosystems across the region
What is the unique value of the DISC initiative?
- Higher expected impact through collaboration between EC, the World Bank/IFC, EIB/EIF and EBRD;
- Pooling of funding through joint investment facility;
- Dedicated investment and technical assistant program specifically for CESEE region;
- Targeted to support deep tech and disruptive technologies with high-growth potential;
- Focus on the early stage and scale-up of highly innovative digital startups;
- Comprehensive approach (investments, technical assistance and enabling environment);
- Financial and technical assistance support for both public and private sector.
Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE) are at a critical point in their economic development. Since the early 2000s, CESEE countries have been the fastest growing countries in Europe and the region consistently ranks globally at very high levels in terms of educational achievements in math, science and technology. Recently, their convergence towards EU-15 countries has however slowed down due to the limitations of the existing economic model that has been predominately driven by the inflow of foreign direct investment with relatively low adoption rates for innovation.
The rapid rise of digital innovations and deep technologies, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain provide unprecedented opportunities for the leapfrogging of CESEEs economies and can become a major engine for long-term economic growth. They are critical for fostering innovation, competitiveness, promoting sustainable economic development and addressing societal challenges.
Innovation can come from all corners of the world, and the CESEE region holds huge, but often underutilized potential for digital innovations. In fact, the success by UiPath, Prezi, Taxify and Avast are a few examples that demonstrate that innovation, creativity and grit can emerge and overcome the great odds, of challenging and less developed digital ecosystems in the region. Make no mistake, successful startups are not a monopoly product from established tech hubs such as Paris, Berlin or London.
At the same time, there are important barriers that are currently holding back digital entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential. First, there is a substantial investment gap for the scale-up of highly innovative deep tech companies and startups. Often, these companies are considered too risky for investors, however they hold the highest growth potential and thus require more targeted financing tools and attention. As such, beyond financing, there is also a need for technical assistance programs, which increase synergies and knowledge transfer, while strengthening the institutional capacity of public agencies to design, develop and implement digital innovation programs. Finally, there is a need to boost investment and enhance the enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on cross border digital infrastructure and digital skills projects.
Open Call to be part of the Boards for the new Horizon Europe Missions
EIT Digital Challenge 2019
‘European Data Incubator’ is looking for experts in entrepreneurship/big data to become Startup Evaluators
The project ‘European Data Incubator’ (also funded under H2020) is looking for experts in entrepreneurship/big data, to become Startup Evaluators, from the end of June 2019.
You would be part of choosing the top 50 big data startups to take part in the next 8-month round of incubation.
What’s in it for you?
- Play a key role in the selection of the brightest big data startups in Europe
- Be reimbursed for your time and work in the evaluation process
- Connect with up-and-coming figures in the big data community
Meet last year’s startups to get a better idea of the kind of innovative companies taking part in the European Data Incubator: https://edincubator.eu/startups-2018
Apply by Wednesday, 29 May at 12 noon (CEST): Go to the F6S application form
Less than ten applications will be finally selected, ensuring an equal gender balance.
SEN SOIR.EE 1960: Crypto Art Gallery showcasing EU emerging artists and EU startups at the Cibeles Post Office Madrid
- SEN SOIR.EE features a blend of classic and futuristic artwork, bringing closer business people and emerging artists through a series of 12 experiences from different European cities covering topics such as environment, energy, medicine, robotics and many more.
- The exhibition is free of charge and open to all artists, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, students and academics who are looking to experience a unique, new concept where creativity, artistic talent and technology are intertwined as the details behind each picture can be accessed through a QR-code and a radio-frequency identification chip (RFID) available from the 4 to the 29 of April at the Cibeles Post Office (Correos).
Madrid, 4-29 April. As a result of the search for convergence between the culture of entrepreneurship and artistic education, the fourth edition of SEN SOIR.EE 1960, a revolutionary and innovative photographic exhibition that opened on Thursday, April 4 arrived at the Cibeles Post Office. On this occasion, the exhibition has the collaboration of CorreosLabs, Startup Europe and Startup Europe News (SEN) and Nefercity System.
While blockchain technology and art might appear to be as opposite as the yin and yang of Taoist philosophy, they have found the way to travel upon the same path. Together they are taking in a diverse series of locations and landscapes on a truly global scale. SEN SOIR.EE features a blend of “classic” and “futuristic” artwork, which brings ‘’business people and emerging artists’’ together at an exclusive evening event.
SEN SOIR.EE brings a sample of 12 experiences from different European cities covering topics such as environment, energy, medicine, robotics and many more. The details of the project and the story behind the picture can be accessed through a QR-code and a radio-frequency identification chip (RFID).
“This is a disruptive innovation combining technology and creativity, where art and business meet millennials. A different way for startups and emerging artist to gain visibility in this new global and competitive business world.” – Isidro Laso, European Commission.
“There are things that seem incompatible until they are combined. This is how SEN SOIRÉE is presented, as the bridge of the encounter between startups and art.” – Imedi Hassissen, Creative Director – SEN SOIR.EE
The exhibition is free of charge and open to all artists, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, students and academics who are looking to experience a unique, new concept where creativity, artistic talent and technology are intertwined.
10 months traveling exhibition
The first edition of SEN SOIR.EE 1960 took place in Brussels in September 2017 during a memorable event in honour of the 60th anniversary of the European Union. After visiting Barcelona, the exhibition arrived in Madrid for the first time in June 2018. Hosted at the headquarters of the Representation of the European Commission it was visited for more than 2,500 people. In Madrid, the collection continued its tour through the city, being exhibited in the Science Park of the Carlos III University. As the last stop in the city, SEN SOIR.EE 1960 will be exhibited at the Cibeles Post Office (Correos) until the end of April.
About Sen SOIR.EE Mission
WWW.SOIR.EE aims to encourage more people to discover and engage with European cultural heritage and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space. Through its unique concept and its technology, SEN SOIRÉE allows emerging artists to move away from the traditional concept of the art gallery as static only exhibition space, in favour of a more complete alternative based on cryptography and travelling exhibitions, which offers access to a more diverse and active audience.
It is a great event for artists and business entrepreneurs where they can learn and share experiences, in a cultural and relaxed setting. Both are often facing similar challenges from the creation to the materialization of their creative ideas.
About StartUp Europe News Media Alliance
Startup Europe News (SEN) aims to be a catalyst of trustful content from all stakeholders at EU level—SMEs, startups, nonprofit organizations and public authorities.
Créme de la créme of European startups are heading to Prague in April to clash for the European Champ title
On April 10, 2019, at the Prague Congress Centre, the first ever European Continental Finals of the global competition Startup World Cup 2019 will be held as a part of the Startup World Cup & Summit (SWCSummit). The winner is about to win $ 500,000 USD investment prize and the title of the European Startup Champion. They will also gain entry to the global Grand Finale, which is to be held in Silicon Valley in May. Apart from the competition, the event will welcome keynote speakers from all over the world, including Apple’s first CMO, John Rizzo, the ex-VP of Instagram and CEO of Strava, James Quarles, the bestselling author and founder of Electronic Arts, Dave Evans, Avast CEO, Vince Steckler, and the billionaire Karel Janeček. Along with them the organisers expect dozens of angel investors, founders, and innovators from all around Europe. They will all be ready to network, provide guidance to fresh entrepreneurs, and look for new business opportunities.
Hundreds of up-and-coming startups are confirmed to attend SWCSummit, one of the most important events in the startup world in the Central Europe region this year. The goal is to find the European champion, create a talent network, draw the public’s attention to small businesses’ added value, and, most importantly, boost the European startup scene’s confidence. “Europe used to be an unshakeable cradle of innovation. Nowadays, despite Europe’s huge potential to retain its position, we feel momentum is shifting away. With this in mind, we see SWCSummit as an opportunity to spark new connections, investments, and ideas that can help Europe reclaim its reputation of the global innovation epicenter,” says Vít Šubert, the startup incubator UP21 CEO and the event’s co-founder.
“There’s an opportunity for everyone at SWCSummit – not only startups vying for the title and $ 500,000 USD investment prize. The event will be divided into special zones dedicated to startups, innovators from the corporate world, investors, and the general public. All attendees will be brought together through Myia, a networking and matchmaking smartphone app,” explains Václav Pavlečka, the CEO of Air Ventures and the second co-founder of the event.
The startup event of the year
For the first time, Prague is going to witness the best startup projects in Europe, the winners of 13 regional finals of the Startup World Cup. The finalists will compete to win $ 500,000 USD investment prize, the title of the European Startup Champion, and participation at the global finals held in San Francisco. Europe is the first continent to hold its own finals of this startup competition.
In the scope of SWCSummit, the regional finals of Visegrád Group takes place. 265 confirmed startups will compete to become the winning startup of the V4 Regional Finals, who will gain entry to European Continental Finals as well as entry to the global grand finale taking place in Silicon Valley in May.
The Startup World Cup & Summit (SWCSummit) is a unique marriage between the two most significant startup summits to emerge over the last few years. The Startup World Cup is a global startup summit and competition organized by the Silicon Valley venture capital fund Fenox. It was created to support innovations worldwide, interconnect subjects within the startup ecosystem, open doors for talented entrepreneurs, and identify 20 of the best startup projects on the market today. Regional winners will compete at the grand finale in Silicon Valley for $1 million and other cool prizes. SWCSummit is organized by the investment fund Air Ventures and the startup incubator UP21. Dating back to 2012, the summit has attracted speakers from leading global corporations and startups, including TechCrunch editors, Startupbootcamp chiefs, Silicon Valley investors and representatives from companies like Tesla, SpaceX, Hyperloop Transport Technologies and Kiwi.com. The summit has also headlined corporate leaders like Andre Wehner from Škoda Auto and Tomáš Budník from O2. Learn more at www.swcsummit.com.
UP21 is an incubator and investor, providing startups with four crucial elements to help them succeed — financial support, specialized mentoring, personal development, and key industry skills. For each startup, UP21 creates a personalized navigation plan and leads innovators on their path to success in the spirit of its motto: “Investment is not enough. Ask for a great co-pilot.” Learn more at www.UP21.com.
Air Ventures supports rising tech startups. The fund invests in dynamic technology companies with the focus mostly on the Central European region, brings unique know-how to marketing strategy-building, and allows startups to reach audiences and attract customers efficiently. Learn more at www.airvcs.com
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel endorses the Western Balkan policy recommendations
It was only on 15 November 2018 at Startup Europe Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, that the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network (SECEEN) and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (SEWBN) publicly signed a Joint Declaration aimed at reinforcing the tech entrepreneurship ecosystems of their regions. Four months later, the Founding Members of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network (Seavus Educational and Development Center – North Macedonia; Serbia Start Up- Serbia; Oficina- Albania; Innovation Centre Kosovo- Kosovo*; Digitalizuj.me- Montenegro; SPARK poslovni park d.o.o- Bosnia and Herzegovina) are proud to present the first joint effort from the Network– the Policy Recommendations reflecting the main challenges the Western Balkan countries need to tackle in order to thrive and be further connected to the European entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In her opening speech in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, at the Startup Europe Summit 2019, Mariya Gabriel highlighted the perfect timing for the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and Startup Europe Western Balkans Network to be established, which is why she supported their launch back in November.
“[The Networks] focus on existing barriers for growth in the region and this Summit, now in Romania, is crucial because they will present publicly a set of concrete and actionable recommendations for European leaders and policymakers” – Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society
The Commissioner strongly believes that the policy recommendations are just the beginning of a long journey and everyone’s support is needed for the winds of change to blow strong. Throughout her speech, she pushed for active participation from all startups coming from Central and Eastern Europe and, in particular, the Western Balkan region and stressed that the opportunities provided by the Digital Agenda for Western Balkans should be seized. This is the only way for a truly Digital Single Market to be created.
Soon afterwards, Mariya Gabriel was handed over the policy recommendations by Europa Media Group, the Hungarian founding member and the leader of the two Networks, about which she said:
“This set of policy recommendations will facilitate the development of the Networks and contribute to the economic progress of their regions.”
Mariya Gabriel’s endorsement is already providing the boost that Western Balkan voices need in order to be heard by ecosystem players across Europe, thereby allowing everyone to benefit from a more equal and leveraged European startup ecosystem.
Concerning the policy recommendations for the Western Balkans
The policy recommendations, which are the very first joint endeavour of the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, aim to facilitate the internationalisation of the Western Balkan countries and promote them in macroeconomic environments, as well as building bridges across the participating markets and cultures. In the long-run, the Western Balkan countries have a huge potential to become new hot spots attracting startups and innovators from all over Europe. However, common structural challenges must be addressed first through target measures. Some of the strategies that could be highlighted include building new collaboration mechanisms and support the existing ones, nurturing soft-landing opportunities and enhancing coordination both at national and regional levels.
For more information pertaining to the work of the Startup Europe Central and Eastern Europe Network and the Startup Europe Western Balkans Network, please contact Krisztina Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244/99 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
“It has been a great opportunity”: The ‘Startup Lighthouse Awards’ at TechChill!
Are you thinking of scaling your startup in Europe? Join one of our ‘Deep Dive Weeks’ and you’ll forever be a part of our Startup Lighthouse family.
Just like your enthusiastic godparent, we promise we will always find ways to promote you, talk about you, and get you in front of the right people.
DT4G#Barcelona – Call for applications
We encourage you to join DT4G#Barcelona, our exclusive startup event within the European Commission program, Startup Europe, that will take place on 25 April 2019 at the Pier01 of Barcelona Tech City.
DeepTech4Good is an Acceleration Programme, financed under the Horizon 2020 framework, committed to help Deep Tech startups accelerate their development and scale up at a European level. There are 4 application domains: Health & Well-being, Industry 4.0, Smart Mobility, Smart City. DeepTech4Good is led by 4 innovation hubs from Germany, France, Austria and Spain, working together to identify high potential Deep Tech startups.
The DT4G#BCN event is an excellent opportunity to present your innovative technologies in front of investors and large companies from different European countries. The startups will have the chance to do pitches, have b2b meetings with investors and representatives of large companies and to participate in the Open Innovation Challenges, focused on presenting innovative solutions to the corporates’ challenges in order to create cooperations with these European corporates.
@Startups: Don’t miss the unique opportunity to apply for the call of investor’s pitching & corporate challenge pitching until the end of March. The finalists will be able to pitch in front of investors and international corporates during the event in Barcelona. For more information check out the official event website: https://www.deeptechforgood.eu/events/dt4g-barcelona/.
We are looking forward to seeing you in Barcelona!
Contact: Sabine Runge, email@example.com.