Cyber investor day in Luxembourg
The European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) invites you!
The European Cyber Security Organisation (ECSO) has the pleasure of inviting you to the Cyber Investor Day, which will take place on 15 October in Luxembourg.
For the sixth time, the most promising European cybersecurity startups and SMEs will have a chance to pitch their innovative cybersecurity solutions and to hold B2B meetings with influential investors.
To be selected and pitch their product, the European cybersecurity startups and SMEs are invited to submit a completed application form (available here) to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the application process and important dates can be found here.
Deadline for applications is 25 August 2019 at midnight CET.
WOW-fact: During the last edition of the ECSO Cyber Investor Day, which took place on 14 May in Madrid, more than 150 B2B meetings were held!
Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us via email@example.com!
Launch of the Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative
Programme aims to address the investment gap in Central and Eastern Europe
14 June 2019 – 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 programmes, 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.
European startups to clash for European Startup Champion title
Winners to be decided at the Startup World Cup Summit in Prague
5 April 2019 – On 10 April 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.
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.”
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.
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel endorses the Western Balkan policy recommendations
The recommendations aim at reinforcing tech entrepreneurship in the region
3 April 2019 – 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.
Startup Lighthouse Awards at TechChill
Awards held at Europe's latest up-and-coming and innovative tech summit
29 March 2019 – 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.
As part of this promise, on Wednesday 20 February, we whisked 20 of our top startups onto planes, trains, cars, boats, and any other transport you can think of, to bring them to the “hottest” winter startup event: TechChill.
What is TechChill?
TechChill is a youthful, up-and-coming and innovative technology summit held every February in Riga, Latvia.
Organised at the coldest and darkest time of the year, the summit aims to showcase 2000+ of the most innovative founders in the Baltics and across Europe, whilst surrounded by atmospheric blue lighting and drinking a warming Black Balsam.
You can expect to network whilst taking a selfie using a high-tech mirror, bump into your next partner grabbing a taxi outside in the snow or find a new team member at the afterparty.
The Startup Lounge
Located in the centre of everything, the startup lounge is a cool space filled with armchairs and coffee machines. Like a hallway between the auditoriums, this is the way that everyone passes through to get anywhere at the summit.
As true cheerleaders for our startups, we managed to get them fixed spaces at the Startup Lounge – including a sign of their spot. This served as a permanent base for the startups during their time at the summit, as well as extra promotion and a space for meetings.
“Having a reserved lounge, allowed Wego to have a spotlight where the event’s participants had the chance to get in touch with our service! It proved to be very fruitful as we generated several leads.” Marco Filippi, Wego Europe
50 Founders Battle
The ‘50 Founders Battle’ is a huge startup pitch competition showcasing 50 of most promising and inspiring startups from the Baltics, Nordics and beyond. This year saw TechChill receive +400 applications all vying for a piece of the 10K EUR prize and the chance to take part in the Startup World Cup in San Francisco.
However, in true Startup Lighthouse style, 8 of our startups qualified as ‘semi-finalists’ to pitch their business on the main stage, to a live audience.
Denis Ardabatsky, pitching NeoSound at the ’50 Founders Battle’
“My initial expectations [for the 50 Founders Battle] were to catch up with investors and some other contacts who we already know, update them and probably get the warm introductions from them. Due to busy days at another event, we have participated before TechChill we did not have a chance to properly prepare and find the matches and new contacts using the networking app.
Imagine how amazed I was when we received several inbound emails from warm leads and investors who have seen our pitch and became interested to learn more about the solution! By now we have already made a few demos to the contacts that approached us after the pitch.” Denis Ardabatsky, NeoSound
Awesome energy, great projects, greater people! After the first round, we discovered that our very own startup Precision Navigation Systems (HIVE), lead by CEO Simon Litvinov, would go through to the FINALS on the second day.
After a nail-biting final, the judges came together to decide the winner. Precision Navigation Systems won not only the opportunity to go to the Startup World Cup, as well as the grand prize of 10K EUR!
“During the whole TechChill conference I felt like I was surrounded by a lot of friends and many of them were either a part of Startup Lighthouse organisers or other startups who I met before during the program. Would like to thank everyone once again for support at the side event and awards ceremony and of course during the 50 founders battle!” Simon Litvinov, Precision Navigation Systems
The Startup Lighthouse Awards
On Friday, 22 February, we held our very own Startup Lighthouse Awards at Teikums co-working venue!
An official side-event of TechChill, this was an an opportunity to celebrate one full year of the project and look back at all we have achieved together!
We brought together the top 20 startups that have taken part in our ‘Deep Dive Weeks’ to Dublin, Berlin, Lisbon and the Baltics. Coming from 15 countries, these startups are spread across diverse verticals (Blockchain, TravelTech, Industrial Iot and Analytics), and have global ambitions to scale.
We opened with an exciting keynote from Tanya Suarez, CEO of IoT Tribe. Tanya spoke about the challenges of growing your team from a small family, to a more diverse group of individuals that bring new ideas to the table, as well as bringing in processes that make your company a “well-oiled machine”. Additionally, she also spoke about leaving intuition by the side and taking more notice of data as you scale.
“As your startup scales and grows, you’ll have to be much more driven by data”.
Next up, Ana Barjasic of Connectology spoke about the challenges of hooking an investor when scaling your business abroad. She commented on finding ways to reduce the financial risk for investors, even asking in the audience for the opinion on what holds them back. One way of reducing risk for investors, she stated, is to be more resourceful (renting equipment, setting milestones).
“Most entrepreneurs don’t implement capital efficiency”
Five of our startups then took to the stage to talk about their experience of scaling in Europe: Simon Litvinov of Precision Navigation Systems, Lou Schillaci of CloudyBoss, Francesco Canzoniere of Booklyng, Denis Ardabatsky of Neosound, and Marco Filippi of Wego Europe. Key takeaways from the discussion included the need to stick together with the startups that you share common challenges with, because as you move through the roadblocks, you can support each other.
“We need to stay connected”
Finally, we gave out awards and prizes (including residencies in different European coworking spaces) to our top ten startups! The top winning teams were:
“I loved the Startup Lighthouse Friday event! Well organised, nice speech session”
Ester Liquori, You Are My Guide
“The dedicated Startup Lighthouse side event was very nice as we shared our experiences in a very familiar environment. During the networking lunch we were approached by students and some very young entrepreneurs, curious about our own experience related to Wego and Volvero – and also about the Startup Lighthouse and what the key benefits have been for us. Finally, it has been a great opportunity to catch up with the fellows and the team, we held a very fun but of high context panel.” Marco Filippi, Wego Europe
You get what you go for!
We wanted to also give a special shout out to Ester Liquori, CEO of You Are My Guide. Ester took the chance to jump on stage, grab some visibility for herself and make it most of the conference!
“I’ve raised my hand to pitch during the coaching session of Gleb (co-founder of Fundwise) because I’ve seen the opportunity of improving. His pitch training session has been inspiring, he has applied data analytics to the pitch ROI and, as an expert in data analytics and prediction, I’ve been so fascinated by this method that I want to try on myself. Anyway, as founder, we constantly have to pitch. The more, the better!”
Ester Liquori, You are my Guide
DeepTech4Good: the programme supporting tech startups
Find out how this EU-funded project is helping drive tech entrepreneurship
12 March 2019 – It’s all in a name. Deep tech start-up is the new term for a start-up founded on the basis of a breakthrough technology or science. The start-up’s product or service often revolves around a disruptive innovation. The development cycles they are involved in are often longer and more capital-intensive than with the products found in other sectors of industry. The European Union has spotted this and is now funding a European accelerator programme called DeepTech4Good. The initiative is part of Horizon 2020, the European Union Research Framework Programme, and the aim is to help start-ups raise their market profile and become a driving force in the Internet of Things (IoT) market. Five European start-up events will be organized under the programme, each resulting in the selection of eight start-ups to receive coaching on growing their business from the project partners of DeepTech4Good. The first finalists have already been chosen at the first two events called DeepTech4Good#Paris and DeepTech4Good#Stuttgart. DeepTech4Good#Stuttgart was organized by the project partners, S2i and Photonics BW.
DeepTech4Good is being coordinated by Cluster Systematic. Under the initiative, eight partners from Germany, France, Austria, and Spain will receive approximately €1.5 million from the EU and will be charged with acting as official EU ambassadors for the Startup Europe initiative. Based on a vision that deep tech is good for society, the program focuses closely on four IoT sectors: Smart Cities, Smart Mobility (modern travel solutions), Industry 4.0, and Health & Well-being. In total, 200 high-potential start-ups from four European hubs will be helped to forge networks with relevant stakeholders with the aim of initiating innovation projects. This should make it easier for them to access funding and gain further support in raising their profile. One of the overarching aims of the programme is to network and connect up hubs within Europe.
Eight start-ups receive awards at the pitch in Stuttgart
The DeepTech4Good#Stuttgart event in late 2018 was an opportunity for 23 young European enterprises to make a 5-minute pitch and inspire investors with their ideas. Eight winners were chosen after winning over the jury: Adlatus Robotics, AScon Systems, HD Vision Systems, INERATEC, skinmade, and vialytics (all from Germany), Mobility Work from France, and EET from Austria. The winners are now eligible to receive personal coaching and may progress to the accelerator programme. Gaining access to a Europe-wide network and receiving input from experts will help the start-ups scale up their business and provide welcome support with innovation initiatives – ideal prerequisites for evolving into future deep tech unicorns in Europe.
The role of Baden-Wuerttemberg as a start-up hub
“Deep tech start-ups will increase in significance for Baden-Wuerttemberg in the coming years. It’s particularly important to recognize and promote the scale-up potential. Events like DeepTech4Good#Stuttgart make a crucial contribution in this respect. With powerful sponsors like bwcon, Start-up BW, Agorize, VentureZphere, the Stuttgart stock exchange, and the StartupEurope initiative organized by the European Commission, the event provides an ideal network and it’s sponsors like these that will secure Baden-Wuerttemberg’s position as a future hub for start-ups,” says Dr. Petra Püchner, Commissioner for Europe of the Minister of Economic Affairs, Labour, and Housing Baden-Wuerttemberg, summarizing the exceptional importance of the event. “This support already starts on the doorstep at our events. For example, the start-ups receive specific training on the best way to sell themselves and different ways to network and embark on a collaboration with partners from industry,” adds Samantha Michaux, who as a project manager and Startup Europe Ambassador at S2i is responsible for supervising the project.
The next DeepTech4Good Business Event will take place in Graz in Austria on March 26, 2019.
Contact: Samantha Michaux, email@example.com