Interview with Peteris Zilgavis, Head of Startups and Innovation and at the EC.
What is your background?
I’m a barrister, with my J.D. from University of Southern California, and a B.A. in political science from UCLA. I started addressing international law issues in several Latvian ministries (environment, foreign affairs) then moved to private law and then to the World Bank, the Council of Europe and finally the European Commission, working in areas of new technologies, policy and the law.
Is it a logical progression to what you do now?
Yes it is. The Digital Single Market and entrepreneurship in this area follow on my work on how policy and regulatory frameworks can adopt and adapt to innovative solutions rapidly while upholding principles of respect for the environment and our citizens’ interests.
What are you working on now? What are your plans for 2017?
Several important initiatives are implementing the European Commission Communication on the Startups and Scaleups Initiative (innovation procurement, regulatory sandboxes, Startup Europe and ICT standards), and Co-Chairing the European Commission’s Task Force on Financial Technology – FinTech.
What will you be talking about at RVS? / Why are you attending?
I’ll be talking about how Startup Europe aims at mission-based networking between Europe’s Startup ecosystems. We don’t have a single Silicon Valley dominating Europe but different cities that are strong in artificial intelligence, Deep Tech, gaming, FinTech, Insurtech etc. As policymakers, we also are conscious of needing to address societal challenges. The aim is to enable Europe’s entrepreneurs and tech to be part of the solution on the basis of an innovation and investment-friendly business climate.
It was a great year for me because I moved to the Startups and Innovation dossier, which I am very motivated by, but it was a year in which we saw that many voters in the World were dissatisfied with the status quo and were looking for answers. I believe that innovation and entrepreneurship can provide some of the opportunities that have been missing so I’m glad to be working with Europe’s startup communities to ensure that the next scaleups come from the EU and that jobs and growth are generated.
Which influencers and websites do you follow to keep up to date with the latest developments?
Too many to make a choice here (and to show favouritism). Always glad to hear about new sources of info.
How can people find out more about what you are working on?
The Startup Europe websites and social media, the European Commission websites and social media and my own Twitter account ( @PZilgalvis ).
Peteris Zilgalvis, J.D.
Head of Unit, Startups and Innovation
Digital Single Market Directorate
Directorate General Communications Networks, Content and Technology
Co-Chair, FinTech Task Force
Anything else you’d like to add / we should have asked?
I’m looking forward to a great event in beautiful Riga, Latvia, where I’m always glad to be!