SEP 2.0: Facilitating Startup-Corporate Partnerships and Endorsing Exits

When compared to international heavyweights like Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, Europe’s scaleup scene falls short. Few of its startups are able to scale, and even fewer fit to acquire unicorn status. Startup Europe Partnership 2.0 finds its roots in the recognition of this gap.

Funded through the Commission’s Horizon 2020 project, SEP’s first iteration was established in January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, its objective to transform startups to scaleups by linking them with global corporations, investors, and stock exchanges.

In its second phase of funding, SEP 2.0 takes its initial aim to action.

The project is a partnership between 6 European organizations — Mind the Bridge (Italy), European Startup Network (Belgium), Nesta (UK), ELITE (Italy), Startup Olé (Spain), and Scaleup Institute (UK). Together, the members will organize four Scaleup Summits, all with the same intent: facilitating startup-corporate partnerships, increasing international visibility for European scaleups, and fostering exit opportunities (IPOs in particular).

After scouting upwards of 20,000 scaleups, Summits will host 75 each, totalling 300 participating scaleups. This is alongside an undetermined number of corporates and investors. Verticals are pre-determined, with the objective of increasing likelihood of successful business partnerships. For the first go-round, to be held in Milan on March 15 and 16, deep dives are Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and FoodTech.

Still, highly qualified scaleups might prove worthy; in this case, scaleups working in Digital Construction, InsurTech, Connected Cars, and additional alternative industries may be nominated.

On Summit days, corporates and scaleups will engage in qualified, face-to-face business meetings; have access to training activities concerning cultural disparities and how to produce productive partnerships; and generate procurement, development, proof of concept, and other collaborative exercises. Scaleups will connect with new customers, explore and penetrate alternative markets, and increase turnover.

The Summits should prove no less valuable for international investors and corporates, who can improve knowledge concerning investment in the digital sector and subsequently enlarge the investment pool itself. They will, too, obtain additional analysis and understanding of market trends and business models in digital sectors.

Finally, bi-annual meetings will facilitate financing and improve liquidity for European investments in fast-growing ICT startups and scaleups, and, as noted, stimulate financing through stock markets.

Over the two-year project period, expected impact is strong: 800+ scaleups matched with corporate investors, 600+ introduced to IPO opportunities, 250+ with increased international exposure, and 100+ obtaining dedicated IPO preparation via ELITE’s intensive accelerated exit program. SEP 2.0 anticipates €750M+ capital raised via Venture Capital follow-up rounds and IPOs, on top of €20M+ in new revenue via facilitated business deals.

In order to achieve such aims, SEP 2.0 will build on existing platforms with proven effectiveness and reach — e.g. Startup Europe Partnership and European Startup Network. With 24 member countries engaged in ESN’s ecosystem, the organization has access to over 25,000 startups and has built long-standing international relationships that will prove advantageous to the project’s ends.

SEP 2.0 provides these platforms with additional scale, integrating them with innovative activities in collaboration with international stock markets. In order to incorporate diverse and dynamic exercises, SEP 2.0 will blend physical activities with online services.

The project’s first major event kicks off this spring and will run until December 2020, with insights and improvements along the way.

Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis — incubators, accelerators, and alternative organizations are welcome to provide qualified scaleup names to hello@europeanstartupnetwork.eu.

To stay informed about the project, subscribe to ESN’s newsletter at http://europeanstartupnetwork.eu.


About Startup Europe

Started in 2011, Startup Europe has become a reckoned reference in the European startup related field. Our mission is to build a Startup Continent by increasing the connectedness among all players of the European startup ecosystems.


Article written by Emily Bogen, a great intern at ESN.


Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley

SEC2SV 2016 kicked off with the flagship pan-European event in Silicon Valley, European Innovation Day on Sep 12th, with Tim Draper addressing 500 entrepreneurs, professionals, and EU policy makers – and closed with an intimate invite only ceremony, on Sep 20th, led by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Past participants included: The best 15 EU scaleups expanding to the US; Betsy Masiello, Head of public Policy @ Uber; Günther H. Oettinger, EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources; Julie Hanna, US Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship; Francisco de la Torre Prados, Mayor of Malaga, Spain; and Henry Chesbrough, the Father of Open Innovation.

SEC2SV 2017 maintains the above trend, and goes a step further by taking an intricate look at the EU corporate innovation outpost environment in Silicon Valley. Where are they from? When were they established? How can you partner with them and let them help you succeed?


Other notable inclusions in 2017:

  • An invitation to EU Commissioner for Research Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas


A dive into EU’s dominance on hot topics:

  • Industry 4.0 – From manufacturing  to automation
  • Augmented Reality, AR / Virtual Reality, VR
  • Artificial Intelligence, AI
  • Privacy and Data storage/transfer

Find more info on: SEC2SV 2017




The time is now. Today Mind the Bridge, in partnership with the European Commission and Startup Europe, announces the opening of the call for the next generation of EU Unicorns to be selected for the third annual SEC2SV (Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley), co-organized with EIT Digital, a weeklong mission that brings together the most promising EU scaleups, corporates, investors, and policy makers in September 2017 in Silicon Valley.

The aim of SEC2SV is to welcome the next class of leading European scaleups, i.e. mature startups ready to take off and exploit the opportunities offered by Silicon Valley and the US market. Interested companies from all over Europe should apply via the f6s scaleup form by June 9th 2017, after which a committee of leading US and European investors will select only 15 companies admitted to participate in SEC2SV 2017. 

Interested scaleups must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements: 

  • be a European Union-based company 
  • have an average annualized growth in employees or turnover greater than 20% per annum over a three-year period (with more than 10 employees at the beginning of the 3 year period) 
  • desire to expand to the U.S. market or already have a presence there.
  • be innovative  

The selection will be curated with the support of several Silicon Valley-based partner organizations.

In 2015 and 2016, 28 European companies representing 23 countries were selected to participate in the SEC2SV mission. Cumulatively, these businesses generated more than $100 million in revenue and had over 2,000 employees. Among them were German high-growth companies Shopgate and Entrade, the UK’s Realeyes and Versarien, Spain’s Job and Talent and Kanteron, Mosaicoon and Shopfully from Italy, France’s TVTY, Belgian Awingu among many more.

“SEC2SV brought together amazing scaleups and gave a unique glimpse into the near future. I was honored to be part of this group and I can’t wait to see the next!” commented Andrea Anderheggen, founder and CEO of Shopgate (after an exit with Sofort to Klarna) who participated in the 2015 cohort.

“A Varied program. Meeting at senior level. And very applicable. Great experience! commented Walter Van Uytven, Founder/Ceo Awingu who participated in the 2016 cohort.

During SEC2SV 2017, scaleups will have the opportunity to present at European Innovation Day (the opening conference, with 60+ speakers and 800+ attendees) and participate in a tailored program involving mentoring, networking, and meetings with key stakeholders – a dedicated 3-day Scaleup Summit that will involve in-depth roundtables with 30+ Silicon Valley experts on the topics of growth, talent, legal, funding, M&A, policy, and communications. The SEC2SV participants will also be invited to exclusive receptions (EU consulates in San Francisco), and meetings at Silicon Valley institutions (Apple, Airbnb, Andreessen and Horowitz, Facebook, GE Digital, Google Ventures Microsoft, Silicon Valley Bank, K&L Gates, to mention some names from prior editions). 

In 2015 and 2016, key SEC2SV participants included Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, European for Budget and Human Resources, Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU commissioner, Draper Fisher Jurvetson Partner Tim Draper,  US Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship Julie Hanna, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Chairman Larry Sonsini, UK Chief Technology Officer Liam Maxwell, Betsy Masiello, Head of public Policy, Uber, Henry Chesbrough, the Father of Open Innovation among others. 

To read the original article, please click here