It’s a lot easier to grow a start-up in Europe than six years ago

Source: Éanna Kelly, Science|Business


The ecosystem is improved, but dedication, commitment and hard work remain the key to success, says Croatian entrepreneur Ivo Spigel, who interviewed 28 of Europe’s most successful entrepreneurs for his book, The European Start-up Revolution

Ivo Spigel

Question: What is the start-up revolution in Europe your book title refers to?

Answer:  The title refers to the dramatic change we’ve seen in European tech and start-ups over the past six years. The ecosystem has advanced greatly and more and more of our companies are becoming globally successful.

Q: You interviewed founders of companies including Mendeley, Supercell, TransferWise, SoundCloud, Dailymotion, Prezi, Last.fm – what do you think they all have in common?

A: Well… they are all European! Other than that, one thing revealed in the book is that they have very, very different strategies, trajectories and stories. Some are based in the big hubs, others in the smaller cities, like Edinburgh, Zagreb and Ljubljana.

Some of them saw the need to open an office in Silicon Valley or elsewhere in the US, but most are still largely based in Europe. The one thing that’s definitely common to all is a huge, huge amount of dedication, commitment and hard work needed to succeed.

Q: In the book’s introduction, you write that, “Founding a company in Europe in 2009 was…a lonely and frustrating experience outside leading cities such as London, Berlin, Paris or Stockholm,” the implication being it has become easier. In what way?

A: Back in 2009, you could see a thriving network of ecosystems filled with mostly isolated individuals trying to get a company going. Especially in some of the smaller cities, like Zagreb where I’m from, if you were a founder you had very few people that were doing something similar and there was very little or nothing of the supporting elements you see today,  such as co-working spaces, events, media coverage (also by mainstream business media), accelerators and other start up programmes.

And, of course, the availability of funding today is better. Before, there was always some of that in the big hubs and almost none in the smaller cities. Now we can say that London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm rival global hubs such as New York and Boston, [though] San Francisco and Silicon Valley are still very special cases. We see hundreds – if not thousands – of start-ups in those places. In the smaller, regional cities there are finally support mechanisms, of course not as much as in the big ones but it’s improved greatly.

Q: Europe has not really produced a large technology company to match the likes of Apple, Amazon or Facebook. Why do you think this is?

A: Europe actually has a bigger and bigger amount of very highly-valued companies (I hate the term unicorns). People are always surprised when they see some comprehensive lists. Look at the companies coming out of Berlin’s Rocket Internet start-up factory, such as e-commerce giant Zalando, or the very quickly growing food delivery via app sector, for example, JustEat and Deliveroo.

In the past few years, European companies have come to play on a level field if not even dominate whole sectors such as digital music – I’m thinking of Spotify, SoundCloud, Deezer; gaming – Supercell, WarGaming, King.com, Nordeus; and fintech.

However we have to understand and keep in mind that the US tech sector as we know it, with close cooperation with universities such as Stanford and MIT, innovative funding methods and the focus on rapid growth, was started back in the 50’s or 60’s, so the Americans definitely have a lead time of several decades.

Also, there’s the well-known, documented, cultural and mind-set differences. Many of Europe’s successful and rich entrepreneurs and “industrial families” are still wary of investing in risky companies – in the US it is much more common and expected that once you become wealthy you will actively support and finance the next generation. Things are changing with the culture and the mind-set here, but it takes time.

Q: If you had to pick some governments in Europe that are getting it right, in as creating the right conditions for tech founders to create and thrive, which countries would you choose?

A: It’s good to see governments and especially local government in cities actively supporting start-ups and entrepreneurship everywhere in Europe. Definitely the UK and Estonia come to mind first, but you could look at Amsterdam’s initiative with StartupDelta, Paris co-investing with Xavier Niel to create a 32,000 m2 complex for ‘1,000 Startups’, and many other initiatives. Some are probably more efficient and smarter than others of course.

Q: Do you think the EU helps?
A: The EU Commission is actively pushing start-up communities to work more closely together through the Startup Europe programme. It’s also pouring a lot of money into research through its Horizon 2020 R&D programme. There would be no European venture capital funds were it not for the European Investment Fund.

On a macro level, the most important changes needed are the hardest ones to implement – a single, simple unified tax structure throughout Europe, as well as greater simplicity of doing business across the EU. It can still be an administrative nightmare to hire a person across borders, for instance. We still turn off our smartphone data access when crossing borders, unfortunately telecom lobbyists managed to push the deadline for eliminating roaming back by a year or two. So it’s often two steps forward, one step back.

Spigel’s book – published this week – is available to order online here


Launched the Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN)



Connecting the European and Indian Startup ecosystems

Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN) launched to increase growth, investments and collaboration among key stakeholders and change-makers.

LONDON, UK, January 28

Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN, reads See You In), an initiative to connect the pan-European and Indian startup ecosystems, is launched. SEU-IN brings together key stakeholders in order to create seamless engagement and foster growth, investments, and collaboration between the European and Indian startup ecosystems. Founded by Praveen Paranjothi, a Europe based venture capital investor, SEU-IN is built in collaboration with the Startup Europe initiative of the European Commission.

In the era of Digital and ICT changing every industry, innovation and disruptions can come from anywhere. While Startups have rightly recognized this fact and are globalizing their impact, Startup ecosystems have largely remained local. SEU-IN is the one-of-a-kind initiative focused on globalizing two major Startup ecosystems.

India boasts one of the youngest populations in the world, and is expected to reach 460 million Internet users, with 370 million connected through mobile devices by mid-2016. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, said, “India is the fastest growing startup nation in the world”. India therefore represents a massive market opportunity. Europe, with its proximity, and long-standing relations is a natural partner with India. However, European participation is rather limited in the Indian startup ecosystem, even though European corporates are active in India for a long period of time, and EU is India’s biggest trading partner.

Europe, on the other hand, is a significant player in the Startup, technology and innovation space and a big market. Europe’s global technology successes in the last decade or so include Skype, Spotify, Rovio (Angry Birds), Supercell (Clash of Clans), Deep Mind and European startups are briskly disrupting financial services, gaming, security, education, technology, artificial intelligence and more. European corporates such as Siemens, SAP, Vodafone, Nokia, Daimler Chrysler, Bosch have a long-standing presence in the Indian market. Europe has built several hubs, which are making waves and are emerging strong with cities such as London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, and Amsterdam at the forefront, and with many more up and coming. This strong position has however not transitioned to Indian tech ecosystem’s focus to leverage Europe.

SEU-IN is therefore launched to tap into the untapped opportunities of working together. This initiative is a unique network, built from the bottom-up by people who are in the business, bringing together key stakeholders and change-makers to collaborate, build strategic partnerships, create value, expand and invest within and between the European and Indian markets. SEU-IN focuses on “quality” and “action”.

About Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN)

Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN) connects the European and Indian Startup ecosystems. SEU-IN target stakeholders are Startups, Scaleups (growth companies), Investors (VC, Business Angels), Corporates, Incubators, Accelerators, Innovation Agencies, Public Initiatives, entrepreneurial Universities, partners with the Media (“Our Ecosystem”), and relevant change-makers focused on Europe and India. SEU-IN focuses on increasing collaboration, growth and investments within and between the ecosystems by creating a channel for seamless engagement.

SEU-IN sector focus is on digital and ICT and, particularly, its intersection with other 10 core areas: Fintech, Cyber security, Intelligence (data, machine, and artificial), Smart Cities, Edtech, Agritech, Waste Management, Health teach, and Government and Business tech – areas where Europe and India have the strong need and/or offering.

SEU-IN’s Advisers include Tomasz Kozlowski, the Ambassador of the European Union to India, Uli Grabenwarter, Deputy Director at the European Investment Fund, T.V. Mohandas Pai, ex-CFO of Infosys and Chairman of Aarin Capital Partners, and Isidro Laso Ballesteros, Head of Startup Europe Sector in the European Commission. SEU-IN is also nominating Ambassadors, who are local point of contact in the Startup Hubs in Europe and India. SEU-IN’s founding collaborators include the Startup Europe initiative of the European Commission, Cambridge University India Business Center, Holland Fintech, and Crosspring, Netherlands.

SEU-IN is founded and presided by Praveen Paranjothi, a Europe based venture capital investor. Over the course of his career, he has worked in technology, telecommunications, education, and investment in global investment firms and corporates including the European Investment Fund, Siemens Venture Capital, Siemens, Nokia Siemens Networks, and Jothis College of Arts & Science.

Contact SEU-IN:

Website: startupeuropeindia.net

Managing team: Praveen Paranjothi (Founder and President); Mauro Romaldini (Founding VP)
Ambassadors: Dimmes Doornhein (Netherlands); Luigi Mercuri (Germany); Inga Miliauskiene (Lithuania); Kristiina Vassilkova (Estonia).

Contact: Mauro Romaldini

Mobile: +44 7985661949


Website: www.startupeuropeindia.net

About Startup Europe

Startup Europe is a European Commission initiative that aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU. More information at startupeuropeclub.eu @StartUpEU


The Startup Europe Cybersecurity Bootcamp in Lille starts today!


Cybersecurity is the term used for activities involving the protection of information systems from theft of damage. Taking in consideration the fast-paced world we are currently living in, where more and more things are interconnected with each other through computer networks, cybersecurity plays a vital role in these modern times.

Without cybersecurity, hardware and software, information and services could suffer a lot of damage due to the ever increasing number of online attacks.

The STARTUP EUROPE / TWIST Cybersecurity Bootcamp, organized in Lille, by the International Cybersecurity Forum and EuraTechnologies, is a place to gather the top startups activating in cybersecurity with specialists in this field, in order to help better understand the challenges faced today and to find better solutions for the future. It’s an opportunity for startups to accelerate their business on the cybersecurity market.

The STARTUP EUROPE / TWIST Cybersecurity Bootcamp, organized in Lille, will take place from 25-27th January 2016.

Featured Startups:

Apptimate from Lund, Sweden provides secure point-2-point communication for distributed applications, for any device, mobile, IoT, server, cloud. etc.

SecludIT from Sophia Antipolis, France, is specialized in e-commerce, industry, health, ICT, and hosting.

Utocat is a French startup that acts as an Integrator/service provider for trust in information.

Unfraud is an Italian startup specialized in real time web fraud prevention.

Codified Security is based in London, UK and focuses on mobile development.

PatrolServer is startup within the company USW bvba from Belgium, working on enhancing security and making it part of everyday computer engineering.

inkantor is a Polish startup that provides banking system security solutions and security solutions for financial institutions.

ORWAY is an Italian startup specialized in consumer electronics.

CBTelInnowacjeSp Z.O.O from Poland focuses on data protection.

To learn more about the program, startups and mentors, download the STARTUP EUROPE / TWIST Cybersecurity Bootcamp agenda.



Get ready for ‘Startup Europe Week’: entrepreneur meetups in 220+ EU cities confirmed

January 18th, 2016.

By:  Co-founder and editor-in-chief of Tech.eu, with previous stints at The Next Web and TechCrunch under his belt. Deeply in love with his family, technology, traveling and Belgian beer.

In what is shaping up to become what the organisers call ‘the biggest entrepreneurship event ever to take place in Europe’, there will be mini-events taking place during the first week of February 2016 in more than 220 European cities.

From 1 to 5 February, volunteers have joined forces to organise local Startup Europe Week meetups and mini-conferences, from Amsterdam to Zurich.

Initiated by the European Commission / Startup Europe and with Tech.eu as its exclusive media partner, the week will give SEW partners from all over Europe to present their projects.

The idea is to make the event not your typical conference with motivational speeches or networking sessions; instead, the organisers are trying to exploit Europe’s diversity and look at the influence that the local traits have in shaping European startups.

As the organisers put it: “European regions are key players, from helping entrepreneurs to incorporate a company, to providing grants or taxes breaks. That is why we think it is critical to include the regions in this conversation”.

The initiative will help promote the tools that are available for entrepreneurs at a regional and European level, as the event will take place simultaneously in more than 40 countries and 220+ cities. Although the events have yet to be fully defined, each will have different agendas and line-ups of speakers.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 16.46.31

Igor Tasic, who heads the Startup Europe Week initiative, comments:

Concretely, Startup Europe Week supports and strengthens regional governments prospective efforts to support entrepreneurship by making people aware that sometimes all facilities they need to get started (and create a business) are right next to them, in their city or region now. This is an excellent approach, because it creates momentum and avoids competition among cities and regions, which is key if we want to be a true single digital market!

Thanks to the joint efforts of a team of highly motivated volunteers and the support of the EC, week by week we saw the map of Europe being populated by over 200 events to spread the word about innovation, entrepreneurship and to present the local opportunities offered by public administrations to their startups ecosystems.

This bottom-up movement coordinated by SEW is only a part of the European startups picture, but is a fundamental wave we believe is highly impacting the innovation process in Europe. Now it’s time to surf this wave!

Keep an eye on the SEW website and sign up to the newsletter to stay updated.

Source: http://tech.eu/inside/7545/startup-europe-week/


3D-Revoprint and Yottabyte selected to receive Startup Europe’s Micro-Grants

The team of 3D-Revoprint (Germany) used the Micro-Grant to attend one of Europe’s biggest tech events for startups, Slush in Helsinki. They were selected as one of the TOP 100 startups which gave them the opportunity to pitch in front of a huge audience.


Yottabyte (Croatia) was able to attend the EBAN Winter University 2015 in Copenhagen.  In the words of Krunoslav Hrnjak from Yottabyte


Attending the EBAN Winter 2015 thanks to the ePLus Micro-Grant was fundamental to make new contacts with potential partners and business angels. I am right now discussing a new project setup with one of the EBAN startup competition participant. For us it was a great opportunity to discover more about how business angels and joint venture capital behave and what they are looking for.

What are Startup Europe’s Micro-Grants all about?

Startup Europe’s Micro-Grants help startups to grow internationally. The Micro-Grants support the participation in relevant Startup Europe events, workshops, and use of local services in European regions/ecosystems other than the candidate’s base location, contributing towards the promotion and networking at a European level of startups and entrepreneurs with a high maturity level. Winners receive a Micro-Grant covering travel and accommodation expenses of up to 1.000€.

The above testimonials of startups which made use of the Micro-Grant during the first round underline the great value this tool can have for scaling up your startup.

How to receive a Micro-Grant? – Current and upcoming calls

All you need to do is to select one of the offers listed and submit a short application via F6S. The current open call closes by January 30th 2016. Learn more about the guidelines and the selected events for the current round.


The commercial multirotor drone with greater autonomy in the world will be presented at Global Robot Expo

  • HYBRiX, inspired by the technology of hybrid cars powered by a Valencian startup, achieves flight times 6 times higher than the other one in the market.
  • Global Robot Expo will unite from 28 to 31 January, in the “Pabellón de Cristal de la Casa de Campo” in Madrid, all the international leading companies and renowned technology gurus.

Madrid, 11 January 2015.- Quaternium is a Valencian startup that has managed to solve the problem that brings head to thousands of operators of commercial drones worldwide: the flight autonomy, no more than 25 minutes. To solve this limitation, this young company has developed the multirotor drone HYBRiX, to be presented to the international market in Global Robot Expo, the international exhibition of robotic technologies that will be held from 28, 29, 30 and 31 January 2016 in the “Pabellón de Cristal de la Casa de Campo” in Madrid.

 Electric multicopters can just fly over 25 minutes, so you have to reload several times during a workday. This makes it difficult its professional use and adds a little more danger, because having to carry lithium batteries for recharging to avoid waiting times can be dangerous.

 To overcome these drawbacks, Quaternium team has developed a hybrid technology that achieves flight times six times higher than the existing today in the market. This is possible thanks to a range extender that transforms fuel from a small combustion engine to electric power for the the propellers, which amounts to a maximum flight autonomy of 4 hours without refueling.

 Hybrix will make possible, therefore, to develop industrial applications that are currently very limited by electric drones such as all transport-related medicines or small commodities in areas with difficult access, emergency measures, spraying of large land or monitoring infrastructures.

This multirotor of Spanish production, whose development has been aided by the Junta de Extremadura through Agrotech, will begin shipping in 2016 in Spain, a market where its competition has not arrived yet. Its aim, according to its founder, Jose Luis Cortes, is to become an effective alternative to helicopters or aircraft for commercial use and, in particular, for sectors such as aerial surveillance, surveying, inspection of large areas, aerial filming or agriculture precision.

Global Robot Expo is a unique event in Spain that has a clear commercial focus and that will boost business creation, wealth and investment in the robotics industry. With this ambitious goal, it will offer lectures and ‘demos’ for participating companies to present their projects and seek partners and investors.

 For more information:

 Global Robot Expo                                                                                                                                           Trescom Comunicación

Neus Tatay Gutiérrez                                                                                                                     Miriam Sarralde/Ana Vázquez

961341270                                                                                                                                              696 00 57 43/645 41 92 90