Next generation of European unicorns sought for Silicon Valley invasion

By: John Kennedy

The European Commission and Startup Europe are seeking “the next generation of EU unicorns” to join the next Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley mission.

Although European unicorns may be as scarce as the mythical origin of their name, the European Commission and Startup Europe are seeking “the next generation of EU unicorns” to compete in the next Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley week-long mission in September.

The aim of Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) is to expose scale-ups – mature start-ups ready for the big time – to the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Interested companies from all over Europe should apply via the f6s scale-up form, open for one-and-a-half months starting from today (2 March), after which a committee of leading US and European investors will select 15 companies to participate in SEC2SV 2016.

To take part, the start-up must be a European company, have achieved at least 20pc revenue growth year-over-year for the last three years and wish to expand into the US market or already be present there.

Last year, 14 European start-ups from nine countries took part, including German firms Shopgate and Entrade, the UK’s Relaeyes and Versarien, Spain’s Job and Talent, Italy’s Mosaicoon and France’s TVTY.

During SEC2SV, scale-ups will be able to present at European Innovation Day, which will have 60 speakers and 800 attendees, as well as at a dedicated three-day Scale-up Summit.


Impressions from SEC2016 in London: A weekend with the next generation of entrepreneurs

By: Thomas Ohr

On 20th-21st of February, I attended the Student Enterprise Conference in London. An exciting event for students who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. It was co-organized by NACUE (National Association of College & University Entrepreneurs) and MY-WAY, a Startup Europe project with the goal to help more young adults to become successful web entrepreneurs.

It was a weekend packed full with inspiring talks, practical workshops and networking opportunities. One of the most entertaining seminars I attended was called “how to network like a boss”, with Dwain Reid. Since this workshop, I know who we have to blame for the fact that talking to strangers makes us sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable – it’s our mothers, of course! They told us that we shouldn’t talk to strangers in the first place.

Other great sessions included talks on how to pitch, with David Trayford, and how to raise money for your startup, with John Spindler. But my personal highlight of this event really were the attendees themselves!

Over 400 students from all over the UK, but also from other European countries, decided to skip partying and/or relaxing for a weekend to learn something about entrepreneurship and to meet with like-minded people. They listened carefully to the talks, took notes and asked many intelligent questions.

I personally talked to more than a handful of young students who are already working on their startup. The MY-WAY project, in which EU-Startups is one of the 10 partners, is exactly about this next generation of entrepreneurs. MY-WAY wants to empower students and young adults to be successful implementing their own ideas. The ambitious project helps them with contacts and networking possibilities, but also with access to information they need. One example is the MY-WAY map, which provides aspiring entrepreneurs with a ton of information about the key players (investors, accelerators, etc.) within their regional startup ecosystem.

Long story short: The Student Enterprise Conference in London was really exciting and I’m looking forward to the next edition.


Bridging the gap between science and entrepreneurship (Part I)

By: ePlus Ecosystem

Nowadays people search job opportunities or candidates mainly online. However,  existing  website are  generic  and  startups  not  only  face  the  competition  of  big  corporations  but  additionally  the experience  is  not  focused  on  recruitment  across  borders  which  can  be  an  enriching  experience, especially  fit  for  growth  stage  startups  and  talented  individuals.  The  task  to  find  appropriate matches  is  then  even  more  difficult  because  of  the  large  number  of items  to  look  for  and  manual compatibility verification.

Among  other  recommendations  highlighted  in  the  Startup  Manifesto,  improving  access  to  talent  is seen  as  a  pivoting  issue  that  Startup  Europe  is  diligently  addressing.  One  of  the  talent  services developed  by  SE  via  ePlus  ecosystem  (Date-a-researcher)  is  focused  on  innovative  startups  able  to exploit  new  scientific  knowledge  directly  from  the  academy  through  students,  young  researchers, and  specialists.  Our  ePlus  partners,  who  will  overview  the  whole  matchmaking  process,  have  long proven  expertise  of  working with  startups  and  recognise  what  could  or  not  be  a  good  opportunity. Once  a  suitable  match  is  flagged,  each  side  receives  recommendations, guidelines,  and  additional opportunities  that  can  further  support  the  recruitment  process,  such  as  financial  support   for travelling  for  matchmaking  events,  relocation,  or  PhD  recruitment support  for  SMEs  via  other European  Commission’s  initiatives  (e.g.  Horizon 2020 SME Innovation Associate –Funding PhD recruitment in SMEs).

Yet, if this service does not immediately appeal to you, you should be also aware that Startup Europe is working with a broader scope for improving the access to talent. Ultimately, Startup Europe’s matchmaking services for talent are designed for growing a business to an international level backed by excellent technological advancements across Europe. The services provided via ePlus ecosystem include:

  • Date-an-entrepreneur: matches researchers working on exploitable scientific results with entrepreneurs to help them take their research results to the market and reap maximum business potential.
  • Date-a-Researcher: matches researchers with startups looking for specific academic skills or scientific knowledge.


There is still a lot that can be implemented in order to improve cross-breeding of innovation around Europe, but we do hope you make the most out of this initiative. Don’t miss out on the chance to connect with us to explore your options and a roster of resources to grow a competitive and technology-based business building on the pan-European research community and our excellent scientific research results.

Advantages and benefits of the Date-a-Researcher matchmaking process:

  • Specialized recruitment for startups (new/graduated students or high qualified researchers that are seeking different/new projects to participate)*;
  • High visibility to Startups which have enrolled in this process, through Startup Europe and ePlus (We are interested in identifying cross-regional case studies and that will prove to be a great promotional opportunity);
  • Personalized services, including counseling and additional funding lines for the recruitment process;
  • Growth oriented, the Database is international: this allows a European person/researcher who wants to come to work in a startup –be it located in Lisbon, Nice, Baden-Württemberg, or any other European region – to easily find interesting opportunities and, at the same time, enables the startup to grow in its own culture plurality, among other benefits.

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After the success of the Startup Europe Week, let’s get ready for the European Maker Week

By: Roberto Viola

European Maker Week takes place from 30 May to 5 June, drawing in more people to the fascinating new Maker world

You’ve probably heard about Arduino or about Raspberry Pi. Or maybe one of your children is using one of these open source developments to make their own toys. The Maker movement is about creating and not consuming; about doing it yourself or with others, rather than waiting for someone to do it for you. It’s about Bringing maker culture to schools where we can boost creativity and innovation.

European Maker Week can draw on some good examples of bottom-up activity.

The third edition of EU Code Week brought together more than half a million people last year. The next edition will take place this year between 15th and 23rd October.

Startup Europe Week also saw activities take place all over Europe, in the largest ever event of this kind, connecting start-ups and potential startuppers with partners, collaborators and mentors while showcasing new opportunities for business creation, resources or financing. Over 250 volunteering organizations hosted more than 500 events dedicated to start-ups. They reached out to more than 30,000 entrepreneurial mind-sets in Europe. #SEweek16 was also a very visible success on social media, trending in many countries on Twitter and with 21.000 mentions. Thanks to the volunteers of the core team and the nearly 500 volunteers across the EU.

After StartUpEurope Week, local authorities are working more closely with their local start-ups ecosystems. For instance, new regional initiatives for start-ups were launched last week in the Italian cities of Foggia and Pavia, but also in the Spanish region of Extremadura and in Burgos I am sure more will be on the way.

But now, let’s get ready for the next challenge: the European Maker Week, organized by StartUpEurope and Maker Faire Rome.

Are you participating in a FabLab, in a makerspace or in a university lab? Then why not organise a local event in your town?

Maybe you are interested in the maker movement but want to know more? Ask the organisers, they will help you!

@StartUpEU #StartUpEU #SEweek16 #EMWeek16

Vice President Ansip and President of CoR Marko Markkula blog post

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