From Startups to Scaleups – SEP Press Release Europe 2020 Summit

From Startups to Scaleups

Startup Europe Partnership officially launched at Europe 2020 Summit in Brussels

“European Startups can innovate and create jobs like no-one else”, according to Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, Responsible for Digital Agenda

“Over 1,000 startups raised more than $1M in the last three years. Some of them have the opportunity to become the next global new-tech leaders”, Alberto Onetti, Startup Europe Partnership, says

During the first SEP Matching Event in Naples (Italy) on May 13th four large corporations met a few highly selected European “champion” startups. 4 additional Matching Events will be scheduled throughout Europe in 2014, also to share best practices.

Brussels, 22 May 2014 – It’s time to have a new generation of European new technology giants.
This morning Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) was officially launched during Europe 2020 Summit in Brussels, together with European Digital Forum, the think-tank spearheaded by the Lisbon Council and Nesta. SEP is a platform for scaling-up the most promising European technology startups, led by Mind The Bridge, Nesta and the Factory. These two initiatives have been developed in collaboration with the European Commissionʼs Directorate-General Communications Networks, Content and Technology.

The opening address of this yearʼs edition has been delivered by José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, with the keynote “Adapting Europe 2020 for the Post-Crisis World” whereas Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President and responsible for the Digital Agenda, has opened the plenary session with a keynote titled “Strengthening the European Ecosystem for Tech Entrepreneurs and Boosting the Digital Economy”.

“European Startups can innovate and create jobs like no-one else – Neelie Kroes said – We need to give them a platform to compete, raise funding, and break through the glass ceiling to global success. It’s good to have the SEP working with so many organisations to offer that boost.”

Strengthening and Boosting the European ecosystem, by giving the best startups a concrete opportunity to scale up and become global leaders. Since the announcement given in Davos on January 23rd in occasion of The World Economic Forum, Startup Europe Partnership has made a lot of progress to turn its goals into actions, following the three main actions established by the programme: Matching, Mapping, and Sharing.

On May 13th, the first SEP Matching Event took place in Naples, Italy: in the morning, during the Opening Session, 10+ speakers from large European corporations shared best practices on how to bridge startups with large corporates and effectively run corporate venture initiatives (watch the video here).

In the afternoon, in the closed-door matching session, senior executives from four big European corporates met nine of the most promising European startups (from Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and UK) with the goal of assessing opportunities in terms of procurement, investments and – eventually – acquisitions. Follow-up bilateral meetings are expected to come.

The same day Startup Europe Partnership has announced the first SEP Corporate Member: Telecom Italia joined the partnership that already includes BBVA, Orange and Telefónica as founding partners.

“There is still a huge gap between the US and the European startup ecosystems – Alberto Onetti, Chairman of Mind the Bridge, said this morning introducing SEP during his speech in Brussels – The main difference is the number of startups that are able to scale up and have an exit and/or become global leaders. The good news is that – according to our research [see SEP Monitor – May 2014] – over 1,000 European startups raised more than $1M in the last three years. Then we have a pretty wide pool of startups that have the prerequisite to become the next global new-tech leaders. Startup Europe Partnership is designed to help these companies to scale up by matching with large corporates. We strongly believe that concrete opportunities for procurement, investment and acquisitions may arise and hopefully new Europe tech leaders may emerge from our ecosystems.”


During the SEP Matching Events the best European startups have the possibility to have qualified meetings with key decision makers from large corporates interested in new technologies and business models. As announced this morning at the Summit, new SEP Matching Events have been scheduled for the next months: Madrid, on June 26th, in partnership with “Startup The Fusion”, and London, on November 21st, in collaboration with “Silicon Valley comes to UK”. Other two Matching Events will also be scheduled in October and December.

SEP is one of the six actions for web entrepreneurs defined in the Commission Communication “Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan” (European Commission, January 2012) and conceived to realise some key recommendations included in the Startup Manifesto. The work programme, promoted by the European Commission, is led by Mind the Bridge Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in Italy and United States, with the support of Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation and The Factory, campus for startups and mature tech companies in Berlin. Partners include Telefónica, Orange, BBVA (Founding) and Telecom Italia (SEP Corporate Member) with the institutional support of the European Investment Fund/European Investment Bank Group, Cambridge University, IE Business School and Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society.