The 3rd edition of Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) took place a month ago and hosted a full week of pitches, mentoring sessions, panels, workshops, networking activities and the European Innovation Day Conference, in which more than 500 people enhanced the America-Europe Tech connection forged by EIT Digital and Mind The Bridge.
EU policy makers, national and regional European representatives, corporates, fundraisers, consultants, tech influencers, business angels and entrepreneurs, were all part of the diverse and extremely talented group of people who gathered in September 18-22 for Silicon Valley's biggest Pan-European event of the year. They all came to illustrate the diversity and magnitude of the talent and innovation the EU technology ecosystem is sending towards Silicon Valley and around the world.
14 scaleups from 9 different EU countries, including three from EIT Digital's Accelerator and one EIT Digital Challenge winner, were selected to showcase their innovative products and be trained in the best American entrepreneurial practices. With them, European politicians and Government officials, along with representatives of top-level corporations gave a strong message to Silicon Valley and the World: 'Europe rocks'. (Full list of participants here). EIT Digital's CEO, Willem Jonker, made a keynote on the European Perspective on Digital Transformation and the Platform Economy and came to a conclusion: "Europe is cool again, but we need to have a global mind-set in order to succeed in the interconnected modern Economy."
All the institutions that hosted the delegation (Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, VMware, K&L Gates, Andreessen Horowitz, and UC Berkeley) are totally aware of Europe's emerging strengths. They are impressed and conscientious about the unique network of top-level Education centres Europe treasures, the disruptive and genuine projects and ideas coming out from European entrepreneurs, and the fact that EU companies are leading worldwide in several fields, such as Telecommunications (Telefonica, T-Mobile), IoT, eHealth and Digital Infrastructures (Siemens, Philips, Ericsson, Nokia). They have understood that promoting, investing in and integrating European technology will be crucial for Silicon Valley and very beneficial for the mutual economic relations between the US and the EU. Also, American experts encourage Europeans to believe in our capacity and implement the necessary reforms to increase alternatives to bank funding systems, encourage entrepreneurial mind-sets and establish legal frameworks to make sure that internal borders and bureaucracy don't stop the EU from becoming the powerhouse we can potentially be.
To achieve those purposes and make sure that the next Global digital unicorns are ‘made in Europe', EIT Digital will continue working day by day to strengthen the entrepreneurial skills of emerging technology leaders through our Master School, Doctoral School and Professional School programmes. At the very same time, our Silicon Valley hub will be open for European talent to penetrate the American market through our Accelerator, with our Pan-European ecosystem of over 150 corporations, Universities and Technological centres that comprise EIT Digital continuing to push to make a solid and united continent capable of taking tomorrow's innovation to new heights.
Some testimonies from participating scaleups:
Cristina de la Maza, COO of Redborder (Spain) asserted: "Participating in SEC2SV has been an extraordinary opportunity for us to meet great stakeholders and to have a complete overview of the Silicon Valley ecosystem. It has also helped us in clarifying our strategy towards the US market and feeling the speed of the development of high-tech in cybersecurity and AI."
For Zsolt Németh, App-Ray CEO (Austria), who has been coming to Silicon Valley very frequently, "Thanks to SEC2SV I was able to explore it from another angle: although we have great technologies and teams, we cannot really compete on the boldness part. Therefore, if you go to the Valley and want to make a difference there, you have to hustle a lot."
Thomas Kirchner, CEO, ProGlove (Germany): "After SEC2SV we really got an idea on how Silicon Valley ticks. The exchange among the participants was great and we got hands on help from the lawyers to get into the US market."
In Fabrice Pakin words, (CEO of Ignilife from France): "going to San Francisco for the SEC2SV program was an inspiring journey to discover the Valley dynamic and culture. I really appreciate the open-mind and relevant coaching to challenge my company. The conferences and visits gave me great insights and networking opportunities. Highly recommendable for a scale-up willing to know in a reduced time how and what to do to go into the US market."