Europe's expanding interactions with Silicon Valley are highlighted in the latest report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, titled "Innovation Bridge: Technology, Startups, and Europe's Connection to Silicon Valley."
During the event that presented the report and was held in San Francisco on July 25 at Runway, EIT Digital's CEO Willem Jonker expressed strong confidence in the future of Europe and indicated that now, after the financial crisis has been overcome, "Europe is cool again." He emphasized Europe's increased attractiveness and encouraged regular and close interactions between the continent and Silicon Valley. "Europe has an industry to digitalise and the great potential of this economic and societal transformation can be highly beneficial for both sides of the Atlantic."
The report's outcomes were presented by author Sean Randolph and demonstrate that Europe is a major economic actor in the Bay Area through trade, investment, and people. More than any other region in the world, Europe enjoys strong ties to Silicon Valley and the Bay Area through technology and innovation, particularly through startups. The report also analyses the startup map and the environment in Europe for starting and growing technology companies, as well as the underlying factors that lead numerous startups to the Bay Area.
However, there are still steps to be taken in order to further strengthen the connections between these two regions, the richest and most dynamic in the world. Among others, Europe needs to materialise the implementation of the Digital Single Market with a standardisation that ensures that billions of devices will be able to connect and share data with each other - independently of the manufacturer, operating system, or other technical details. Also, a Capital Markets Union in the EU would allow European startups to expand in a larger, more accessible common market.
On the other hand, American accelerators and venture capitalists can expand their presence in the EU and benefit from a stronger footprint as Europe's startup environment expands. At the national level, the creation of a ‘startup visa' to help entrepreneurs from other countries come to the US could expand the number of startups coming to the Bay Area, enable them to stay longer, and address an issue that founders often cite as an obstacle to their ability to establish roots and grow in the US.
The Director of EIT Digital's Silicon Valley Hub, Eric Thelen, stated: "We connect the European ecosystem of EIT Digital to Silicon Valley - as both geographies have much to offer to each other. We are very happy to collaborate with the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the Association of the European Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations and many other actors to further strengthen the connections between Europe and Silicon Valley."
The report can be downloaded here.
The creation of the report has been supported by the European Union and leaders of several government agencies, universities, accelerators, venture firms, and private companies, including many startup founders, provided contributions.