EU commissioner Mariya Gabriel has today (30 March) met with founders from some of Europe’s top companies and unicorns to work on a new EU policy for innovation.
The group comprises 35 European companies that are either unicorns or on the path to become unicorns. It includes one from each EU member state and another eight start-ups led by women.
The selection was made by the Commissioners’ office based on the assessment of technology, capital raised, current and prospective company valuation (focusing on market potential), patents and other assets, and existing market leadership.
Companies in the group span a number of industries including hardware, fintech, deeptech and greentech.
The leaders will meet quarterly to discuss their experiences, visions and ideas for the creation of a unified European innovation ecosystem.
Gabriel said European unicorns are needed to “pave the way” towards a sustainable and resilient recovery.
“We aim to ensure that the voice of leading innovators is heard all along the process of building an ambitious European Innovation Policy,” she said.
In the meeting, the group discussed how innovation can contribute to a green transition, Europe’s tech sovereignty, the importance of deeptech and lessening the fragmentation of regulation across innovation areas.
One of the meeting’s participants, Martins Valters, co-founder of Latvian start-up Mintos, spoke about the importance of lessening the fragmentation within regulatory frameworks.
“Our company is currently in the process of becoming a regulated marketplace and the effort on the regulators side is significant to be able to synthesise existing regulatory frameworks and our innovative service – such processes should have more support for both regulators and start-ups,” he said. “I think we should remove the unnecessary obstacles.”
Valters also spoke about the need for better support to access the capital possessed by the EU so that investors could have the opportunity to invest.
“In the EU, we are actually sitting on a pile of capital that could be invested in small, medium, or even larger ventures, ideas or alternative assets. I believe the biggest need might be not as much the support in terms of funds from EU institutions, but allowing access to that capital, and for investors to have the opportunity to invest,” he said.
Despite the economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe experienced a record-breaking year for investment value in 2020.
According to Pitchbook’s European Venture Report for 2020, the overall venture capital deal value reached a new annual record of €42.8bn in 2020 with several start-ups raising more than €500m in funding.
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