We formed to support policymakers at national and European level in developing policies and ideas that will enable and encourage growth and innovation.
Irish born Vanessa has spent the last 18 years working for Fortune 1000 and governments. Published author and co-author of “Your Company with No Walls” she has spent the last decade running successful remote companies from the UK and Ireland. Her mantra “when you finally find your life’s purpose that is when the real fun begins” Vanessa’s mission is simple…. through real time data intelligence and an engaged virtual work and learning place amazing outputs can be achieved in job creation, re-skilling, inclusivity and sustainability of our world.
As Director EU Policy at Allied for Startups Benedikt engages on policy files ranging from AI to online platform regulation. He is passionate about building legislation that empowers innovators, after having worked on the Digital Single Market (including GDPR, Copyright, P2B, Geo-blocking) in the last four years. Prior to joining AFS he worked for the European Small Business Alliance, Deutsche Welle and completed a traineeship at the Council of Europe. Benedikt holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and History from Jacobs University Bremen and a Master of Arts in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins University.
Kadri Tammai is the CEO of Tehnopol Startup Incubator and member of the Management Board at Tehnopol Ventures. She has advised top leaders in the public and private sector for over 15 years and is passionate about innovation and startup ecosystems. She is an active mentor at hackathons and for several other startup programs. She is also an expert for the Estonian government innovation program called Accelerate Estonia. Kadri has been a startuper herself and is now a lecturer at Tallinn University of Technology where she worked out a startup oriented program for university students.
Dr. Christophe Carugati is a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation. At the Center, his works focus on data-related issues. He holds a Doctor in Law and Economics on Big Data and Competition Law from Paris II University, a Master in Law Economics from the European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE, University of Bologna, Hamburg, and Vienna), a master in Business Law from Aix-Marseille University, and a double Bachelor in Law and Economics from Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
Lauri has almost twenty years of experience on changing the world and businesses with digital innovation. The last five years Lauri been acting on executive roles at Solita and is currently leading Solita’s accounts, sales, and industries in Finland. Lauri’s vision is that world will become even more connected especially on business side during next few years. Traditional business models will be disrupted with new ecosystems where digital and traditional companies create value through new supply channels and services.
Jorge followed a bachelor’s in Computer Science back in his home country of Spain. He then moved to Amsterdam to start a master’s degree in Artificial Intelligence. During his university years, he had the chance of becoming a founding member of Connecterra. Since then, Jorge has experienced first-hand how a startup grows from a 1-person office to a team of 35+ people, along with the various challenges, changes and learnings that entails. He is currently Director of Data Science at Connecterra.
The Covid crisis has revealed the critical importance of the tech sector in responding to the greatest challenges facing humanity. Now is the time for a tech-powered recovery to create new jobs and build future pandemic resilience.
Our new report makes 11 recommendations to enable start-ups and scale-ups to grow faster and provide economic growth, whilst at the same time enabling governments and citizens to be better prepared for future challenges.
Though the AI White Paper has a number of strengths, including its ambition to improve data access in Europe and the importance placed on not overburdening SMEs with regulation, its weaknesses could seriously damage Europe’s tech sector.
We at Digital Future for Europe call for a tighter definition fo AI and ‘high-risk’ AI, urge the Commission to invest in skills, and stress the importance of start-ups and SMEs.
The EU’s AI white paper will have a significant impact on the use and growth of AI around Europe.
Digital Future for Europe’s initial response outlines our concerns, including the overly broad definition of high risk AI and the problems with ex ante legislation.
We believe that European tech policy must follow the lead of the Europe’s most successful digital front-runners.
Our manifesto, initiated at the request of D9 governments in 2019, announces 12 key policy priorities for a bright tech future.
Digital Future for Europe presents 18 key policy recommendations to shape the future of AI in Europe, the result of workshops and interviews with a wide range of startups, unicorns and associations in countries across the D9.
Our recommendations address the renewal of skills systems, the importance of collaboration on AI across countries, and how best to make the EU AI-ready.
Digital Future for Europe conducted an opinion research project on the views of industry within the D9 group of governments – this included start-ups, trade associations and unicorns.
This report presents our findings on key issues such as access to talent, financing, market access, and key priorities for the future digital agenda of the EU.
While the United States and China have the edge when it comes to investment and scale, Europe has its advantages too.
Europe has a highly educated population, great public services which are ripe for transformation, and strong stable democratic governments. It also boasts world-leading businesses in transport, energy, food and drink, and telecommunications. It must exploit these strengths better.
We believe Europe’s strengths could be better harnessed. To succeed in the age of AI, it must promote innovation, embrace smart regulation, and strive to attract talent from abroad, and develop talent from home.
Europe can become more competitive. It’s not enough to think about those companies that exist today. The goal should be to create an ecosystem for the companies and technologies of the future to develop and thrive in Europe. It is technology that fuelled the historic wealth of Europe – from the printing press to antibiotics – and it is technology that will drive its future.
Our publications and policy positions are informed by the experiences of coalition members. We are grateful to everyone who gives us the time to offer their thoughts and expertise. Our campaign is kindly supported by Google.
These are our policy priorities:
A digitised single market, not a digital single market.
The single market needs completing, and it needs to be fully digitised in its function and scope. Artificial intelligence must be at its heart. Digital technology will be most effective and most transformative when it is applied to the whole economy, and it is digital technologies which enable the single market to operate.
Developing a digitised single market will allow the free flow of innovation and ideas around Europe, and revolutionise the economy in the 21st century, as the Single Market revolutionised the European economy at the end of the 20th.
The D9 must lead by example.
Europe’s digital frontrunners can show how harmonising regulations and sharing data between nations offers huge benefit to the digital industries and the wider economy.
For example, the data-sharing and cooperation between Estonia and Finland, and the digital collaboration between the Benelux states can be used as a blueprint for the D9 and the EU at large. This way, we can create a ‘fast lane’ for the digital industries in Europe, and show how successful and practical innovation can be.
The public sector must be much better used at domestic and EU level to support European SMEs and innovation.
This should include embracing open data principles in the public sector, to encourage innovation in public services, and significantly lower the barriers to entry for start-ups and scale-ups who want to compete for public contracts. The public sector accounts for nearly half of Europe’s buying power, and it can provide Europe’s digital ecosystems with the support they need.
Skills and talent are two of Europe’s greatest assets, and a key to future growth.
They must be pushed to the top of the economic reform agenda. As talent becomes more competitive the EU must focus on three things: educating the next generation for a digital era; supporting the current workforce to reskill; and ensuring Europe attracts and retains the talent its digital industries sorely need.
Open up public sector datasets in the D9 countries to automate government processes.
Learn from each others’ work and aim to invest in automation in the public sector, in a range of priority areas, such as transport, clean energy, education and healthcare.
Introduce the free movement of data and data interoperability between D9 states.
The D9 can and should be a trial area for new innovations with data. D9 nations Estonia and Finland are leading the way with the unification of their government data, and the group should follow. This will allow AI companies to expand across Europe, and pull down electronic barriers within the Single Market.
Lobby the EU to conduct an AI ‘refit’ of existing and future legislation.
The EU has a ‘refit programme’ to improve its legislation, and make it more efficient and effective, particularly for small businesses. An AI refit would amend laws like GDPR, and help put the needs of SMEs and startups at the heart of EU policy
2021 has been a big year for the Digital Future for Europe coalition. Following the creation of our first steering group, we held a survey of our membership, and have spoken with high-profile MEPs about the results.
Now, we are happy to announce that the next step in our mission to make the voices of European start-ups and tech businesses heard is the creation of the Digital Future for Europe Blog!
In addition to the detailed policy reports the coalition puts out, we want to use the blog to promote less formal and more relaxed contributions from our membership.
The blog will include everything from opinion pieces to organisation introductions, from exciting tech success case studies to interviews with members.
We encourage all members to get in touch with any of the above or whatever else appeals to you – the blog is here for all of you to use in whatever way you see fit. We see the blog as a crucial platform in bringing together different views from across Europe – it is your chance to share your own unique perspective with over a hundred other tech organisations across the continent.
We hope that the blog can continue to raise the profile of the coalition in Europe and bring our coalition closer together!
Connecterra is on a mission to empower farmers to increase their productivity while reducing the impact of farming on the planet. Our Amsterdam-based company has teams on three continents, a product presence in 18 countries and partnerships with some of the biggest global dairy brands. We believe the key to achieving our mission is to make data more accessible to the everyday decision makers across the industry. Our solution is Ida, the intelligent dairy assistant.
Personified as a “she” and characterized as a member of the farm team, Ida’s platform enables farmers, their advisors and other stakeholders to make timely, better-informed decisions. In doing this, Ida helps the dairy industry become more efficient, productive and ultimately, sustainable.
We are proud to have launched our first event of 2021 – Making the DSA work for startups.
We were joined by Henna Virkkunen MEP, Greg Mroczkowski, Director of Public policy, IAB Europe; and Dr Mikolaj Barczentewicz, Senior Lecturer in Public Law and Legal Theory.
The event followed a traditional structure with each panellist offering opening remarks before a moderated Q&A with the chair and audience. It was a rich session that was often technical in nature touching on specific proposals within the DSA. From the outset the session was framed as exploring how the DSA could be made to work for Europe’s thriving tech startup scene and small enterprises.
Henna opened the discussion with her reflections on the process so far. She remarked that policy-makers often only thought about the VLOPs without giving thought to the impacts that it would have downstream on the rest of the ecosystem. Her role as a member of the ITRE committee was to ensure that those stakeholders were considered and given voice. Several times throughout the discussion, Henna emphasised the importance of ensuring the DSA did not amount to unnecessary red tape on smaller businesses whose size and operational model would leave them struggling to comply. She reflected that the Scandinavian tradition is more laissez-faire than the demanding proposals in the DSA and that would inevitably cause frictions.
Mikolaj’s remarks focused on the apparent lack of consultation and collaboration with SMBs in the creation of the DSA. He centred his argument around two examples. First, he argued that the DSA’s stipulations on transparency in advertising – though designed to regulate the activity of larger platforms – would have undesirable spill-over consequences for SMEs in that the funding source and target demographic specifications of any ad campaign would be readily examined and could completely erode the competitive advantage of an SME with highly specialised knowledge of how to reach its target consumer base. His second example targeted out of court settlements which he argued could be potentially crippling to tech startups in particular who may operate at high turnover but with little to no reserves.
Finally, Greg’s contribution centred on online advertising emphasised the importance of online advertising for European SMEs. He mentioned a recent survey which showed that 50% of businesses found that digital advertising was currently more important than ever. Targeted advertising was particularly important to SMEs with limited revenues who need to be diligent in ensuring return on advertising investment. Henna agreed – start-ups did not have enough money to run big adverts on TV channels or national newspapers, and so online adverts presented an important point of entry.
If you’re a startup or business that shares our aim of a positive, ambitious and innovative digital agenda for Europe, now is the time to join us.
We can only succeed by working together. If our governments are to create the conditions for thriving tech ecosystems and healthy startup cultures, they need to hear from companies like ours. It’s a big challenge, but an even bigger opportunity. This group exists to help Europe seize that opportunity.