Today, more than 30 founders and CEOs of successful European tech companies urged European leaders to create a “Next Innovation EU” plan with clear directions and ambitious flagships to accelerate the green and digital transitions and ensure Europe’s leadership in the next wave of innovation. As a founding member of this EU Unicorns group, Skeleton Technologies’ co-founder and CEO Taavi Madiberk spoke at the kick-off meeting of this new initiative and introduced one of the key priorities highlighted by the founders to EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel : Europe's deep tech leadership.
More than 30 Founders and CEOs of European tech companies have been invited by Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Education, Culture and Media, to share their experiences, visions and ideas for the rise of a European innovation ecosystem. The EU Commissioner stated: "We need European Unicorns to pave the way towards Europe's sustainable and resilient recovery, accelerate the green and digital transitions, and ensure Europe's technological sovereignty."
This newly-created EU Unicorns Group will provide thought leadership and contribute to creating a new generation of global Champions coming from the EU.
"My idea is not to have a one-off meeting, but to ensure that the voice of leading innovators is heard all along the process of building an ambitious European Innovation Policy", said the Commissioner, who announced that the group will be meeting twice or three times a year.
The main directions proposed by the group for the “Next Innovation EU” plan are :
- Green Transformation: ensuring innovation contributes to a successful green transition.
- Tech Sovereignty: ensuring innovation leads to achieving a European Strategic Tech Autonomy
- Deep Tech Leadership: ensuring Europe's leadership in the next wave of innovation fuelled by new technological breakthroughs and science.
- Innovation Cohesion: ensuring innovation becomes essential to territorial cohesion and growth in the EU.
These directions set the route for flagships that will be fully implemented during the mandate of the current European Commission to develop Europe’s technological leadership for the next decades.
The EU Unicorns Group explained National Recovery Plans offer a great opportunity for the Member States to drive innovation and create future socio-economic growth opportunities. Governments should seize the opportunities offered by digital transformation, deep and green tech, to develop the technological stack that will allow the EU to become a global tech leader in the next wave of innovations.
Among the proposed flagships, the group suggested a European Tech Fund to invest in the industrial sectors of tomorrow. The fund should aim to leverage at least €100B in public/private funding to anchor European Champions, and have a long-term, equity-based focus with a commercial, profit-oriented model.
In addition, the group discussed the implementation of a new innovation-oriented public procurement policy able to buy early-stage innovations with low bureaucracy and a clear mandate to take risks.
Taavi Madiberk, co-founder and CEO of Skeleton Technologies, who introduced this proposal, explained:
“Europe is strong in R&D and deep tech in academia but, due to lack of commercialization, has fallen behind the US and China. The public sector can have a strong role as the early, supportive customer for frontier technology, mobilizing procurement to eliminate market risk before a new technology is commercially ready. But innovation must be in the DNA of public procurement policy. We cannot be always paying for the past, we need to invest in the future”.
“With deep tech innovation and the green transition combined, we are witnessing the largest industrial revolution. There will undoubtedly be winners and losers, which is why we feel the need for speed. The public sector can act as a catalyst, but solutions will come from the private sector“, he added, suggesting to also launch a European flagship fund to act as a cornerstone for more high quality IPOs for deeptech startups in Europe, underlining the importance of capital markets in the growth of deep tech startups.
The European Battery Alliance – of which Skeleton Technologies is a member – has been mentioned as a great model to duplicate in other deep tech sectors such as hydrogen, quantum computing, and 6G.
The EU Unicorns Group is comprised of more than 30 European Companies. The selection was based on the assessment of technology, capital raised, current and prospective company valuation (focusing on market potential), patents and other assets, or existing market leadership. In addition to Skeleton Technologies, other members are: Adyen, Almotive, Bitpanda, Blablacar, Bolt, Booking.com, Brainly, Cabify, Collibra, FacilityLive, Geneplanet, GTMHub, Hellasdirect, HMD Global, HotJar, Immedis, Indigo diabetes,Innovafeed, IO Biotech, Klarna, Lilium, Mintos, Neuron SW, Northvolt, Photoneo, Rimac automobile, Spotawheel, Supercell, TWINO, UiPath, Unbabel, Vinted, Zalando.