12 Entrepreneurs

Interview with BOM Financial Investments

The Brabant province straddles the border of Belgium and the Netherlands. To the south it reaches into the Belgian capital city of Brussels the home of IMEC, arguably the leading nanotech research center in the world. To the north it comprises most of the Dutch southern communities and the home of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. New Tech Press sat down with representatives from the northern province Marcel de Haan, Director of Strategic Acquisition and Bodo DeWit, senior project manager, to talk about the one-stop-shop for technology companies looking to expand into Europe.


Poland a bright spot in EU fiscal woes

Recently, bad economic news has been almost a daily occurrence out of the European Union, but there are occasional bright spots that miss the regular news cycle.  Poland seems to be one of them. Poland is due to become an official member of the Euro Zone in January 2012 and is obliged, under the terms of the Treaty of Accession 2003, to replace its current currency, the Zloty, with the Euro, however, the country may adopt the Euro no earlier than 2019.  That's probably good news for Polish start ups that seem to be able to find plenty of government support and venture capital for a raft of innovative technologies.

Footwasher Media's Lou Covey sat down with three Polish startup companies touring Silicon Valley recently, as they were on the hunt for partners and investors to help them expand into the US.  The three companies were Ekoenergetyka with electric vehicle charging technology, virtual environment maker i3d , and a chemical synthesis innovator called Apeiron.

This interview is the first in a series of reports and interviews on the state of European innovation and efforts of the European Commission's Digital Agenda.



Austrian startup to challenge Hollywood hegemony

The Hercules Film Network, based in Vienna, Austria is looking to do to the film industry what Napster did with the music industry, but without stealing content.  Instead, founder and CEO Roman Tolic is looking at taking control of film production, financing and distribution away from the studios and Hollywood executives, and put it in the hands of independent film makers and audiences. (WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE) Tolic has created a social media platform, ready to go live soon, that makes it possible for for everyone involved in producing an independent film to collaborate online, with additional input from audiences who can not only make input regarding what kind of movie they would like to see before the script is finished, but can also participate in financing the film through microinvestment.  This effectively cuts out agents, managers, studios and the financiers that currently run the industry.

Tolic and is company are part of the 12 Entrepreneur Movement birthed out of the Sunnyvale Plugandplay Tech Center.  He's currently back in Austria putting the final touches on his platform and meeting with representatives of the European Commission on funding and promotion

New EU movement looks to change how startups are done

The 12 Entrepreneurs, an unusual movement made up of start-up leaders, government representatives and service providers from Europe and the US, launched officially recently at the PlugandPlay Center in Sunnyvale with the goal of developing a new model for funding and supporting startups. Here is the interview: Founders of the group, Roman Tolic of Austria- based Hercules Film Network, and Emmanuel Carraud of MagicSolver of the UK, formed the organization with the purpose of building bridges between the centers of innovation around the world, finance visionary projects and create jobs in the US and Europe.  While the initial group is made of the “founding 12,” Carraud said, “Membership is open to anyone who is interested in the potential of building a bridge between Europe and Silicon Valley.”

“The 12 Entrepreneurs do not represent any single organization, but rather an ideal of inter-supportive entrepreneurship for the coming decade,” Tolic explained. “The 12 want to make the world a better place for entrepreneurs everywhere.”

Speakers at the event included Saeed Amidi, founder of PlugandPlay, and Ida Rose Sylvester, managing partner at Silicon Valley Link, both of whom highlighted the innovation potential in Europe and the struggle to bring a successful and cohesive approach to supporting startups on a pan-European basis.  Sylvester pointed out that while there are literally hundreds of organizations in the Silicon Valley representing separate regional development agencies, until now, there has never been a  concentrated effort to support all of Europe.

After the speakers concluded, Tolic announced that the Belgian government and the Vienna IT Enterprises have made formal financial commitments to the movement.

A highlight of the event was the signing of a manifesto outlining the group’s goals and purposes.  Signers included entrepreneurs and government representatives from Austria, France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Norwey, Italy, Czech Republic, Centrope Region (encompassing Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary), Sweden, and the US

Following the presentations, group members and the audience of more than 40 interested parties began a brainstorming session on what the next steps for the organization should be, including:

  • Expanded and financed access to resource partners
  • Open networking opportunities
  • Creative funding approaches
  • Crowdsourcing to resolve manpower issues
  • Co-innovation to roll up potential competitor into stronger companies
  • Encouraging investors to get in for the longer term
  • Find better customers and make those customer better
  • Open university workshops in entrepreneurialism

Tolic and Carraud have left for Europe to attend to the businesses but also to meet formally with the European Commission, government leaders and business organizations that have expressed interest in supporting the organization.  In the US, the movement will be led by Prasad K. R. an angel investor for mobile software companies; Carles Cabret,  a business development associate for the Spanish incubator Inspirit, and Lou Covey, a Silicon Valley communications strategist.

12 Entrepreneurs is on Facebook and Linkedin.