IMG_6237On the 5th of May, Baybars Altuntas, TBAA President was invited to participate in a panel and dinner discussion by Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, US Ambassador to the EU in Brussels — all organised in cooperation with The European Trade Association for Early Stage Market Players (EBAN). The programme focused on a US-Europe Dialogue on Making Ventures Grow. Ambassador Gardner hosted 50 high-level policymakers, academicians, business Angels, VCs, accelerators, and representatives from stock exchanges and non-profit organisations from the both the US and the EU.

Among the invitees were the Vice President of the European Commission, Executives of the Eurochambers, EBAN Vice Presidents, EVCA Executives, the President of the Business Angels Association of Turkey, the President of the DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship, and SME Executives of the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, Editors of the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, the European Crowdfunding Network’s President, the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, the Director of the Istanbul Stock Exchange Private Market, Executives of Google Ventures, Former Vice Presidents of the European Commission, Executives of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Executives of Microsoft, the CEO of the Global Accelerators Network, Executives of Cisco, Executives of EIF – European Investment Fund, the CEO of the European Business & Innovation Centre Network, the Director of the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, and the CEO of the New York Angels.

Following two intensive panels on broadening Europe’s capital markets and stimulating alternative financing & facilitating the growth of Ventures in Europe, discussions continued over dinner with rapporteurs at each table; TBAA President was the rapporteur for the table 6.

IMG_6228A US – EU Dialogue on developing early stage investment market

Following a short welcome reception, the event started with the opening speech by Anthony Luzzatto Gardner, the US Ambassador to the EU, and we immediately moved on to the panels:

Panel I:  Broadening Europe’s Capital Markets & Stimulating Alternative Financing

The proposed EU Capital Markets Union (CMU) seeks to broaden Europe’s capital markets as well as to move towards a more integrated pan-European market for capital.
Regulatory fragmentation needs to be addressed to develop a single market for capital in Europe. Today, many of the successful European start-ups move to the United States to grow and take advantage of the more liquid debt and equity capital markets. The European Commission has requested feedback on proposals, including the creation of a European private placement market for debt and equity, changes to the Prospectus Directive, and facilitation of high-quality securitization.

  • What can be done at the EU level and by US and European investors to broaden the instruments available, particularly to innovative, high-growth firms?
  • What must be done to facilitate the development of Europe’s debt and equity capital markets?
  • What role can intermediaries such as crowdfunding platforms play?
  • Is there a need to stimulate other forms of alternative financing?

Moderator: Peter Spiegel, The Financial Times

Panel II      Facilitating the Growth of Ventures in Europe

Much effort has been made in the United States and Europe in recent years to encourage the creation of start-ups. Incubators, accelerators, seed funds and early-stage market players on both sides of the Atlantic have helped to catalyse a stronger entrepreneurial culture. With Europe’s priority being jobs and growth, entrepreneurship is high on the agenda. Young, innovative firms are significant job creators, but ventures need to scale in order to be sustainable engines of growth.

  • What can be done to support the scaling of start-ups and innovative, young firms?
  • How can the EU support the further development of venture capital and angel investment?
  • What role can US and European corporations play in facilitating the creation and scaling of start-ups? What can be done to boost the flow of institutional investment into venture capital?
  • What might be the implications of the Digital Single Market on facilitating financing and growth of firms?

Moderator: Stephen Fidler, The Wall Street Journal

After the panels, Karen Wilson, Senior Fellow of Brueghel, gave a summary of the discussions followed by a presentation by Jyri Katainen, European Commission Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. After a short cocktail, we discussed the findings of the panel discussions over dinner.

The closing remarks of the event were made by Ambassador Gardner and the rapporteurs. Here we will share with you the letter our table decided to write to the EU.

Dear EU,

  1. Please reduce decision-making times.
  2. Please start supporting entrepreneurship actively instead of simply talking about it.
  3. Please recruit commissioners in Brussels who have experience starting and failing in businesses.
  4. Please bring better tax incentives for angel investors.
  5. Please make equity investment simple.
  6. Please move from grants to equity and share the risk.
  7. Please create a favourable ecosystem for start-ups.
  8. Please trust more in Europe and go for a more European approach.
  9. Please become positive and develop your communication skills.
  10. Please, in order to foster the entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem in Europe, resolve the EU membership issue of Turkey.

Here are some additional resources: