According to estimates, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation by 4–6 years. Whilst differences across Europe persist in terms of small businesses’ readiness to digitalise — due to connectivity matters, or lack of skills and resources to invest, the past year has also shown that the imperative for digitalisation has never been greater. It is an opportunity for both SMEs and the European economy to come out stronger from the crisis. An interview with EIF Chief Executive Alain Godard.

It’s time to SwitchON

Is there currently a digital investment gap in Europe?

The EIB Group estimates that the total digital investment needed is about €380 billion, but the market can deliver only…

This is what young people think: in a new collaboration between the EIF and the group of gen-z and millenials at EU&U, we look into whether online platforms are the enemy or the unlikely savior of Europe’s SMEs. The article is written by Pietro Valetto and Joshua Michael Devine (EU&U).

EIF and EU&U: Fostering discussion on innovation, entrepreneurship, finance

2020: a year in review

It should come as no surprise to anyone that in 2020 there was a drastic and unprecedented growth in the e-commerce sector. All over the world brick and mortar shops closed — initially only for some time; though many ended up shutting down for good…

I joined the VC industry in May 2008. Debaeque Venture Capital was raising at that moment its third investment vehicle and they hired me after the first closing of the fund to support the two partners in all investment and monitoring activities. I was the happiest man on earth.

I was super excited when I participated in my first investment as a venture capitalist and the third investment of fund III: in late August/early September 2008 we signed a €3 million investment in a couple of French entrepreneurs who relocated from New York City to Barcelona, and had a punchy…

The current market crisis triggered by the spread of Covid-19 has led to the biggest market decline since the financial crisis in 2007.

Whilst the full impact on the global economic landscape can only be assessed once the virus spread has been contained and timeframes for lockdowns in countries across the world can be quantified, the European VC infrastructure, rebuilt over the last two decades after the tech crash, is facing its biggest test in history.

Does it matter? How moral is it to shift figures, calculate NAV impact and declines in returns, deplore slowdowns in fundraising, and count insolvencies…

Imagine a world without VC (venture capital). Without access to a time machine (think ‘Back to the Future’), it’s pretty difficult to do.

Or is it? We have created a simulation which shows what companies would have looked like between 2007–2014 had they NOT had the VC backing to support them. We have simply removed the VC Factor. And what have we found out?

Well, start-ups fall into five growth profiles — laggards, commoners, all-rounders, visionaries and superstars. Laggards dwindle, commoners grow mildly, all-rounders record considerable progress, visionaries’ intangibles skyrocket and finally, superstars’ growth is astronomical on all fronts. …

Meet Dr Marco or Marcia. He or she is between 45 and 54 years old, likes studying. A lot. So much that they are likely to hold a PhD, MBA or at least a Masters, probably in business, economics or STEM. However, the hard work does not stop there.

They are likely to have worked for a number of years in a technology or engineering-focused firm where they held a managerial position, or created their own venture. Probably both. Neither of them are shy about committing to an investment, putting in around EUR 3 million although this can be as…

It’s clear that technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) will change our lives. What is less well-known, however, is just how much of this technology is being innovated in Europe. From Maastricht to Berlin to Tallinn, throughout our universities, our research centres and our start-up businesses, some of the brightest minds are inventing products that promise to change everything from medical science to defence, to how we store information.

Why is this important?

Well, Europe is spending a lot of money on it. Western Europe is expected to remain the second-largest region in the world for blockchain spending…

Institutional investors in favour of sponsor-backed, syndicated deals have typically overlooked the lower end of the private debt universe, but the EIF believes that will change. An analysis by Marco Natoli and Francesco Battazzi.

Sponsor-less transactions are entering a new era. What was once considered the ‘lower end’ of the private debt universe, with higher barriers to entry and a more specialist investment style, is now attracting institutional investors in search of yield, portfolio diversification and stronger contractual terms.

Indeed, the growth in allocations to private debt over recent years lays the foundations for an increasing number of investments into…

Why do we need to ensure micro enterprises and social enterprises have access to financing ? Well, because fighting poverty and social exclusion is integral to a well-functioning society. Here’s how we create positive social impact together.

In 2015, a handful of young Finnish entrepreneurs watched as plates of leftover food were scraped into a bin in a central Helsinki restaurant, and inspiration hit. …

What happens if you put fifty-four business angels from ten countries in one room? A lively debate on what being an active investor means. At the EIF’s ConnectAngels 2019 event, four angels grappled with this question, and more. Read on to find out their ideas on how to add value as an active investor…

Business angels are key to supporting entrepreneurs in Europe, not just through funding but through the active investment support they provide.

If you partner with a business angel, you hand over a portion of the company you have loved, nurtured, and sacrificed for since day one…

European Investment Fund (EIF)

Europe's leading provider of risk financing for SMEs. Cornerstone investor in VC and PE funds. Making debt financing more affordable for entrepreneurs.

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