Trade Mission Teams Reunite with Mentors

Posted on | June 15, 2009 | No Comments

On June 11th, participants in the Innovate!Europe Trade Mission dined at Palo Alto’s iconic deal-making restaurant, Il Fornaio, as part of their weeklong tour of Silicon Valley. During dinner, the entrepreneurs reconnected with many of the mentors from the Master Class in Zaragoza, Spain, including Madeline Duva, Barak Berkowitz, Benoit Bergeret, Mike Rogers, Michael Copeland, Bambi Franciso and David Sifry.

Thanks to Madeline Duva for taking these photos of the dinner.


Introducing the Innovate!Europe Trade Mission Participants

Posted on | June 10, 2009 | No Comments

Over 250 companies from across Europe and Israel competed in the Innovate!Europe ’09 program for the title of Europe’s Most Promising Startup.  A select group of finalists, chosen by a world-class panel of serial entrepreneurs, investors and journalists, were invited to participate in this year’s Trade Mission to Silicon Valley.


Sign Up for Innovate!Europe’s Showcase in Silicon Valley

Posted on | May 22, 2009 | No Comments

Innovate!Europe is a three-part program designed to identify Europe’s top startups who are ready to expand to Silicon Valley and beyond. More than 250 European and Israeli companies were evaluated by Guidewire Group’s analyst team which selected the finalists based on the quality of their product concept, market opportunity, business execution and management team.

The most promising companies from Innovate!Europe are coming to Silicon Valley on June 8-12 for a week of relationship building with partners, investors, service providers and media. These companies may be your next partner, client, investment or story, so check them out at http://www.innovate-events.com/finalists-applicants/

Guidewire Group and co-hosts City of Zaragoza, Orrick, AlpinaSearch & Plug and Play Tech Center invites you to meet these extraordinary European companies during the Innovate!Europe Showcase and Cocktail Reception at Plug and Play’s Sunnyvale offices on June 10, 2009 from 3pm to 8pm.

There is no cost to attending this event, but space is limited, so you must register to attend at http://www.amiando.com/IE09Showcase.html


Updated: Schedule for Innovate!Europe’s June Trade Mission

Posted on | May 20, 2009 | No Comments

Participants in Innovate!Europe will have an opportunity to put their newfound knowledge to use during an invite-only Innovate!Europe Trade Mission that will visit Silicon Valley, June 8-12, 2009.

The Trade Mission will help accelerate your launch into Silicon Valley, introducing you to a high-level audience of venture capitalists, private investors and U.S. entrepreneurs, and facilitating access to financiers, partners and service providers who can further your company’s growth – all while immersing you in the Silicon Valley startup culture. It is intended to put you face to face with the people and companies that you need to know in order to build your global business.

Session A: Understanding Incorporation and Financing Structures in the U.S.

The program for the week’s events is available below.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The opening session will be held at the Innovate!Europe Trade Mission “base camp” hotel, the San Mateo Marriott.

1:00 pm     Trade Mission Welcome Lunch & Working Session

We re-introduce Trade Mission members to the Guidewire Group team and one another, outline the week’s program details, and re-visit your needs and wants.

3:00 pm     Coffee Break

3:30 pm     Workshop: “They Made It”

Angelika Blendstrup literally wrote the book on the practices of Silicon Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs, and she did so with a unique focus, telling the stories of foreign-born entrepreneurs, such as Eric Benhamou, Jean-Louis Gassee, Raj Singh, Wu Fu Chen, Suhas Patil, Omid Kordestani, Qi Lu  and Dan Maydan.

Through these stories, Angelika has identified “recipes for success” with specific ingredients that if applied may smooth the path upward. Angelika is a special resource for non-native Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. She speaks five languages and teaches U.S. business communications to international executives, coaching them in accent reduction, corporate presentations, personal branding and interviewing skills. We’re delighted to bring her expertise to you in this session.

4:45pm     Depart Hotel

5:15pm     French Tech Tour Launch Party at Quadrus Conference Center on Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park

Sponsored by the French Trade Office of the French Embassy, the French Tech Tour brings a handful of French entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to meet with potential customers. This year, the French Tech Tour occurs during the same week as Innovate!Europe Trade Mission. The two organizations are cooperating with one another to provide expanded opportunities to meet Silicon Valley customers and investors. Guidewire Group Chairman Chris Shipley will give a brief welcoming address at this event.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday’s program provides the opportunity to tour some of Silicon Valley’s most remarkable technology companies. Trade Mission attendees will travel together to visit these companies.

8:00 am     Meet in Lobby of San Mateo Marriott; Depart by 8:15am.

8:45am     Visit to Sun Microsystems, Menlo Park

Sun will host a special morning meeting for Trade Mission participants with company chairman and co-founder Scott McNealy, followed by a presentation on Sun’s Startup Essentials program. Startup Essentials provides education, resources and support to technology entrepreneurs around the world, and this overview will highlight the benefits and services available to young companies. This is a unique opportunity to meet the leadership of Sun as well as fellow Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The visit will conclude with a quick tour of the company’s innovation center to give Trade Mission participants a look at some of Sun’s advanced technology initiatives.

2:30pm     Visit to Google campus in Mountain View

Trade Mission participants will be treated to a private tour of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View from 2:30pm to 4:00pm. It’s a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most successful companies in Silicon Valley. More details will be shared at the kick-off meeting on June 8th.

5:00pm     Return to Hotel

6:00pm     Depart for San Francisco

7:00pm     First Round Capital — Summer Party

First Round Capital, one of the premier early stage venture capital firms, is inviting Innovate!Europe’s Trade Mission participants to its summer party in San Francisco. The event is taking place at one of San Francisco’s historic music venues, The Great American Music Hall, and will feature a who’s who of Silicon Valley’s VCs, entrepreneurs and corporate executives. So be ready to use your networking skills! First Round’s team specializes in seed-stage investments, often providing a company’s first outside capital. Some of the companies they’ve invested in include Mint Software, VideoEgg, Transpera, Wikia, eInsured and Attributor.

9:30pm     Bus departs for return trip to San Mateo Marriott

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

8:30am     Meet in Lobby of San Mateo Marriott; depart hotel to first venue by 8:45am

9:30am     Visit to Yahoo! campus in Sunnyvale

We’ll kick off the third day of the Trade Mission with a visit to Yahoo!’s headquarters in Sunnyvale where Trade Mission participants will get a chance to meet with members of the company’s product and business development teams from 9:30am to 11:00am.

12:00pm     Lunch at Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale

PlugandPlayTechCenter.com (PnP) is home to some of Silicon Valley’s smartest technology startups.  In Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Redwood City, PnP provides office services to a thriving community of entrepreneurs , and enhances that experience by creating networking opportunities for tenants to meet with and be advised by investors and service providers. PnP is the host of the Trade Mission’s Showcase and Reception.

1:00pm     Workshop: Pitch Polish

This workshop provides one last opportunity to hone your company positioning and presentation before unleashing your message on the Innovate!Europe Trade Mission Showcase attendees.

3:00pm     Innovate!Europe Trade Mission Showcase

This is your chance to demonstrate your technology to and speak one-on-one with Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and media.

5:00pm    Showcase Reception

The Showcase continues into the evening in a relaxed business networking environment. Silicon Valley media, investors, entrepreneurs, corporate development executives, and other potential high-value partners are invited to join this reception to meet you and begin the process of relationship building. We will be joined this evening by entrepreneurs from two other international programs, ANZA (Australia/New Zealand) and the French Tech Tour.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

8:00am     Meet in Lobby of San Mateo Marriott

8:30am      Breakfast at Buck’s Restaurant in Woodside

Buck’s is the iconic meeting place of entrepreneurs and investors in Silicon Valley. Many a business has been started from plans drawn on the back of a Buck’s placemat. PayPal demonstrated its first mobile-to-mobile electronic payment at a Buck’s breakfast. If you’re going to live and work in Silicon Valley, you need to know what it means when someone says, “Let’s meet at Buck’s.”

10:00am     Office Hours at Orrick in  Menlo Park

Thursday and Friday schedules are designed to give you the opportunity to set private meetings with individuals identified by you and/or Guidewire Group as important potential partners. You will be provided with meeting space at the offices of the Orrick law firm in the heart of Silicon Valley. In addition to the open meeting schedule, we are arranging meals at some of Silicon Valley’s most iconic meeting locations.

6:30pm     Mentor Dinner at Il Fornaio in Palo Alto

Located in downtown Palo Alto and just a mile from the Stanford University campus, Il Fornaio restaurant is an institution in Silicon Valley. For years, it has served as the meeting place for the thought leaders of the technology industry. We’ll enjoy dinner at this classic restaurant as we reunite with a number of the mentors who participated in the Zaragoza Master Class.

Friday, June 12, 2009

7:30am     Meet in Lobby of San Mateo Marriott

8:00am     Breakfast with Angels at Orrick

This informal breakfast meeting, hosted at Orrick’s offices in Menlo Park, will give you the opportunity to meet members of Silicon Valley’s angel investor community.

10:00am     Office Hours at Orrick in  Menlo Park

Friday’s flexible schedule is designed to enable you to set meetings with new colleagues you’ve met on the Trade Mission or existing Silicon Valley contacts you need to see while you are in the area. Orrick’s office is conveniently located off Highway 101 at the Marsh Road exit. It’s also only a short walk to the Starbucks coffee shop that has become a rendezvous point for Silicon Valley meetings.

1:00pm     Visit to Microsoft campus in Mountain View

Trade Mission participants will enjoy a private visit to Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View where we’ll meet with members of the company’s Emerging Business Team from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

4:00pm     Closing BBQ

We celebrate the end of a successful Trade Mission with an informal and relaxing barbeque at the San Mateo Marriott where we’ll raise a glass to toast your future success in Silicon Valley and around the globe.

Starting at 6:00pm     Networking Events in San Francisco (Optional)

If you’re ready for more networking before the week ends, we’ve arranged invitations for you to attend two parties in San Francisco. These are optional activities that will require you to arrange your own transportation.

The first event is a Happy Hour celebration hosted by StumbleUpon and STIRR from 5:00pm to 9:00pm at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. The second event is a more intimate gathering hosted by Innovate!Europe mentor Benoit Bergeret and consultant Phil Jeudy that begins at 7:00pm. RSVPs are required — we’ll share more details with you via email on June 8th.


NomaDesk Named Innovate!Europe Program’s Most Promising Startup

Posted on | May 19, 2009 | No Comments

NomaDesk, a document collaboration solutions provider, was awarded the “Most Promising Startup” honors at the 2009 Innovate! Europe Master Class. Organized by the Guidewire Group, and Innovate Ventures, the Innovate!Europe program identifies the top technology start-ups in Europe and Israel and helps them accelerate their business internationally while providing them with valuable exposure.

Among the 168 promising start-ups that competed, NomaDesk stood out due to its potential – excellent technology, strong management team and already successful business model. As the “Most Promising Startup,” NomaDesk will spend three months in the Guidewire STUDIO, an in-residence business accelerator in the heart of Silicon Valley, where NomaDesk executives will have the opportunity to benefit from high-tech, business and investment expert mentors, to reach new investors and to form strategic partnerships.

“NomaDesk grabbed the winning nomination from our mentors because the company is already making substantial progress in its efforts to take its business into new markets,” said Chris Shipley, Chairman of Guidewire Group. “From its current revenue-generating business, we expect NomaDesk to become a brand name in the global market for virtual document sharing and storage.”

“NomaDesk is honored to have won this competition, which rewards over 5 years of hard work and innovation, and we are looking forward to further benefiting from Guidewire Group’s strategic advice and guidance.”

The prize was awarded to NomaDesk for its file sharing software solution, which enables geographically dispersed professionals to store files, synchronize, secure, access, transfer, and eventually securely share them from any location, whether on- or off-line.

NomaDesk was founded in 2004 by Filip Tack, its current CEO, along with CTO Miguel De Buf and COO Peter Geldhof. Based in Gent, Belgium, the company is supported by Gimv, a European independent investment company. NomaDesk employs 17 employees with offices and servers in Gent and Atlanta, Georgia.


Announcing Innovate!Europe’s Master Class Finalists

Posted on | May 6, 2009 | 2 Comments

After three jam-packed days in Zaragoza of high-energy pitching, feedback, and counsel from our slate of seasoned mentors, we’re pleased to announce our top ten Master Class finalists. We’ll share more about our selection process next week, and how the Master Class mentors chose ten from such a deserving class of companies.  The winner of our 2009 Innovate!Europe competition will be announced tonight in Zaragoza by Mr. Juan-Tomas Hernani, Spain’s newly appointed General Secretary of Innovation, at a public reception. But in the meantime, here are the top ten finalists, in no particular order.







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Juan-Tomas Hernani To Join Closing Celebration at Innovate!Europe

Posted on | April 28, 2009 | No Comments

We’ve just confirmed that Mr. Juan-Tomas Hernani, Spain’s newly-appointed General Secretary of Innovation, will take part in the closing celebration of Innovate!Europe Master Class, next Wednesday, May 6.

Innovate!Europe will close its Master Class program with a public forum, “Meet the Entrepreneurs,” where ten finalist companies will present their businesses plans. Executives from each of the finalist companies will give a 10-minute presentation that describes the company, its unique value proposition, and its market potential.

At the completion of the the presentations, Mr. Hernani will address the Master Class and join the leadership of Innovate!Europe to announce and present the award to Innovate!Europe’s High-Potential Startup of 2009.

The forum will take place at the Teatro Principal in Zaragoza, Spain, Wednesday, May 6, at 18h00.


Master Class To Open with Public Forum: Thriving in the Crisis

Posted on | April 22, 2009 | No Comments

Innovate!Europe is pleased to invite the business, academic, and media communities of Zaragoza and Aragon to join the faculty and attendees of Master Class during the opening session of Innovate!Europe 2009.

Following the official opening by the Honorable Juan Alberto Belloch, mayor of the City of Zaragoza, the program will convene a roundtable discussion of distinguished technology entrepreneurs and investors lead by Ignacio de la Vega, founder and director of the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Ventures Development at Instituto de Empressa Business School.

The discussion topic,  Thriving in the Crisis, explores how new and growing businesses can best weather the current economic storm, and even come out ahead.

Innovate!Europe’s Master Class program is taking place during the most difficult global economic crisis of our lifetimes. Yet we share the common belief that entrepreneurship and innovation are the surest way to shift market momentum and drive economic growth. How must innovative companies plan and manage their businesses during the recession to position themselves for better growth and outcomes when the market begins to turn? Where is there opportunity?

The public is invited to join Master Class mentors David Sifry, Marten Mickos, Yoav Leitersdorf, Maximilian Niederhofer, Barak Berkowitz, Madeline Duva, and Mike Rogers as they take up these questions in a robust discussion hosted by Ignacio de la Vega.

The roundtable takes place Monday, May 4, at 19h00 at the Teatro Principal, Zaragoza.  For further information, please contact tina@innovateventures.com.


Master Class Program Highlights Best Practices from Business Leaders

Posted on | April 14, 2009 | 4 Comments

We’ve very excited to post the program for this year’s Master Class.  The program offers a rich array of information, strategic counsel, and first-hand learning for our finalists as they consider the next phase of growth for their businesses.

Innovate Europe Master Class Program

May 4 – 6, 2009     Zaragoza, Spain

May 4

(Afternoon by appointment) Pitch Reviews with Guidewire Group Analysts – Teatro Principal

19h00:  Opening Session – Teatro Principal

Official Welcome

The Honorable Juan Alberto Belloch, mayor of the City of Zaragoza, and our esteemed patrons Informatica El Corte Ingles and the Gobierno de Aragon, open the Master Class with an official welcome.

Thriving in the Crisis: A Mentor Roundtable

We convene this Master Class during the most difficult global economic crisis of our lifetimes. Yet we share the common belief that entrepreneurship and innovation are the surest way to shift market momentum and drive economic growth. How must innovative companies plan and manage their businesses during the recession to position themselves for better growth and outcomes when the market begins to turn? Where is there opportunity for such growth?
Ignacio de la Vega, Founder and Director of the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Ventures Development (ICEVED) at IE Business School in Madrid will lead a discussion of Master Class Faculty and Mentors as they share their strategies for Thriving in the Crisis.

19h30:  Welcoming Reception – Lounge, Teatro Principal

May 5

9h00:   Registration – Lobby, Teatro Principal

10h00: Opening Session

Welcome – Chris Shipley

Master Class: David Sifry On Leadership

David Sifry is the Chairman of Technorati and the founder and CEO of OffBeat Guides. As a serial entrepreneur, David has built teams, raised capital, taken products to market, and architected successful exits. He brings a unique perspective on leadership, coaxing and coaching his teams to be their very best. Leading our first Master Class, David shares his insights on the skills, approach, and characteristics of strong entrepreneurial leaders.

11h30:  Coffee Break

12h00:  General Session

Setting Expectations: Raising Money Here and There

Many companies will seek venture capital to fund their global expansion. Fundraising is always challenging, particularly for companies moving to Silicon Valley from outside the United States. Our mentors discuss the realities of venture capital and suggest strategies for raising expansion capital.


Meet the Mentors

The heart of the Master Class program is the mentor relationship. Participating entrepreneurs will be organized into small teams, each lead by a mentor. This is an opportunity to learn from the mentor’s experience, solicit feedback on your business, hone your company’s pitch and positioning, and begin to build your Silicon Valley business network.

13h30: Lunch with Mentors

Mentor teams will dine at local restaurants

15h30:  Master Class Breakouts I – Roman Theatre

Session A: Building a Global Team

Innovate!Europe partners Orrick and AlpinaSearch provide insights into how global companies can best operate in the US. They will address the critical issues facing any company moving to the U.S., including when to set up a subsidiary, how to capitalize the subsidiary, and methods of creating an intra-company agreement with a European parent. They’ll discover how to put in place an equity incentive plan, establishing employment terms, set up a US bank account, and take appropriate steps to protect company interests.


Session B: Driving Revenue

In any market, but particularly in today’s economic environment, there is no greater imperative for the leadership of a startup venture than to drive revenue growth. Veteran entrepreneurs and sales executives discuss strategies for managing partners, accelerating sales cycles, and closing new business.


(by appointment) Pitch Reviews w/ Guidewire Group Analysts – Teatro Principal

16h30: Break

17h00:  Master Class Breakouts II – Roman Theatre

Session: Adapting Your Business Plan in Times of Uncertainty, Shaping Strategy in the Current Economic Situation

The current atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity is hampering the entrepreneurial community in terms of decision making and launching their initiatives. Our mentor will explain the key factors to consider in a business plan in order to limit the additional risks that emerge during a financial crisis.


20h00:  Sessions Adjourn

Tapas with classmates and mentors on your own

May 6

9h00: General Session - Teatro Principal

Master Class with Marten Mickos

Marten Mickos built mySQL into a global brand name, with operations in more than 20 countries before selling the company to Sun Microsystems in early 2008. Marten will share his experiences, practices, and inside stories.

Setting Expectations: Doing Business in America

The decision to move into the U.S. market, move to Silicon Valley, and expand your business globally is one of the most complex and critical you’ll make for your growing startup. These European entrepreneurs talk about how they came to that decision for their companies and offer their guidance and advice for companies following their example.


10h30:  Coffee Break

11h00: Master Class Breakouts III – Roman Theatre


Session B: Dancing with Elephants: Contemplating Partnerships

Partnering with another company is always a careful dance, and it is especially so as young companies strive to engage with well-established organizations. This session offers a perspective to our Master Class attendees as they seek to partner with global companies, and sets expectations for the Trade Mission to Silicon Valley.


13h30: Lunch w/ Mentors

15h30: Master Class Breakouts IV – Roman Theatre

Session A: Tackling the Immigration Challenges

Innovate!Europe partner Orrick explains the various methods by which European founders can work in the US. This session reviews different Visas, such as O1, L1, and H1B, using case studies of recent companies and entrepreneurs who have relocated to the US.


Session B: Working with the Global Media

Public relations and media remain the most cost-effective marketing a young company can do. This workshop explores how startups can extend their global reach by working effectively with traditional and emerging social media outlets.


(by appointment) Pitch Session Rehearsals – Teatro Principal

Competition finalists will report to the Teatro Principal to rehearse their company pitch in advance of the closing session.

18h00:  Closing Session: Meet The Entrepreneurs – Teatro Principal (open to the public)

Finalists for the 2009 Innovate!Europe Top Startup prize will present their companies in this public forum. Each entrepreneur will give a 10 minute presentation that describes the company, its unique value proposition, and its market potential.

Innovate!Honors: Entrepreneur of the Year

Innovate!Europe recognizes the achievements of the 2009 Master Class by awarding the Entrepreneur of the Year award to the one company that represents the greatest potential to out-perform in the global ITC market.

The award will be presented by Spain’s General Secretary of Innovation, The Honorable Juan-Tomas Hernani.

20h00:  Celebration and Awards Reception - Lounge, Teatro Principal

21h00:  Closing Event - Gran Hotel

  • Michael Copeland, Fortune, United States
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    Introducing Innovate!Europe’s Applicants

    Posted on | March 22, 2009 | No Comments

    As you know, our goal with Innovate!Europe is not just to identify the top startups in Europe and Israel and help them accelerate their business in Silicon Valley, but to provide valuable exposure to every company that applies. That’s why we’re excited to tell you about the partnership we’ve created with to help Innovate!Europe applicants introduce themselves to Vator.tv’s influential audience.

    Vator.tv is a place for startups to share their news and inform people of what they’re up to, either in video or short messaging. It’s a great launch-pad and marketing tool for entrepreneurs seeking exposure to the tens of thousands of investors, technology company executives and entrepreneurs who visit Vator.tv each month to find and follow hot startups.

    We invite you to meet all of Innovate!Europe’s applicants as they post their video introductions to the Innovate!Europe competition on Vator.tv, and follow them as they go through the Innovate!Europe program and improve their pitching skills.


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