I need another opinion guys, Should I make seprate new company or I should go with my old one with less growth after the change.

Sorry English isn't my first language. I started my own company in 2014 which specializes in shipping books to schools, shops and distributors etc in bulk quantities. We ship them from the printing presses and warehouse to their delivery point which is approximately 2000kms away. We use vehicles which are market hired (Trucks). We have had grown more than 10 times without market investment. I am thinking about buying trucks which will help in my initial business but adding them without outside funding will stagnate growth in the existing one and I don't want the market investment in the existing one. Or Should I start a new one for trucks with a market investment which will break even in approximately 2 years on the initial investment?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

SetSail raises raises $7M to change how sales teams are compensated

Most sales teams earn a commission after a sale closes, but nothing prior to that. Yet there are a variety of signals along the way that indicate the sales process is progressing, and SetSail, a startup from some former Google engineers, is using machine learning to figure out what those signals are, and how to compensate salespeople as they move along the path to a sale, not just after they close the deal.

Today, the startup announced a $ 7 million investment led by Wing Venture Capital with help from Operator Collective and Team8. Under the terms of the deal, Leyla Seka from Operator will be joining the board. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $ 11 million, according to the company.

CEO and co-founder Haggai Levi says his company is based on the idea that commission alone is not a good way to measure sales success, and that it is in fact a lagging indicator. “We came up with a different approach. We use machine learning to create progress-based incentives,” Levi explained

To do that they rely on machine learning to discover the signals that are coming from the customer that indicate that the deal is moving forward, and using a points system, companies can begin compensating reps on hitting these milestones, even before the sale closes.

The seeds for the idea behind SetSail were planted years ago when the three founders were working at Google tinkering with ways to motivate sales reps beyond pure commission. From a behavioral perspective, Levi and his co-founders found that reps were taking fewer risks with a pure commission approach and they wanted to find a way to change that. The incremental compensation system achieves that.

“If I’m closing the deal, I’m getting my commission. If I’m not closing the deal, I’m getting nothing. That means from a behavioral point of view, I would take the shortest path to win a deal, and I would take the minimum risk possible. So if there’s a competitive situation I will try to avoid that,” he said.

They look at things like appointments, emails and call transcripts. The signals will vary by customer. One may find an appointment with CIO is a good signal a deal is on the right trajectory, but to avoid having reps gaming the system by filling the CRM with the kinds of positive signals the company is looking for, they only rely on objective data, rather than any kind of self-reporting information from reps themselves.

The team eventually built a system like this inside Google, and in 2018, left to build a solution for the rest of the world that does something similar.

As the company grows, Levi says he is building a diverse team, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because it simply makes good business sense. “The reality is that we’re building a product for a diverse audience, and if we don’t have a diverse team we would never be able to build the right product,” he explained.

The company’s unique approach to sales compensation is resonating with customers like Dropbox, Lyft and Pendo, who are looking for new ways to motivate sales teams, especially during a pandemic when there may be a longer sales cycle. This kind of system provides a way to compensate sales teams more incrementally and reward positive approaches that have proven to result in sales.

Startups – TechCrunch

“It is important for those who seek social change to turn an eye toward funding entrepreneurship”: Interview with Impact X’s co-founder Paula Groves

Did you know that only 1% of global venture capital goes to black founders? The founder of venture capital firm Impact X, Paula Groves, was made aware of this fact in 2000, and it’s still true today, almost 20 years later. 

To create long-lasting social change, Paula Groves believes that the answer is successful impact investing. So how does this work? Through the ‘virtuous circle’? A virtuous circle is a complex chain of events, via which each successful event leads to the achievement of the next successful event, in a feedback loop. Entrepreneurship creates jobs, builds wealth, and then allows successful entrepreneurs to help the next generation of entrepreneurs, who in turn build jobs and wealth, and so on.

Driven by an incredible consortium of founders hailing from the US, Impact X set up in the UK in 2018. The firm supports underrepresented entrepreneurs across Europe, particularly the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, with Seed, Series A and Series B rounds, within the entertainment, media, tech, health and digital industries. To find out more, we spoke to Paula Groves about their portfolio, her impressions of the funding landscape in Europe compared to the US, and her advice for underrepresented founders.

Hello Paula, thank you for joining us. We first learnt about Impact X last year and are interested to know more about your impressions of the European funding landscape coming from a US background.

First, we could jump in with your story. What first got you into investing?

I got an itch for finance and investing in 1982 during my freshman year at Stanford University when I took the Economics-101 class and suddenly a light bulb went off.  I thought to myself, economics and finance play a critical role in how the world works. If we can understand finance and how capital flows, we can begin to understand how to influence economies and address fundamental social issues that plague our society such as poverty and economic well-being. I then quickly joined Stanford’s student run investment organization, The Blyth fund, obtained the position of student representative on the Committee of Investments for Stanford’s Board of Trustees, and upon graduation in 1986 with a undergraduate degree in economics, I secured a 3-year position in New York City on Wall Street at Credit Suisse First Boston as part of their analyst program. After obtaining my graduate degree at Harvard Business School in 1991, I went to Chicago, Illinois to work for Leo Burnett Advertising agency. However, as I was contemplating whether I had made the right career decision, one of my old bosses from Wall Street called and asked if I wanted to help launch a private equity fund in Boston called Triumph Capital. My guardian angel had smiled upon me. Here was my chance to return to my first love — finance —  and so I responded with an enthusiastic “Absolutely!” 

After helping the firm grow assets under-management to almost $ 1 billion, in 2000 I was confronted with a challenge. I learned that less than 4% of venture capital funding went to women and even more shocking, less than 1% went to Black entrepreneurs. Despite the world-changing ideas that were being funded by venture capitalists, women and Black entrepreneurs were not getting a seat at the table, or to quote Hamilton, they were not in the “Room Where it Happens”. Having gone to schools such as Harvard and Stanford, I knew first-hand that Black and women founders were also developing ground-breaking innovations that could not only change how our society operates but they also had ideas that could transform their respective communities that might not be readily apparent to mainstream investors and entrepreneurs. Getting back to understanding the importance of capital flows, I knew that successful venture capitalists and venture backed companies play an important wealth creation role in society whereby investment returns could be used to back the next generation of Black and female entrepreneurs, and could also bring about societal change through charitable contributions and directing funding to social impact causes. 

These combined factors led me to co-found my own venture capital fund, Axxon Capital, which raised over $ 50 million in 2000. Axxon focused on Black and women founders of technology-oriented companies. 

How did you start Impact X, and why did you decide to set up in Europe?

Eric Collins, the CEO of Impact X, and I first met in 2000 when Eric was raising funding for an online conflict resolution platform. Unfortunately, the first of three major economic downturn cycles in my career hit, the dotcom crash of early to mid-2000s, and we were not able to invest in his company. I should probably mention that the second downturn was the 2008 financial crisis precipitated by the downturn in the mortgage market. The third downturn is the one we are experiencing now, starting with the Covid-19 pandemic and impacted by the protests which followed the death of George Floyd in the US.   

Eric and I stayed in touch over the years and explored several ways to get capital into the hands of Black entrepreneurs and to generate wealth for the Black community. In 2018, Eric launched Impact X which is a European double bottom line vehicle established to make direct venture capital investments in European underrepresented entrepreneurial and creative innovators including Black entrepreneurs of African descent. Impact X invests primarily for solid financial returns to LPs and secondarily for measurable social impact. 

The founding members of Impact X saw the same problem that I saw twenty years ago, less than 1% of venture capital funding goes to Black entrepreneurs – worldwide. Eric called me in late 2018 to discuss this problem and asked if I would help him solve it. I was quite humbled that Eric asked me to join him once I looked at the esteemed set of individuals that were backing Impact X. The list of founding members is comprised of an accomplished and ethnically diverse group of professionals with over 500 combined years of investment and management experience from organizations such as Credit Suisse First Boston, Microsoft, AEW, Xerox, ExxonMobile, American Express, Uber, BBC, HBO, Universal, Paramount, McKinsey and more. This group also includes a Sir, a Dame, US Presidential Appointees, CEOs, serial entrepreneurs, institutional investors, investment bankers and professors at various universities.  

But perhaps most importantly, I was inspired by the fact that this group, who had achieved such economic success and stature in Europe had taken it upon themselves to fix the fundamental problem of lack of access to capital for Black European entrepreneurs. They were living the cliché, “Put your money where your mouth is” and were investing in the solution. This was the principle at work of “helping capital flow back into the Black community by investing in the Black community to create economic wealth and prosperity”.  I saw the light bulb flash in the recesses of my memory from my Econ-101 class back at Stanford. By now, this had become quite literally a “calling”, given that Eric had called, and I could not say no. 

Could you tell us about your portfolio companies?

The Impact X portfolio consists of technology-driven companies that provide innovative solutions that help their target customers become leaders in their respective marketplaces.  One health tech company is led by a Black female neuroscientist who has designed an AI powered SaaS tool that streamlines the medical research process required to initiate clinical trials. In this time severely disrupted by Covid-19, accelerating the clinical trial process for her customers plays a critical role in helping the global community find a way to combat this global pandemic.

Speaking of Covid-19, one of the unforeseen benefits of sheltering-in-place is that many are enjoying TV streaming services. In fact, Netflix demand is up over 30% and given that the pandemic has hit all communities across that globe, streaming services have increasing demand for international stories. To that end, Impact X has invested in a project that uses graphic novels, animation, video games and other forms of media to tell stories inspired by African history and culture and combat negative African stereotypes. The investment is timely because animation demand in particular is increasing and animation can be produced remotely in isolation / semi-isolation.   

We’ve read about how investing into marginalized groups has been more common in the US, than Europe. Why do you think this could be?

Investment in marginalized communities in the US has a historical government foundation.  In 1964 when the US Civil Rights act was passed that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, simultaneously, the US Small Business Administration, an organization established by an act of congress in 1953, created the Equal Opportunity Loan Program to assist applicants living below the poverty line, in other words applicants from marginalized communities.  

Many believe this program was launched in direct response to the civil unrest and turmoil of the US Civil rights era to increase economic opportunity for all US citizens. 

Could you tell us your impression of the current VC landscape in Europe? Have you seen anything change in the past few years?

Covid-19 pandemic combined with the civil unrest in response to the death of George Floyd has created unprecedented conversations regarding the fate of worldwide Black entrepreneurship and Black economics at a breadth and depth that I have never seen before.  The question now confronting society is what actions can be taken to bring about lasting positive change in the Black economic future.  

As the first line of defense against the protests that followed George Floyd’s death, many individuals and corporations have turned to charitable giving. The New York Times reports  millions of dollars have been quickly raised for racial justice groups, breaking fund-raising records for many organizations. This charitable funding certainly begins to address some of the social inequity problems noted above.  

However, it is important for those with capital who seek to bring about social change to not only address the important problems solvable by charitable donations, but also turn an eye toward creating long-term solutions by funding entrepreneurship. Funding which is used to bring about social change and right the wrongs of economic inequities is called Social Impact Investing. This type of investing has its root in the Equal Opportunity Loan program created by the US Small Business Administration mentioned earlier. Using capital to address social ills is the most effective way to bring about sustainable social change. This shift from charitable giving, which is the equivalent of giving a community fish to eat, to Social Impact Investment which instead teaches a community to themselves fish, can lead to long-term sustainable growth. Entrepreneurship creates jobs, builds wealth and then through reciprocity, these successful entrepreneurs can then fund the next generation of entrepreneurs who create jobs and build wealth. This is what Impact X refers to as the virtuous circle. 

What advice would you give to startups with female and underrepresented founders, who are currently experiencing pushback?

The hardest most universal aspect of raising money for a startup is the overwhelming number of “Nos” that you will get. What is even worse are those who don’t have the courage to say no, but rather keep you in a holding pattern of optimism by saying, “if you fix this one thing, I will give this idea serious consideration”. My advice is to always be a student of the universe. Getting a meeting with an experienced investor is itself quite an accomplishment.  Therefore, I say, don’t just get a no, get a lesson. Chances are the feedback you receive is borne out of the money they lost based on the less than optimal investment decisions they have made in their past. Listen, learn and try to incorporate the feedback.  

What are your priorities this year? What exciting things can we expect from Impact X from 2020-2021?

Our priorities are: 

  1. To maximize returns for our investors by working with our existing portfolio to achieve meaningful exits;
  2. The demand for investment by Black entrepreneurs remains strong and therefore we will continue to raise money to support this ecosystem;
  3. And finally, we seek to create positive and measurable social impacts which is also part of our mission

As we emerge from this time of global pandemic and social unrest Impact X seeks to share its model and partner with others to generate meaningful social and economic returns for Black and underrepresented entrepreneurs.  

How can founders in Europe get in contact with you, and what are you looking for?

To reach us please visit our website at Impactxcapital.com.  If you would like to submit your investor presentation, please complete our client intake form.  For other inquiries please send an email to: info@impactxcapital.com.


The future of urban air mobility in Europe: These companies could change the way how we travel

Yes, the pandemic has halted all our travel plans, and we might be confined to the boundaries of our own homes. But things are slowly getting back to what we now call — the new normal. And futurists believe global mobility startups and leading aerospace companies are working on exciting new technologies which can change the way we would plan our long and short distance travels. Uber is working with six aircraft manufacturers to design an electric aircraft that’s able to both take off and land like a helicopter and carry four passengers and a pilot. Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page has developed three all-electric flying vehicles.

Future of urban air mobility in Europe

In this scenario, what are European air mobility startups doing? Let’s find out!

Picture credits: Lilium

Lilium (Germany)

Munich-based air taxi startup Lilium completed the prototype of its first all-electric jet, which is a five-seater air taxi. The Lilium Jet is an electric vertical take-off and landing (eVOTL) aircraft that went on a trial in Germany last year.

The ambitious German air mobility startup is expected to operate a fleet of Lilium Jets between Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport in just 10 minutes for a cost of $ 70 (nearly €62) per seat. What’s noteworthy is that the all-electric aircraft is operated by batteries that can last up to a range of 186 miles at a top speed of 190 miles per hour.

In a recent development, Lilium bagged an additional investment of $ 35 million (nearly €30 million) from Baillie Gifford. It comes after three months after Lilium raised a little over €200 million. With this investment, the valuation of the company established in 2015 by Daniel Wiegand, Sebastian Born, Matthias Meiner and Patrick Nathen surpassed $ 1 billion and its overall funding is €330 million. And, the company will focus on the development of the Lilium Jet and its serial production at its recently completed manufacturing facilities.

Picture credits: Volocopter

Volocopter (Germany)

Volocopter, a German air taxi startup is one of the companies that is working to make short-distance air travel a reality in the coming years. It carries the credits of being the first vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) company to get the ‘Design Organisation Approval’ from the European Aviation Safety Authority.

Volocopter is in plans to launch a new vehicle called VoloCity, which is its fourth-generation eVOTL aircraft. VoloCity is touted to be more powerful than its predecessors with an airspeed of 110 km/h and a range of around 35 km. It features 18 rotors and can ferry two passengers. Volocopter already carried out a public flight over the Marina Bay Reservoir in Singapore to display a full-scale VoloPort prototype and demonstrate the maturity of this technology.

With the intention to make air transport a common means of commute, Volocopter founded by Alexander Zosel and Stephan Wolf in 2011 announced the extension of its Series C funding round to raise a total of €87 million in February this year. Eventually, the overall funding raised by Volocopter is €122 million. The investment will be used for the certification of the VoloCity and the development of the second-generation VoloDrone, its heavy-lift cargo drone.

Picture credits: Airbus

Airbus (Netherlands)

European aerospace agency Airbus is involved in the development of two electric UAM vehicles to provide short-haul flights across major cities that are congested and for commutes between suburbs and city centres at a competitive pricing than road transport.

Airbus developed its first autonomous eVOTL called Vahana demonstrator developed by its Silicon Valley team. The self-piloted air taxi is touted to ferry a single passenger in a forward-facing cockpit. This prototype is claimed to deliver a range of 31 miles or up to 20 minutes of flight time. Already, Vahana completed 114 flights back in early 2018.

Airbus is working on a second aerial taxi called CityAirbus, which is under testing. CityAirbus is an all-electric mulicopter eVTOL vehicle with four seats and is unmanned as well. Its maiden take-off happened in May at a cruising speed of nearly 75 miles per hour with up to 15 minutes of flight time. Airbus is focused on investing in its UAM technology in the form of its ride-hailing helicopter service wherein flights start at $ 215 (nearly €190).

Picture credits: Wingcopter

Wingcopter (Germany)

Wingcopter is an award-winning German manufacturer of unmanned eVTOL aircrafts dedicated to improving the lives of people all over the world with commercial and humanitarian applications. The primary focus of this company is to deliver goods, food and parcels.

Currently, Wingcopter operates in ten countries across the world. The company is in plans to test new delivery applications in the USA. Wingcopter deploys its patented tilt-rotor mechanism, which bridges the gap between commercial drones, helicopters, and fixed-wing aircraft. Its electrically powered drones can take off and land vertically in the smallest of spaces and transform into unmanned aeroplanes in a matter of seconds. This enables ranges of up to 75 miles/120 kilometres in one flight and a Guinness world record speed of 150 miles/240 kilometres per hour.

Founded by Tom Plümmer, Jonathan Hesselbarth, and Ansgar Kadura in 2017, Wingcopter secured financing from Singapore-based Corecam Capital Partners in late 2019. With this investment, the German company plans to accelerate the development of the next Wingcopter generation and expand its global maintenance and sales network.

Picture credits: Heart Aerospace

Heart Aerospace (Sweden)

Swedish air mobility startup Heart Aerospace operates with the mission to create the most affordable, fastest, and sustainable transportation for regional travel across the world. The company’s first aircraft is the ES-19, which is a nineteen-passenger airliner. It is touted to operate with a range of 400 km and has been certified for commercial operation by 2025.

Initially, the planes of Heart Aerospace will offer point-to-point transportation between Scandinavian cities, before expanding operations to the rest of the world. The Y-Combinator alumni founded in 2018 by Anders Forslund allows for an effective replacement of conventional small aircrafts on regional routes. It has also received support from the Swedish government to electrify aviation. And, it works with the intention to fully electrify domestic air travel by 2040. To date, Heart Aerospace has pocketed €1.9 million that helps it achieve its ambition.

If you know any startup in the urban air mobility segment that we have missed in the list, let us know, we will put your message across.

Main image picture credits: Lilium

The post The future of urban air mobility in Europe: These companies could change the way how we travel appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Have a sustainable mobility startup idea that might change the world? Startup in Residence Amsterdam is looking for you!

The sixth edition of Startup in Residence accelerator programme is back for aspiring entrepreneurs. The government’s startup programme is a six-month venture wherein participating startups receive training, mentorship and resources to test out their ideas directly in the city of Amsterdam. This year’s themes are Sustainability and Mobility, and the deadline to apply for the campaign is August 11, 2020. Those interested can sign up for the programme here.

Further, here’s what you need to know about the programme. Afbeelding met kaart, tekst, teken  Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Tackle sustainability and mobility issues!

Like every year, the Startup in Residence accelerator programme has announced the key theme for this year’s participants. The programme is aimed at enticing the best startups, scaleups, innovative SMEs, and social entrepreneurs with creative and innovative solutions for the city’s mobility and sustainability issues. Under the two grander themes, solutions are sought for wide-ranging topics such as ’emission-free recreational boats’ and ‘circular renovation’ to ‘inclusive mobility’ and ‘local food logistics’.

Additionally, a “wild card challenge” is also applicable on both themes. With the challenge, an entrepreneur can apply when they have good ideas and solutions but they don’t fit into any above-described issues. One deadline to sign up for the programme is August 11, 2020. 

Opportunities await the winners

The selected startups will get the opportunity to test their product and/or services in Amsterdam. They will also have professional mentors and potential clients guiding them. At the end of the programme, it is the municipality’s intention to become the launching customer of a successful startup or to enter some into some form of cooperation. Additionally, the aim of all Startup in Residence programmes is for the municipality to make public tenders more accessible to smaller parties such as start-ups, scale-ups, and social entrepreneurs.

You can sign up for the programme here.

Image credits: Shutterstock

This article is produced in collaboration with StartupAmsterdam. Read more about our partnering opportunities.

The post Have a sustainable mobility startup idea that might change the world? Startup in Residence Amsterdam is looking for you! appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Can a $50M fund for diverse founders change the face of Milwaukee’s tech scene? – Milwaukee – Milwaukee Business Journal

Can a $ 50M fund for diverse founders change the face of Milwaukee’s tech scene? – Milwaukee  Milwaukee Business Journal
“startups when:1d” – Google News

COVID-19 means EU must change its AI proposals

There is no shortage of talent brewing in AI in Europe and people with an entrepreneurial spirit to see them through. We have an ever-growing number of startups and the promise they show is second to none. However, we desperately need to create an environment for the companies and technologies of the future to develop and succeed in Europe – to provide jobs but also to help meet the challenges facing our planet. This has always been the case, but the gathering storm resulting from COVID-19 makes the need for the right environment more urgent than ever. 

Last year, when the proposals for new AI regulations in the EU were first published, dozens of startups across the “Digital 9” countries decided to form a coalition – the Digital Future for Europe – to respond in unison to the European Commission’s White Paper.

Digital Future for Europe is a group of startups, scale-ups, associations, think tanks and successful tech businesses from across the D9 nations. We have come together to embed a positive, ambitious and innovative digital agenda for the whole of Europe.

Our response to the Commission was clear: these proposals are positive and a good start, but nowhere near perfect. A heavy-handed approach to regulation could hold the sector back and diminish its chances to grow and become more competitive. Big tech companies may be discouraged from setting up camp and investing in Europe and the continent will become a barren ground for AI startups seeking to compete globally.

In order to avoid stagnating the sector, Europe must allow data to flow as freely as possible, help countries to address skills shortages, support SMEs to embrace the benefits of AI, and give the research and innovation community the tools, incentives and investment it needs to thrive.

It’s true – there are positives in the proposals: the Commission’s ambition to improve data access in Europe; the intention to promote the adoption of AI in the public sector; the acknowledgement of the importance of AI to the traditional economy; the will to create the right environment for increasing AI in the private sector; focus on skills; and the importance of not overburdening SMEs with regulation.

However, there are elements of the proposals that really worry us.

The definitions of AI and high-risk AI are too broad. The set of commitments for the development of certain kinds of AI systems, as they stand, would be too onerous for SMEs and startups. The human oversight proposals require careful thought so as not to defeat the point of many types of artificial intelligence, which are about reducing the need for human oversight of time-consuming and pattern-revealing tasks.

It’s also vital to recognise that while big tech companies may be able to adapt to these changes, startups and existing SMEs will find themselves in an impossible position: trying to figure out how to keep creating and innovating with their hands very much tied with a tonne of red tape behind their backs. We have submitted a full response to the Commission’s consultation, reflecting the concerns of coalition members, making it available on our website.

We are living through a global pandemic that has dangerously slowed down the economy, already creating a tougher environment for startups to thrive and SMEs and scaleups to stay afloat. In light of that, the organisation I lead, the Dutch Startup Association, recently launched a support program called ReStartup to help startups manage and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. 

We foresee a prolonged period of economic decline following the pandemic and expect effects for startups lasting well into 2021. The very fact that we are having to take these measures should be a warning sign to the European Commission that any initiatives that make the environment for these organisations even more fragile will amount to a risk definitely not worth taking.

The truth is, even though our startups and SMEs are brilliant and competitive, we are already lagging behind. As the COVID-19 crisis developed, for example, tech companies jumped to the fore and united efforts with other businesses, researchers and the wider AI-developing community to facilitate the sharing of data and speed up the analysis of the virus’ characteristics, spread, effects on the human body, and potential treatments and bases for vaccines. Most of those companies were the US and China-based – sadly, very few of these initiatives happened in Europe and they were all but dwarfed by projects launched in those countries.

The Dutch Startup Association’s goal is to turn the Netherlands into the startup State of Europe. And as members of the Digital Future for Europe coalition, we believe our own countries must do more to lead Europe in tech policy and we believe European policy must follow the lead of the most successful countries within the EU. This means doing more to support the success of the European tech ecosystem, recognising that we are entering an age where all sectors become digitised and affected by AI. 

There is no longer a “digital” part of the economy — we have an increasingly digitised and automated economy and companies which have traditionally driven Europe’s success must adapt to this reality.

Going forward, it will be crucial for the Commission to reconsider the definitions of AI and high-risk AI – as well as the commitments set out for the mitigation of harm – the potential impact of “before the event” regulations and the complications and unintended consequences of the human oversight requirements. These are some of the changes we would like to see:

First, we believe it would be more appropriate to have a definition that focuses on the way in which AI is a learning and adaptive technology, and the definition of “high-risk AI” should not only focus on the risk but should consider the probability of AI systems causing harm.

Second, the EC should not try to pre-emptively regulate AI systems and should instead focus on the problems of the present through the use of industry standards rather than statutory instruments. In addition, their insistence on a blanket requirement for human oversight defeats the point of many types of AI, which are about reducing the need for human oversight of many tasks.

Third, the focus on skills must include three things: educating the next generation for a digital era; supporting the current workforce to reskill, and ensuring Europe attracts and retains the talent its digital industries sorely need.

Finally, the EU must provide support for SMEs and startups, such as exemptions for startups and SMEs in their first year of operation to encourage innovation, plus provide incentives for existing businesses that want to use AI systems in their operations.

In the same way that Europe failed to ride the wave of the digital revolution that saw the rise of American-based tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, if it misses the current wave – the new tech revolution – its economy could be severely impaired in the years to come, as the exponential growth of AI in China and the US allows them to pull further away.

If the Commission can get the balance of regulation right, it will succeed in creating an environment that provides new jobs, attracts investment and allows Europe to compete with the US and China. Get this wrong and the burden of regulation – on top of the COVID-19 economic storm – could seriously damage Europe’s tech sector at a crucial time.

Guest post by Thomas Vles, Director of the Dutch Startup Association

Main image credits: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock

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Startups – Silicon Canals