On March 18th, the VP of New Verticals & APAC Regional Leader Pietro Mondini attended the European Policy Breakfast to discuss fundings for artificial intelligence startups and the differences between private and public ones.
The event was structured as an informal roundtable between Pietro Mondini and Maikki Sipinen, AI Policy Maker for the European Commission. The topic of the roundtable was “Public vs Private Funding for AI Startups” and the goal of the event was to inform the European Commission on how they could improve their policies to better meet AI startups funding needs. The Roundtable was moderated by Mind The Bridge, an innovation advisory firm based in San Francisco.
During the event Pietro has raised several issues, such as, how it is difficult for the investors to evaluate AI companies, as it requires tech competencies, or how the public investors’ mindset is more long-term oriented and focused on the impact that the startup’s technology could have in our economy, which is a very appropriate approach for evaluating a deeptech startup. As a result, the startups usually need a mix of private and public investments. Public processes could take months to be completed and the criteria can be too rigid. Moreover, there appears to be a lack of consideration for the fact that startups change very fast and the terms of public investment need to be renegotiated by the time a positive decision is made.
He also pointed out that funding for AI companies should be exclusive to startups developing proprietary AI, not just statistics or data companies misusing the AI label. At the end of the speech, Pietro reminded that a global dimension for startups and scaleups of the member countries doesn’t pass only from the European dimension, but also from the combination between Europe and international investors. Therefore, any activity of standardization of processes, including legal and compliance ones and attracting international funds, would have a huge impact on the maturation of the innovation system of individual Member States and of the entire Union.
Last but not least, he mentioned that there should be more incentives to attract external VCs to Italy. The topics and the analysis provided by Pietro will be conveyed to the attention of the EU commission from Maikki Sipinen.