Report: Digital Markets Act, Venture Capital and Startups

Report: Digital Markets Act, Venture Capital and Startups

In this report produced by Beta-i both for the tech community and their policy-makers in Europe, we share analysis and recommendations on a crucial, yet unexplored, topic: the Digital Markets Act (DMA) systemic impact on European startups and scale-ups, with special emphasis on the direct or unintended consequences on venture capital investment. 

Available for download here, the document summarizes what the DMA is about and how it can impact European digital companies growth. But above all, shares contributions to the legislative discussion being held on the topic, such as:


# The DMA’s message that growing too much will come at the cost of being regulated ex-ante is still not enough for Europe’s ambitious digital and green transformation goals over the next decade;

#  The proposal skips some necessary guiding principles for the single market’s future competitiveness. The DMA could better anticipate ways to support and prepare European startups’ journey towards a “gatekeeper” position within Europe’s digital single market;

# European companies may choose to fragment themselves to avoid reaching the “gatekeeper stage”, which will inhibit their ability to compete on the global stage;

# By being mainly focused on existing large players rather than unleashing innovation from within, the DMA proposal lacks the connection with other EU initiatives to reinforce Europe’s entrepreneurial vision;

# The DMA debate could explore the topic from a more positive perspective, establishing a competitive and inclusive vision, capable of foreseeing scenarios based on collaboration between different business stakeholders, of different sizes;

# Net VC numbers could plunge in Europe for a period still to be estimated, as the impact of the DMA on the ecosystem and the uncertainty it can generate keeps under assessment. The impact could be greater and deeper in more risk-averse investment models such as corporate ventures and regular M&A;

# The theme of mergers, acquisitions and the so-called killer acquisitions should not be framed under a “one size fits all” logic. Each merger and acquisition is the result of differing sets of circumstances which means that not every acquisition is a to-be-controlled killer one;

# The proposal of centralizing within the DMA gatekeepers’ deliberations in the European Commission is interesting and pragmatic, as long as the Commission set up minimum instruments for the Member States to provide timely context and information;

# In regard to data processing and usage, a proposal with a greater focus on what happens at the very beginning of commercial relations between the current gatekeepers and their business users (and then their final consumers/users), would be a simpler way to nudge compliance and neutralize future conflicts of interest;

# The European Commission could double-down in a systemic economic consultation to further preview and anticipate DMA’s consequences on the investment market, and the impact it will have on up-and-coming European players in the digital marketplace.

Commissioned by Google, the report actually translates Beta-i’s perspective from the inside of innovation, digital and entrepreneurship spaces in Europe. The Digital Markets Act is relevant and necessary but could improve its understanding of the interconnected nature of the tech ecosystem. This would be a way to better design any transition towards Europe’s digital competitiveness ambition. We believe it is possible to promote a free market alongside regulatory tools to ensure fair, equitable access to B2B opportunities – while giving consumers choice.


How To Speak Startup Lingo

Startups can sound like american college fraternities

The startupian language is not an american college fraternity glossary but… you can definitely find your favorite greek letters there as Alphas and Betas are here to stay.

If a startup is on Alpha stage, it is on its very first version, testing and finding their way through life. Naturally, Beta comes right after, looking more confident and trustworthy. Since you are more mature, some investors can even give you an allowance.

This is just the intro of the startupian ABC and since all startups speak the same language, here are a few other things I think you should know if you want to be startupian-fluent.

(Or even if you don’t know anything about it but would like to get a glimpse)

It’s a two-animal ecosystem – and one doesn’t even exist

The first – You dream about it, you want one for Christmas.

Yes, of course, it’s the unicorn.

If you are a startup, most of the times, you want to become one. With your long colored hair of over $1 billion. That’s an expensive haircut that in 2018 more than 260 startups had.

The second – you avoid it, you don’t want it in your house.

Yup, the “OMG WHAT IS THIS” Cockroach.

It is the startup that is growing gradually and progressively. It will, as a cockroach, outlive you.

It all starts with a seed.

It is the rule of life! Well, in this case it’s more about money.

Seed Money is the initial money a startup gets to start – from the founders themselves, though savings or loans, family and friends help or even external investors. Besides this, there are several other investment rounds a startup can receive.

“You’re loving Angels instead”

(Pardon my pop culture, late 90’s and early 00’s have made a come back here in the office)

Well, you will love them, as Angel Investors usually invest  in an initial moment of a startup. There is, of course, a lot of other Investors for Startups.

“What’s your Pitch, tell me what’s your Pitch”

(Told you!)

So, if you grab your online Oxford Dictionary, the 7th and my favourite definition of pitch – at least while writing this post – is “A place where a street vendor or performer stations themselves or sets up a stall.”

Now, imagine the world has transformed itself into a huge Speakers’ Corner and all places are good for you to set up your stall. It should be a concise, clarifying and captivating presentation of your startup. This is possible, especially if you are following the right tips.

Also, we’ve set up the perfect stage for a startup to set up their stall – just Apply to Pitch at #LIS19

See you there?

SOLshare: meet the winner of Free Electrons 2018

SOLshare: meet the winner of Free Electrons 2018

SOLshare came into Free Electrons programme with a bold mission: to create networks, share solar electricity & eliminate poverty. And they actually proved they can do it – that’s how they became the winners of a $200.000 prize of Free Electrons World’s Best Energy Startup 2018.

Who is SOLshare

A Bangladeshi social enterprise founded by Sebastien Groh in November 2015, it is now a diverse group of people working from Bangladesh, Bogotá and Berlin, to change the way people consume and pay for energy around the globe.


SOLshare Team – image by SOLshare

What does SOLshare do

SOLshare is bringing sustainable, affordable energy access for low-income rural people Bangladesh. Their decentralized peer-to-peer microgrids deliver solar power to households and businesses and enable them to trade their (excess) electricity for profit.


The SOLbox

How are they doing it? Well, they created a peer-to-peer energy trading platform on blockchain technology.

Bangladesh, where more 10 million people are cut off from the electric power system, was already investing in domestic solar panels called Solar Home System (SHS). SOLshare created the SOLbox – a bi-directional DC electricity meter that enables peer-to-peer electricity trading, smart grid management, remote monitoring, mobile money payment and data analytics.

Through the Solbox, consumers can choose whether they wish to be a buyer of energy or a seller (if they have a solar panel installed), and even sell energy to homes that do not have a solar panel system installed.

By connecting several SHS to each other as well as to homes without electricity, the nano-grid can provide a consistent energy network for an entire village.

The plug-and-play nature of the technology allows the grid to grow dynamically from the ‘bottom-up’ as more users can dynamically connect over time.  sol-share-2-free-electrons-winner-grid-system

The data is stored in the network and the digital platform integrates mobile money infrastructure for remote payment (payments are processed through a phone application via credit or debit) and lockout and provides data analytics and grid management services.

SOLshare’s journey through Free Electrons

Coming into Free Electrons, SOLshare had a lot to offer: with their nano-grids, they could provide to utilities certainty, with their distributed billing they were able to offer controlled systems, and also could provide distributed storage. By partnering up with global utilities, SOLshare had a chance to pilot their products in a long-reaching plan.

They didn’t waste any time partnering up and worked on pilots with both Innogy and Tepco, for a donation platform (Energy SOLidarity Token), where a donor can choose individual users or a predefined group of users (like a village) to donate energy to.

By the end phase of Free Electrons, SOLshare had raised a $1.66M A-series round of investment from utilities EDP and Innogy, and IIX (Impact Investment Exchange).


SOLshare wins Free Electrons World’s Best Energy Startup 2018

Leaving an impact

The peer-to-peer solar grids are changing lives in Bangladesh. They are reaching out to isolated, poor communities in Bangladesh and empowering them to upgrade their lives with the use of power in agricultural and day-to-day tasks and even turning them into business people by providing energy to their neighbors.

SOLshare pioneers a micro-energy transition model 3.0 by interconnecting solar home systems in peer-to-peer networks, monetizing excess solar energy along the value chain in real time with mobile money and empowering communities to earn a direct income from the sun.

They are opening up a path that can be used by utilities globally and the future of clean energy.

First Bangladeshi Startup to make it in the 2019 Global Cleantech 100

In its 10th edition, The Global Cleantech 100 is an annual guide to the leading companies and themes in sustainable innovation. It features the private, independent, for-profit companies best positioned to solve tomorrow’s clean technology challenges. SOLshare made it into the list, proving once again it is one of the most innovative and promising ideas in cleantech and that it’s best positioned to solve tomorrow’s clean technology challenges.

Join the Free Electrons community

If you too have a project that could change the energy industry, apply to Free Electrons – the leading global energy startup accelerator is looking for the brightest startups in the Energy scene to partner up with global utilities in accelerating change in this industry.