Innovative Enterprise Vienna 2018

Be part of the future of innovative finance in Europe!


Conference language: english

DAY 1: 21 November 2018

9:45– 10:15

Opening – Setting the scene

  • Michael Esterl, Secretary General, Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs
  • Patrick Child, Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Wilhelm Molterer, Managing Director, European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI),
    European Investment Bank (EIB)
  • Pier Luigi Gilibert, CEO European Investment Fund (EIF)


Cooperation between national and European levels for mutual benefit:

Signing ceremony for prolongation of InnovFin SME contract for Austrian Promotional Bank aws

  • Michael Esterl, Secretary General, Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs
  • Pier Luigi Gilibert, CEO European Investment Fund (EIF)
  • Bernhard Sagmeister, Managing Director, Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (aws)
  • Patrick Child, Deputy Director General, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission


Keynote speech

Hermann Hauser, chairman of independent High Level Group
for the European Innovation Council (EIC HLG) (Download pdf)


European Innovation Council

Keynote Input: Stephane Ouaki, Head of Unit, Investments and SME’s, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission: Market creating innovation: Levelling up the financing
for innovators (25 min) (Download pdf)
Moderators: Christian Frey, FFG (National Contact Point for SME) and
Marcus Bidmon, FFG (National Contact Point for Risk Finance)

Panel A: Innovation Actors: Stories, challenges and opportunities for growth, innovation and entrepreneurship (55 min)

The EIC will consist of two new elements, namely the Pathfinder and the Accelerator. With these two instruments the whole innovation lifecycle can be covered with the major target on market creating disruptive innovation. The focus to develop scale up companies is clear. Within the session the following issues shall be discussed:

  • Can we raise the number of unicorns with these measures?
  • Are the needs of high tech companies covered with the new instruments?
  • Will the Pathfinder approach work in reality?
  • What is missing?
  • How can the instruments best interact with national funding programmes?
  • Is there a complementarity with Eureka and Eurostars?

Panel B: Blending finance for SMEs: mixing grants with equity and loans (40 min)

A major new feature of the EIC Accelerator will be the blending of different sources of financing to support accelerating the growth of companies. A mix of grants and equity will be provided to single projects, and in a later phase a bridge to loans and loan guarantees will be established.

This session focusses on discussing the following issues:

  • mixing grants + loans + equity: experiences on national level with blending schemes;
  • what conclusion can be drawn from the past: what are the opportunities, the challenges, the issues? Point of views from both sides: the policy making side and SMEs;
  • where does the EIC add value and firepower to existing national blending schemes?
  • what role could incubators and accelerators play in connection with the EIC?
  • what do SMEs expect from this new form of funding on European level?


Lunch buffet at conference venue


Panel C: Next steps towards blended finance (50 min)

In June 2018, the EU heads of states, have urged the European Commission to launch an enlarged pilot activity for the EIC already during the period of Horizon 2020. Very recently, in November 2018, the European Commission presented its plans for 2019-2020 for the first time to the member states. The event in Vienna will be the first opportunity to present these plans also to a wider audience. Panel C gathers experts from companies, consultants and from the finance sector, who have strong previous experience with either the SME-specific instruments, or with European support to VC innovation finance, including financial players top-ranked in financing entrepreneurs. Already during 2018, several new models have been tested in order to further improve the way from grant funding to equity and VC funding. This highly competent group will reflect on the new proposals of the European Commission based on their respective experiences.

Keynote Input: Stephane Ouaki, Head of Unit, Investments and SME’s, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission (Download pdf)
DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
Moderator: Georg Panholzer, Head of Subdivision, Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

  • Alexander Reissner, CEO & Founder, Enpulsion GmbH
  • Paal Braathen, CEO, ToCircle Industries A.S., Norway
  • Martin Theyer, Partner, PKF-Consulting, H2020 Finance Academy Coach
  • David Sonnek, CEO, Industrifonden, Sweden
  • Jerome Fonteneau – Portfolio and Operations Director at Harbert European Growth Capital Fund (HEGCF)
  • Joe Schorge, Managing Partner, Isomer Capital, VC Fund and Venture EU Fund
    (Pan-European fund-of-funds)

Equity – Keynote input (25 min):

  • Regina Hodits, German PE and VC Association, Spokesperson of BVK and Managing Partner/
    Wellington Partners, Input based on study ‘Venture Capital – Fuelling Innovation
    and Economic Growth’ (Download pdf)
  • Rudolf Kinsky, President Austrian Venture Capital Association (AVCO): Austrian perspective (Download pdf)

Panel D: Stimulating innovation finance through fund-of-funds (50 min)

Fundraising is one of the major challenges especially for early stage VC-Funds. Invest EU aims to significantly improve this situation by providing funds for selected fund-of-funds. The following topics will be discussed in the context of this panel:

  • role and impact of fund-of-funds in the fundraising environment of VC-funds;
  • value added of the Pan-European Venture Capital Fund(s)-of-Funds programme (VC FoF programme)
  • role and impact of public fund-of-funds-programmes
  • public cross-border-fund-of-funds: experience of participating countries
  • expectations of VC/PE-funds

Keynote Input: Hubert Cottogni, Head of Mandate Management, EIF (Download pdf)
Moderator: Kurt Leutgeb, Head of Business Unit Guarantees and Equity, aws

  • Mauro Yovane, Principal, Axon Partners Group, Venture EU (Pan-European fund-of-funds)
  • Joe Schorge, Managing Partner, Isomer Capital, Venture EU Fund (Pan-European fund-of-funds)
  • Henri Grundsten, Finnish Industry Investment, Chairman EFVIN – European Venture Fund Investors Network
  • Viktorija Vaitkevičienė, PE&VC Fund of Funds Manager INVEGA, Lithuania
  • Regina Hodits, Managing Partner, Wellington Partners, perspective from Germany
  • Pekka Mäki, Managing Partner, 3ts Capital Partners (example for investment in CEE)


Coffee break


Panel E: How can equity bloom in Austria?

The Austrian venture capital market, which has underperformed in European comparison, has shown positive trends in recent years, especially in early-stage financing. Nevertheless, there are still challenges for sustainable positive development. Within this panel, the following topics will be discussed:

  • Development of the Austrian startup-ecosystem and early stage financing
  • How Venture Capital contributes to enterprise development
  • IPO as an exit route
  • Remaining challenges for the Austrian equity markets

Keynote Input: Daniel Beck, EIF: European Venture and Angel Funding – the Austrian example (Download pdf)
Moderator: Matthias Bischof, Head of communication, aws


Day 1 Closing remarks


Gala Dinner „Aula der Wissenschaften“ (Hall of Sciences, City centre)

DAY 2: 22 November 2018


Opening of Day 2

  • Ramona Samson – Investments and SME’s, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, President of SMEunited, Vice President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber
  • Wilhelm Molterer, Managing Director, European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), European Investment Bank (EIB) – Keynote Input: From EFSI to Invest EU (Download pdf)


Pioneers – Presentation of the results of the Pitching


Panel F: The role of guarantees to boost investments of innovative Start-ups, SMEs and Midcaps?

EU Financial instruments in the form of guarantees will play an even more important role in the next Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF)

Guarantees are typically distributed via financial intermediaries to the final beneficiaries. As the main intermediaries for EU-Financial Instruments Guarantee and National Promotional Institutions are key players in supporting economic challenges in the Member States and regions.

The following topics will be discussed in the context of this panel:

  • Access to finance via guarantees – how can enterprises benefit in future
  • How do EU Financial Instruments/ Guarantees enable access to finance for innovative SMEs?
  • Role of Guarantee and National Promotional Institutions
  • How does the cooperation between EU/EIF and intermediaries work

Keynote Input:

Moderator: Matthias Bischof, Head of communication, aws

  • Ignacio Puente, Policy Officer / Project Advisor, European Innovation Council and Financial Instruments, European Commission
  • Guy Selbherr, CEO, Bürgschaftsbank Baden-Württemberg Germany
  • Christian Dubarry – Head of European Affairs, BPI France
  • Halina Wiśniewska, Managing Director BGK Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego, Poland
  • Bernhard Sagmeister, Managing Director, aws, AECM President


Coffee Break


Breaking Frontiers: novel finance approaches and how to overcome gender gaps in finance

Keynote Input: Shiva Dustdar, Head of Division, Innovation Finance Advisory, EIB (Download pdf)
Moderator: Veronika Pelikan, editor of magazine port41 – this is how entrepreneurship works!

  • Selma Prodanovic, Vice President Austrian Angel Investors Association, Board Member European Business Angel Network
  • Doris Steinmüller-Nethl: Carbon Competence (diamond technologies),
    entrepreneurship & finance experience


European Finance Instruments – Cooperation between company level and European level

  • Ralf Schmid, CFO, F2G
  • Ian Nicholson, CEO, F2G
  • Stephane Ouaki, Head of Unit, Investments and SMEs, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Adrian Kamenitzer, Director Equity, New Products and Special Transactions, EIB


Moderator: Fatima-Nassima Ferahtia, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Investments and SME’s

  • Shiva Dustdar, Head of Division, Innovation Finance Advisory, EIB: Thematic Investment Platforms (including first example: Circular Bioeconomy) (Download PDF)
  • Henri-Francois Boedt, Senior Loan Officer, EIB: InnovFin Infectious Diseases Finance Facility (Download PDF)
  • Gwennael Joliff-Bottrell, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission: InnovFin Energy Demo Finance Pilot and the new ‚Clean Energy Investment Fund‘ (Download PDF)
  • James Mawson, Founder and Editor-in-chief, Global Corporate Venturing


Lunch buffet at conference venue


Panel I – towards a competitive European Deeptech Ecosystem – an Access4SMEs ‚policy trial‘

Inspirational Talk (15 min): Overview on Deep-tech Trends 2018
Keynote input: Digital Innovators in the next MFF

Deep-tech is creating technology that does not exist to solve problems that already exist in the day-to-day life. Deep-tech technologies are bringing a step change in the way companies design, produce, commercialize and create value from all types of goods and relevant services. Similarly, the financial sector is investing more and more in Deep-tech technologies and is a major driver in the digital transformation of the economy. In this context, the EIC with its blening instrument is supposed to interact with other innovation ecosystems such as the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and regional innovation strategies through smart specialisation – S3.

The key topics of this session are the following:

  • Which EU policy models to support innovation and Deep-tech: from Silicon Valley to European Innovation Council
  • How should “blending” be designed to maximize financial instruments and grants?
  • Is the EU moving to a new concept of Innovation ecosystem?
  • Are EU R&I Framework Programmes the most effective way to support R&I in the EU? Could we think of any alternative evidence-based driven model?

Inspirational Talk:

Moderator: Gianluigi Di Bello – Head of EU Liaison Unit – Agency for the Promotion of European Research
Keynote input/European Commission Perspective:


Access 4 SMEs – Presentation of the results of the Pitching


Closing Session & Wrap up – messages to policy and public

  • Keith Sequeira, Member of Cabinet, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission
  • Ulrich Schuh, Director General, Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs

End of day 2


DAY1 & DAY 2:

Pitching sessions additional info (taking place in parallel, in a separate room):
NOTE: companies for the pitching sessions are already selected by the organisers, but visitors are welcome.


Pitching format 1: Pioneers pitching

Pioneers ( is established as Europe’s prime innovation platform with a unique database of 17,000+ company profiles in the deep tech-startup environment with extensive experience in the fields of event organization, consulting and investments.

Preliminary Agenda of Pioneer’s pitching session

  • Startup Pitches + Q&A
  • Investor Pitches + Q&A
  • Investment Workshop
  • World Cafè Session
  • Results Presentation


Pitching format 2: Euroquity pitching, powered by Access4SMEs

Euroquity ( is a powerful network connecting companies, investors and business partners with over 1.500 investors and investments of 500M since 2008.

Preliminary agenda of Access4SMEs/Euroquity pitching session

  • Presentation by Companies
  • Elevator Pitch Session: 20 early stage companies pitch for tickets from 200k€ to 2M€.
  • Open Deals Session: 8 more mature companies that show great growth perspectives pitch together with their current investor for tickets from 2M€ to 20M€.
  • Results Presentation