€100m Promised for Future Internet Companies by EU at Campus Party

Neelie Kroes, VP of the EU Commission leading the digital agenda, has announced a €100m fund for European entrepreneurs to create future internet businesses during 2014 and 2015.

The M2M market is already worth €34bn, Kroes told the audience at Telefonicas Campus Party, and it could grow by 30 per cent per year, meaning trillions in global revenues by 2020. But she pointed out that while US and Asian tech company revenues have grown by up to 50 per cent in the last five years, many European companies had seen sales decline. “We need to change that,” she said.

The FI-WARE (future internet) project ‘to make innovative technologies available for all’ is a JV between the EU and major IT companies. The OpenStack, cloud-based resource comes with a library of free, open source tools to speed up the development process for internet-of-things apps across different platforms and sectors. There are already five trials of the platform taking place, in healthcare, transport and logistics, media and content, manufacturing and energy.

“From mobile devices to app stores, software, and IP networks, these are the ingredients that help American companies build a network and snowball to success,” she said. “Its time we had more of them over in Europe too. Think about security and privacy by design, social connected TV, augmented reality, instant mobility or even smart farming.”

Kroes – a towering figure in the EU, aged 72 – was joined on stage by her 17-year-old advisor Luis Ivan Cuende, a young entrepreneur and winner of the HackNow contest in 2011. He said this project was an opportunity for the EU to create internet companies that respect users privacy.

In a final call to arms, the commissioner added: “You are best placed, not just to innovate, but to turn that innovation into real products, real services, and real jobs. Lets stop with being modest in Europe.”