“We focus on knowledge-intensive regions and entrepreneurs”

“The slogan of META is Knowledge to market and what we want to do is to bring good knowledge and good entrepreneurs to the market. My vision consists of knowledge-intensive companies in knowledge-intensive regions. If the region wants to be wealthy with a good quality of life, then it needs knowledge intensive companies, which are created by knowledge-intensive entrepreneurs,” explains Luigi Amati.

A well-known study Vital 6 per cent, carried out by the UK foundation NESTA, revealed that 5 percent of the new companies, so called knowledge-intensive companies, nowadays contribute to about 50 percent of the total job creation in the UK. Therefore, Amati evokes that the entire Europe needs to build a strong culture of entrepreneurship. “Innovation is important, research is even more important but unless we are able to develop entrepreneurial community in Italy, Slovenia or in other countries across Europe, we fall far behind from the ecosystem that could really make a difference and an impact”. The journey towards a strong culture of dynamic entrepreneurship in Europe is not a short-term process, however education and incentives for entrepreneurship among young people have been improving it.

In the startups’ assessments entrepreneurs come first

As explains Amati, META addresses entrepreneurs with global ambitions and local roots. “We estimate the potential of business firstly through the potential of the size of the target markets a company plans to address and, secondly, through the quality of entrepreneurs. If you want to start an entrepreneurial journey and be successful with a knowledge-intensive company, you need characteristics such as resilience, tenacity and persistence. To be honest, this is the rarest thing to find and finding those hidden gems and jewels in terms of knowledge intense entrepreneurs is what we really focus on. We certainly look at the relevant aspects of the product, such as, patent protection, but these criteria come only third.”

How can innovative entrepreneurs benefit from the collaboration with META Group? In a joint venture with Zernike Group they provide investee companies with an extensive network of contacts through the available global network in United Kingdom, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, USA and Argentina. “In terms of financing META out own funds equal € 130 million, but we contribute to a number of funds under management, which are now present in different countries in Europe, Such as Slovenia, where we have a fund of around € 10 million.” Luigi Amati points out that META is sector agnostic and more focused on the knowledge intensive regions. “In Slovenia we evaluate every year, weather the country has a potential to generate knowledge intensive companies and we already invest in medical technologies. There are also some very good hard technologies and the media sector companies.”

In Europe, to thrive on diversity we need a regional approach

As long as the society fosters innovation and protects competition, standards of living will continue to grow and wealth will increase. Critical governance institutions are required for the effective functioning of the market system and that seems to be still a challenge in many European countries and for Europe as a whole. Speaking the language of the startup community in Europe, there is a wonderful paradox, created by the co-existence of homogeneity and diversity, across the emerging common European startup ground.

“Europe is not a single big market like the US and China. We have 28 languages, legislations and we have to take an advantage of the richness of our diversity. At the same time we have to understand that this is a challenge. Every time you want to penetrate the European market, you have to deal with all this 28 languages, legislations, commercial markets and so forth.” Therefore, Luigi Amati believes Europe has to leverage strongly on its diversity, since the fact that its production of research is number one in the world. “All what we have to do is to lower as much as possible the barriers for European startups to grow within Europe and not to have the best of our startups to leave Europe and run to bigger and more homogeneous markets”.