The European Commission is today forming a new advisory group, dubbed the Leaders Club, which it hopes will spur the development of more web startups within the region — so that "the best ideas start in Europe and stay in Europe." Headed up by the outspoken Neelie Kroes, Europe's Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, the Leaders Club of successful web entrepreneurs (full list of names below) will meet regularly to discuss what has and hasn't worked for each company, best practices for helping new startups grow, and a broader strategy for encouraging people to set more of them up.
The founders of Skype and Spotify are among the select group of advisors
Kroes' nine collaborators come from varied backgrounds, and though none of them can be considered household names, the companies they've founded are among Europe's most prominent on the web. Kaj Hed is the Chairman of Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon co-founded Spotify, and Niklas Zennström was involved in setting up both Kazaa and Skype before moving on to his present venture at Atomico. Incidentally, Atomico is an investment fund targeting disruptive new technology companies to pour money into. So now that Neelie Kroes has a suitably experienced A-Team to guide her hand, the intrigue turns to how much of their wisdom the Commission will actually put into action — and how effective any of it will be in stimulating "Europe's entrepreneurial spirit."
Leaders Club participants:
· Zaryn Denzel - Tuenti
· Daniel Ek / Martin Lorentzon - Spotify
· Kaj Hed - Rovio
· Lars Hinrichs - HackFwd
· Joanna Shields - Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO)
· Reshma Sohoni - Seedcamp
· Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten - The Next Web
· Niklas Zennström - Atomico