'Creating CEElicon' Valley in Focus of HVCA Investment Conference


The Hungarian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (HVCA) held its 24th annual investment conference on September 21. International presenters and experts at the conference discussed the future of the venture debt market, and exchanged thoughts about the creation of a regional "CEElicon Valley".

The conference provided a forum for the most prominent players, investors, executives, and business decision-makers of the Central and Eastern European venture capital and private equity sector to share and discuss market trends and presented the most pressing issues with prominent players in the sector.

The first-panel discussion focused on non-conventional venture debt, where financial experts consulted about the current role of venture debt in early-stage firms’ life cycle, outlining a number of positive synergies and the nature of complementarity between venture debt and venture capital finance.  

"What ingredients does CEE need to replicate the success of Silicon Valley?" – that was the main question in the panel, where the region’s experts were looking into latecomer advantages of CEE Europe’s venture capital market and its capacity to catch up with the mature venture capital market of Silicon Valley.

By exploring the region’s current resources, regulatory environment, infrastructure, and culture, as well as targeted actions needed to be taken, the discussion highlighted that processes in CEE Europe’s venture capital market can be radically improved as the region climbs the steep development curve.

EIF Wins Harsanyi Prize

The European Investment Fund, represented by Cyril Gouiffes, its head of social impact investing took the John Harsanyi Prize, which is HVCA’s award to one individual or an organization recognized for its exceptional contribution to the development of entrepreneurial processes worldwide. This year EIF earned this prize.

"So far, we have supported through our investments more than 15,000 Hungarian SMEs corresponding to a total amount of 332 million in equity, guarantees, and securitization in Hungarian financial intermediaries. Receiving the John Harsanyi Prize is an enormous honor and even more so a very special recognition of EIF’s role to the Hungarian and wider European economy," said Gouiffes at the award ceremony.

As in previous years, a social issue indirectly related to the private equity sector was also part of the full-day conference: Áron Szilágyi, a three-time Olympic champion saber fencer introduced MEEF, the Hungarian Elite Athletes' Interest Protection Forum, an association with a purpose to develop programs for Hungarian elite athletes in cooperation with business partners and educational institutions and provide them with financial and legal advice during their active years and after retirement.

There was also an exciting panel discussion on how to explore the effects and benefits of featuring startups on TV, on programs like "SharkTank", "Dragons’ Den", and "2 Minuten 2 Millions". The participants of the roundtable discussed the benefit of such shows for the investor community, or whether it is even an effective way of promoting entrepreneurship. 

The leaders of HVCA/HunBAN/StartUp Hungary highlighted the role and initiatives of individual organizations within the regional VC and PE community including highlighting the impact of the three organizations on the startup ecosystem.

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