Eurada News nº401 – June 2020

Nicolas Brien Elected as President of the European Startup Network

Find here a biographical sketch of the  new President of the ESN.

The European Startup Network (ESN) now has a new president after the election of Nicolas Brien. 

Nicolas defines the ESN as “the leading platform for European startups”. As an organisation, it was established in September of 2016 and is composed of 24 national startup associations from across Europe. It allows them to access various startup ecosystems, stakeholders, and different experts, enabling exchanges of good practices, searches for new opportunities, and the ability to collaborate on projects. They help startups to scale up, representing them to European policymakers and connecting them to corporate actors and investors.  

The objective of ESN is to ensure a unified voice for, and consequently unified action on behalf of, European startups and scaleups. They support a Digital Single Market and are updated on key issues that might have negative effects on advanced technologies. The ESN also helps startups at a legislative level, influencing policymakers by producing high-impact papers, serving on expert committees, and lobbying regulators on behalf of startups, scaleups, and entrepreneurs.  

Nicolas Brien is CEO at France Digitale, the largest national startup organisation in Europe, with over 1 700 members. He holds a master’s degree from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and has previously worked as Director of Studies at Kantar-TNS Sofres, as well as having been a senior advisor to the French Government. Nicolas is currently a lecturer at Sciences-Po Paris and Institut des Hautes Études Internationales et Politiques. 

Nicolas is highly interested in digital transformation, arguing in favour of the engagement of the European Commission in it. According to him, the ESN should become a key stakeholder in shaping recovery plans. Since the onset of the Covid lockdown, they have been able to multiply their remote workers and have doubled the volume of goods they buy online. 

Other board members of the European Startup Network are Matthias Zwingli (Switzerland), Markus Raunig (Austria), and Nils Beers (The Netherlands). Jan Bormans, CEO of ESN notes “The appointment of Nicolas Brien shows that ESN is an evolving organisation with growth ambitions, shifting into a higher gear to strengthen further its engagement with startups, policy makers, corporates and investors, I am looking forward to exciting days ahead.” 

Now they have a new stage of cooperation ahead; both the ESN and Nicolas are already working on future common objectives, such as expanding their network beyond its current coverage and the achievement of new strategic alliances in order to bolster the effectiveness of the European startup ecosystem. 


By Estefanía LÓPEZ, Intern at EURADA.