Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 63 | Page 12


Launch of new fund of funds to support European tech champions

Europe ’ s tech start-ups often do not have sufficient capital to compete on a global scale and are pushed to relocate overseas . Closing this scale-up gap could create many highly skilled jobs and boost growth .

Five EU member states and the European

Investment Bank Group ( European Investment Bank , European Investment Fund ) have signed the European Tech Champions Initiative ( ETCI ) mandate , a fund of funds that will channel much-needed late-stage growth capital to promising European innovators .
ETCI will deepen Europe ’ s scale-up venture capital ( VC ) markets by bridging gaps in financing availability , especially for companies seeking to raise amounts of over € 50 million . It will help create an asset class for European institutional investors to diversify their portfolios , thus maintaining a continuous flow of funding to European scale-ups . Such positive self-sustained dynamic in the European high-tech landscape will nurture home-grown innovation and entrepreneurship .
ETCI – the cornerstone of the Pan- European Scale Up Initiative unveiled in February 2022 in Paris during a summit organised under the French Presidency of the Council of the EU – will pool public resources from participating member states and the EIB Group to make significant investments into large-scale VC funds , which will , in turn , provide growth financing to European tech champions .
ETCI has secured commitments from Spain (€ 1 billion ), Germany (€ 1 billion ), France (€ 1 billion ), Italy (€ 150 million ) and Belgium (€ 100 million ) during the initial subscription period . The EIB Group has deployed an additional € 500 million , thus bringing the grand total to € 3.75 billion at this stage .

Confidence in tech-enabled customer service remains low among UK consumers

Telephone is still widely perceived by consumers to be the customer service channel most likely to deliver a positive outcome , new research has found .

According to FM Outsource ’ s Make Every Conversation Count report , 48 % of people believe phone is the most effective customer service channel . It is significantly more popular among consumers than tech-enabled channels including live chat ( 21 %), email ( 21 %), WhatsApp ( 6 %) and chatbots ( 3 %).
Interestingly , despite its reputation as an effective route for customers who have been let down by companies via other channels , only 2 % of people said that public social media posts are the most likely to deliver a positive outcome .
When asked for the channel they believe is most likely to deliver a poor outcome , chatbots emerged as the least popular ( 36 %), followed by automated speech recognition ( 21 %), suggesting consumers are of the belief that their problem is most likely to be resolved quickly and efficiently if they are able to converse directly with a human operator .
As part of the research , respondents were also asked for their preferred customer service channel across a variety of sectors , if a positive outcome was guaranteed .
Martin Brown , CCO at FM Outsource , said : “ The research highlights some definite scepticism among consumers when it comes to dealing with customer service , with particular wariness around new technologies such as chatbots . This is most likely down to previous bad experiences , however , this doesn ’ t need to be the case and businesses should not be put off .”
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