Startups rely instinctively on cross-border data flows

May 11, 2016
Entrepreneurs, Data Act

Dear Commissioner Jourová and Secretary Pritzker:

As a collection of startups, scale-ups, and other entrepreneurs in both Europe and the United States, we commend your governments for successfully completing negotiations on the Privacy Shield, which will represent a strengthened mechanism for transatlantic data transfers.

Like virtually all other companies, our companies rely instinctively on cross-border flows of data to develop innovative products and services and reach customers in markets around the world.  Unlike other firms, however, interruptions to data flows do not merely present technical and financial burdens – they actually threaten the survival of our businesses.  All of us have an inborn hunger to create something that changes the world, and to make people better off by doing so.  What we do not have is significant financial resources or armies of lawyers to help us weather such interruptions.

That is why the Privacy Shield is so important to our businesses and our futures.  It is a critical step in improving the trust relationship between Europe and the United States and in restoring the certainty and stability on which our businesses depend.  And, in light of concerns within the startup community on both sides of the Atlantic about governments’ surveillance practices, we are encouraged by the steps the Privacy Shield takes to provide EU citizens multiple avenues of redress if they believe their privacy rights have been violated.  Yet there is still much work to do to ensure that this promising achievement leads to a reliable and lasting framework for transatlantic data transfers, and one that enhances citizens’ trust in data security.

We call on governments on both sides of the Atlantic to continue their efforts to build on this important step, and to do so in a way that allows our companies to continue to innovate, reach new customers, and create jobs.  This includes providing a reasonable transition period for companies to adopt the new obligations, as well as outreach by regulators to describe the Privacy Shield and field questions from companies.

Thank you for your hard work and creativity in getting this deal done.  We look forward to working with you to build on this important success.


Gianmarco Carnovale, President Roma Startup, Italy
Guy Levin, Executive Director Coadec, UK
Simon Schaefer, Factory, Germany
Ivan Debnár, The Spot, Slovakia
Petra Dzurovčinová, Executive Manager SAPIE, Slovakia
Christoph Jeschke, Austrian Startups
Carmen Bermejo, Spanish Startups Association, Spain
Christian Walther Øyrabø, Danish Entrepreneurship Association, Denmark
Eliza Kruczkowska, CEO Startup Poland
Melissa Blaustein, Founder & CEO Allied for Startups
Lenard Koschwitz, Director European Affairs, Allied for Startups
Felix Petersen, Partner Faber Ventures, Portugal
Piotr Wilam, Business Angel and Venture Capitalist, Poland
Travis Todd, Founder Silicon Allee, Germany