Upgraded visited Allied for Startups in Brussels


Upgraded visited Allied for Startups in Brussels

Upgraded community manager Iiris visited Brussels and attended the Annual Summit of the Allied for Startups network on 14-16 October. During the trip, Iiris & Upgraded got great insights into lobbying for startups and got to meet with over 20 startup organisation representatives from all over the world. Also Upgraded got excellent visibilty on an international level. 

“Allied for Startups is a worldwide network of over 40 advocacy organisations focused on improving the policy environment for startups. We are working together to create a consensus on policies that can positively impact startups and grow digital entrepreneurship and digital economy at large. Our mission is to ensure that the voices of startups are heard in government.” (For more info about Allied for Startups (AFS), visit:

This was the 5th and the largest AFS summit yet, where 24 startup community organisations from 3 continents and over 20 countries we brought together to meet each other and to discuss with policymakers and to set the agenda of AFS for 2020. Together we worked on building exponential startup growth on global and EU level.

AFS has member organisations from all over Europe and also from e.g. US, Canada and Malesia. This was the first time Upgraded from Finland joined the summit as a full member. Upgraded was praised for the important work we do in representing health startup organisations.

The AFS member organisations actively participated in the creation of the Mandate for Allied for Startups for the upcoming year 2020. Upgraded was extremely pleased to see eHealth being added to the new mandate!

In its 5th edition, Allied for Startups’ Annual Summit united 23 startup associations from 3 continents to Brussels to discuss how policy can enable exponential startup growth.


Over three days, we had fruitful policy discussions with multiple representatives from the European Commission, the industry and MEP on topics ranging from stock options to platform governance and to data flows.

During the summit, AFS for example hosted roundtable discussions with Gerard de GraafPearse O’Dohonue and Prabhat Argawal from the European Commission. We discussed topics such as the Commission’s upcoming plans to specific exchanges on the Digital Services Act, global data flows or the EU-US privacy shield.

In addition, we attended a startup community exchange, organised by AFS in the European Parliament, kindly hosted by MEPs Eva Maydell and Sean Kelly, featuring also rockstar-entrepreneur John Collison, Co-Founder of Stripe. We had fruitful discussions on stock options, talent and access to funding. It was great to see startups being discussed in European Parliament!

Allied for Startups visited the European Parliament, kindly hosted by MEPs Eva Maydell and Sean Kelly, featuring John Collison, Co-Founder of Stripe.


Startup community representatives also got to discuss mutual priorities with Brussels’ digital stakeholders during an industry exchange and the wider Brussels bubble at the Annual Dinner. Lenard Koschwitz welcomed all guests to the dinner and kindly gave special attention and mentioned Upgraded as the representative of Finnish health startups. In addition to all the guests, AFS was happy to welcome also MEP Eva Kaili for an inspirational discussion at the dinner with the CEO & Founder of Allied for Startups Melissa Blaustein (photo below).

Lenard Koschwitz (Senior Director Global Policy, AFS), Eva Kaili (MEP) and Melissa Blaustein (Founder & Ceo, AFS) at the Annual Dinner of AFS.


Lenard Koschwitz from Allied for Startups will be coming to Helsinki to attend Slush, so you might also get the chance to meet him soon!

Upgraded is very excited about the important work AFS is doing and we are happy to continue working togerher in the future. Amongst the many activities of AFS is their new Digital Therapeutics platform, DTx, which is focusing on health startups.

Allied for Startups DTx is connecting startups, policymakers and stakeholders in the European healthcare landscape to lower regulatory barriers, enhance growth and support innovation for startups in digital therapeutics and, more broadly, digital health.

Our mission is to create a positive policy environment for digital therapeutics and health startups, connect stakeholders and inform about best practices, lead policy dialogues and facilitate cooperation among startups and stakeholders in the healthcare sector.”

At the moment, Allied for Startups DTx is preparing a short statement on the regulatory issues that European digital health startups face and how to move forward, to raise awareness among key EU policymakers. Right now they are looking for inputs from health startups. You can answer this short questionnaire or send your comments/thoughts to them by email. They are also looking for startups to join their cause. DTx membership for startups has no costs associated or any conditions. By joining them you get e.g. updates of their activities and on EU health and digital policy.

(Parts of the text originally published by Allied for Startups.)

Inspired by the great work that Allied for Startups is doing on the global & EU level, Upgraded will soon start advocating for the health tech startups in policymaking in Finland. We are now actively looking for partners and friends to do this work with us in the future. Please contact us if you are interested in lobbying for health startups with us!

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