I’m sure you’ve heard of Silicon Valley, located in the San Francisco Bay Area in northern California, and home to big-name, innovative companies like Apple and Google. Some 3D technology companies, like Leopoly and Sculpteo, also call it home, and Voodoo Manufacturing displayed some really awesome 3D printed Syfy models at the Silicon Valley Comic Con this spring. There’s also an Emmy-winning half-hour television show called Silicon Valley that’s been on the air since 2014. But have you heard of Silicon Valletta? This exclusive club recently launched in Malta, to connect the Mediterranean island’s rapidly growing startup scene with the government and investment sectors, and bring together all the CEOs of its digital businesses.
Malta is now the most densely populated country in Europe, taking that mantle away from the Netherlands. It is one of the few countries in the EU that uses English as its first language, and offers a great climate and easy access to the rest of the continent, all of which combine to help its tech ecosystem grow in leaps and bounds. The addition of Silicon Valletta will help accelerate the island’s emerging tech hub.
“Despite its geographical size, Malta’s tech scene is growing, particularly within gaming and FinTech, as well as non-regulated industries,” said Silicon Valletta president Simon Azzopardi. “Silicon Valletta was set up to represent the founders and investors on the island that are challenging the status quo and need to lobby for support, as well as brand the island’s many attractions.”
The initial team of 40 members will sit down for a face-to-face social event each month, in order to encourage cooperation between all of Malta’s digital community stakeholders, and also “act as a fulcrum for government decision-making.” They will also discuss the challenges currently facing the tech industry, and promote Malta abroad. Some of Silicon Valletta’s founders had the opportunity to discuss why the club was formed, and why they chose to run their business in Malta, during ZEST, the island’s biggest digital conference. When asked how the club can help CEOs of digital companies, many of the responses given paint a pretty startup-friendly picture:
Stephen Chetcuti Bonavita, Altaro Software, said, “Silicon Valletta is actively supporting a tax back initiative for startup investments. Although Malta offers a very attractive income tax rates for non-residents, the problem is that company income tax for locals goes up to 35%.”
“As a group we can contribute to the community by ‘lobbing’ interest of smaller companies,” said Chris Kaye, Sherpa MSL. “Regulations were created for bigger companies and one can not compare startup with industry dinosaurs – there is a need to create some differentiation and Silicon Valletta has an ambassadorial role in it.”
“One of the most pleasant things is a culture of work-life balance and also a possibility to maintain one,” said Lewis Holland, DiscountIF.
“English language (big plus),” said Kris Jes Peterson, CannonBall Invest.
Jack Cator, Privax Ltd., had a simple answer: “Climate – 300 sunny days a year.”
I’d tell you to visit Silicon Valletta’s Facebook page to learn more, but it is a closed group, so you will have to join the group to see any more information on the club.
Until this point in time, when most people think of Malta, gaming and gambling come to mind, but innovative companies like Thought3D are starting to redefine the island’s startup sector. We’ve heard about them before, when they released their MAGIGOO 3D printing adhesive after winning funds from the Takeoff Seed Fund Award (TOSFA) to commercialize the product in Europe last year. Since 2014, the company has been incubated at Maltese accelerator TAKEOFF. They also won the Malta Innovation Award for Best Technology and WIPO IP Trophy, and have since been focused on growing their team, updating their branding with the help of leading Maltese agency BRND WGN, and attracting seed investment. They gave the MAGIGOO 3D printing pen a total makeover this year, so it now offers more efficiency at lower operating heat settings. Discuss in the Silicon Valletta forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: Forbes]