European startups and Hungarians in the valley

… or that’s what happened at the opening of EIT Digital Innovation Silicon Valley Hub

Gabriel Varaljay
ENVIENTA Open Source Everything
4 min readJul 11, 2019


From this blog entry, you get to know how we met the founder of the American Hungarian Chamber of Commerce (who is also the honorary consul of commerce of Hungary) and the consul of science and commerce of the Hungarian government in San Francisco.

In most of the success stories, there are some moments, when you get a phone call, a hint, etc. at the last minute. Well, it was about noon yesterday when I got a quick hint from our friend from Hungary who had already got on and sold several startups. As it turned out there would be a European Innovation “representation” opening event at 5 pm the same day in San Francisco.

We had to make a quick decision but luckily Troy’s hired car was still available, so we asked him to take us to the downtown of San Francisco, which took about an hour (videos on my Instagram Story). Our agreement is that they pay for the fuel and we pay their dinner.

There’s no need to tell, San Francisco is a great experience…

The motorway between Palo Alto and SF, on the other hand, reminds us of the leg between Budapest and Győr on the M1. Same scenery, only more lanes, and different cars. (If I haven’t happened to mention, there are lots of Teslas. Just guesstimating, every twentieth model is an S, 3 or X).

We arrive a half hour before the event… No parking spaces available, we have to go to the underground parking lot, not the cheapest, but what to do. The location is the Westfield Mall. (If you have visited London, you might know this brand, they have mega malls in Shepperd Bush and Stratford).

Gábor Kiss and me at the EIT Digital Silicon Valley Hub opening

We managed to find the two people we had to look for.

The presentations are going on. Representatives of the European center of EIT Digital (this is a decentralized organization which has an agency in Budapest, too) were having presentations, some of them are German, Dutch and Belgian.

EIT practically is the equivalent of MIT but we do everything differently in Europe, so the organization had become decentralized (for which it had been criticized a lot but by now, they are all right, thanks a lot, everything works out just fine).

The lectures tell us that brands like, developments like wifi, or CD and DVD come from the Netherlands.

The point of the local hub is to introduce the European startups in the US, the Californian market in the first place. You can hear it at every presentation, the attitude of the market is completely different, the communications towards the customers, buyers, consumers are totally different. We, Europeans are said to be wanting to convince every consumer and immediate profit. While in the US they practice a much slower but more secure process.

Presentation with white wine — EIT Digital is getting a welcome speech from the US side at the moment.

White wine and sandwiches are served and there is a three-member jazz band taking care of the pleasant mood in the breaks. A dome of a historic building provides for a source of natural light above us. We get to know that at the building of Westfield the multi-ton cupola was removed and restored at the end of the construction work.

This is the USA, everything is huge, everything is monumental, everything is done differently.

That is why we need a link between the European and the American business culture (let’s admit this can be very varied as well because the EU is not the United States of Europe…) This role is to be fulfilled by the local representative of EIT Digital.

Gabrial Váraljay, Gábor Kiss (ENVIENTA) and Dr. Éva Voisin (the honorary consul of Hungary)

In the meantime, we find out there are other Hungarians here.

We meet Dr. Éva E. Voisin, who is the honorary consul of commerce of Hungary.

Éva has lived in the States for 40 years and her husband is also there at the event. Éva introduces us to András Doncsev, who is the consul of science and commerce of the Hungarian government. (he is in the background in the photo above). We find out that there is going to be a series of lectures organized by Hungarians at the University of Stanford. We mention our backcasting research at Corvinus, which generates new topics to talk about. Éva is the founder of the American-Hungarian Chamber of Commerce as well.

Well, this makes a hint so valuable. I would recommend to all Hungarian startups to, if nothing else, follow the activity of EIT Digital (Linkedin, Twitter, etc.), or if possible, take part in one of the accelerator program arranged by this organisation because those valuable gates are ready to open which every upcoming business needs in the United States.

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