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Has Venture Capital Europe Finally Arrived?

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Speaker: Professor Ulf Axelson
Panellists: Byron Deeter,  Magnus Goodlad, Saul Klein
Chair: Professor Felda Hardymon

Recorded at LSE, Monday 21 March 2016

The coming of a healthy indigenous European early-stage venture capital market has been prophesied since the 80’s, and since the 80’s the scale and the results have never matched the expectation. Whether the perceived failures are due to a lack of talented entrepreneurs, a lack of willing and capable financiers, or simply bad luck is a hotly debated question.

However, since 2009, there have been several dozen European venture capital firms formed, a support system of accountants, lawyers, and bankers has come into being, and there have been many role model companies created such as Skype, Element-14, Criteo, Spotify, and Cambridge Silicon Radio to name a few. Has the corner finally been turned, so that a pool of talented European entrepreneurs can now tap the markets for smart capital? 

This event brings together academics and practitioners to discuss the state of the European venture capital market. Professor Ulf Axelson sets the stage with a short presentation of new evidence on the drivers of success of venture capital deals, contrasting results in Europe and the US. Professor Felda Hardymon then leads a panel discussion featuring Byron Deeter, Saul Klein, and Magnus Goodlad.

About the speakers

Ulf Axelson is the Abraaj Group Professor in Finance and Private Equity at the London School of Economics and the director of the Financial Markets Group.  He is also the director of the MSc in Finance and Private Equity program. Professor Axelson was previously a professor at the Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and at the Stockholm School of Economics. He has been awarded three best paper prizes by the Journal of Finance and the Henderson Award for Excellence in Economic Theory, as well as several teaching prizes.

Byron Deeter (@bdeeter) is a managing partner in Bessemer’s Menlo Park, Calif. Office where he focuses on investments in the cloud-computing, mobile and Internet sectors. Prior to joining Bessemer, Byron was a successful entrepreneur, investor and consultant. He was the founding CEO of Trigo Technologies. At Trigo, Byron grew the company grew to profitability, 150 employees, and a global footprint before being acquired by IBM. Byron is co-author of "Bessemer's 10 Laws of Cloud Computing and SaaS", the BVP cloud index, BVP's cloudscape and BVP's next cloud unicorns. Byron was named to the Forbes Midas List in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and was also named one of the "power players" of venture capital by AlwaysOn in 2013 and 2014 to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's 40 under 40.

Magnus Goodlad is Chief of Staff to Lord Rothschild. He sits on the Investment Committee for Windmill Hill Asset Management, an endowment asset manager, and the Rothschild Family Investment Office, both of which have long-standing venture capital investment programmes.  He was previously a partner at Hermes GPE, a leading specialist private markets institutional investment manager, where he ran a venture capital fund of funds and co-investment fund. Magnus previously spent ten years at Top Technology Ventures and IP Group specialising in early stage UK technology venture capital and intellectual property commercialisation investment where he held various roles, including Chief Operating Officer. 

Saul Klein (@cape) joined Index Ventures in 2007 and was a Partner until May 2015. A serial entrepreneur with two decades of experience building and exiting companies in the US, Israel and Europe, Saul has a passion for working with seed and early stage businesses. Most recently he co-founded Kano and Seedcamp, as well as being co-founder and original CEO of Lovefilm International (acquired by Amazon). He was also part of the original executive team at Skype (acquired by eBay). Saul believes tech is still only just starting to make a dent on the economy and society and that it has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Felda Hardymon is a senior partner at Bessemer Venture Partners and the Class of 75 Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School. He focuses on investments in the software, communications and storage sectors. Past investments include superconducting materials company American Superconductor (NASDAQ: AMSC); African telecommunications provider Celtel (acquired by MTC, now called Zain); Parametric Technology, a provider of product cycle-management software; sporting-goods chain Sports Authority; office-supply company Staples; and Axis Networks (acquired by ACE) a 4G, wireless-remote radio head supplier.