It is not easy to get some of the largest institutional investors in Europe and worldwide to meet together at the same event and talk. However, that’s exactly what happened on the second day of 4YFN on the discussion panel moderated by Oriol Juncosa. He was joined by Philippe Botteri (Accel Partners), Krishna Visvanathan (DFJ Spirit), Mattias Ljungman (Atomico) and Davor Hebe (Fidelity).
Investing in Europe
The year 2014 was very important for the venture capital industry in Europe, with an investing activity unseen since the bursting of the dotcom bubble. However, the technology sector of the old continent is still far from getting the kind of money circulating across the pond in America.
Nevertheless, there is a distance which all the speakers believe will be bridged in the coming months and years, as the European economy continues to grow. “Europe has shown that it is capable of creating super-tech giants,” said Philippe while mentioning the case of Spotify and Supercell. “And the best thing is that it seems the pace won’t slow down in the coming years.”
“It’s a great time to invest in European startups,” Mattias said. “The mindset throughout the continent is changing and we are seeing interesting startups popping up in every country or region.”
Krishna, who has been investing in European technologies since 1999, corroborated the thesis of his colleagues by stating he does not believe “there is too much money in the market and that Europe has never been so ready to invest in or undertake new business ventures.”
The role of investors: how to decide where to invest
Another major topic of the talk was how investors pick the startups they invest in. The panel participants stated that there is no magic formula.
Do investors tend to focus on specific sectors? Krishna Visvanathan says no. Although they are more interested in some industries than in others, at the end of the day “entrepreneurs, their ideas and their level of execution set the pace. So we’ll go wherever there are founders that meet these requirements. ”
“To us,” says Mattias from Atomico, “those sectors in which various initiatives intersect are very important, such as in the case of car sharing.” “Many companies in this sector, which are now present across all media channels, would not exist without the help of mobile technology, and we believe that as mobile and other technologies mix with other sectors, many new opportunities will appear,” stated Mattias
However, there are also funds that know full well which sectors interest them more than others. “Every teacher has his own book,” says Philippe Accel. “We have an investment thesis we try to follow and that helps us quickly analyze the projects that go through our hands.”