I recall three things about my first visit to the Socialbakers team in Prague, in the autumn of 2010. The first was the size of their office: they were working in a cramped cubby-hole in the loft of a six storey building, shivering through the winter.
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When Guido and Kyle were looking for a name for their newly founded company, they were struggling to come up with something that captured the breadth of their vision for what they foresaw as the future of the networking business. They could have found another randomly-generated five or six letter Latin-sounding name, but that didn’t seem to do the vision or the company justice.
The ‘campaign’ to kickstart the London tech IPO market has kicked off. The blog posts that Neil Rimer and I both published have attracted a lot of press attention. The engagement we’ve had with No10 and the LSE should result in some small but important regulatory changes that should be seen as important steps towards making London a major hub for tech IPOs.
When Ursheet and Guru started their venture, StorSimple, in the summer of 2009, it wasn't always so obvious that they would be the winners in Cloud Storage market. In fact, it wasn't entirely clear that there was a market for cloud-integrated enterprise storage. Certainly, the segment was hyped. With the advent of Amazon S3 and the prospect of other entries into the cloud storage provider business, it seemed like it was a terrific idea to leverage the scale of these clouds for the enterprise market. But, there were many roadblocks ahead: everything from realizing a credible technical solution to overcoming a plethora of competitors.
Here at Index, our conference rooms often play host to ardent debates. Robust discourse over where we should invest is an ingrained part of our culture. But when it comes to the fundamental issues that allow us to act on our mission of promoting the entrepreneurial ecosystem, we are generally in violent agreement. Over the last few months, we have mobilised around one major issue: to open the London IPO market and allow homegrown companies to realize their full potential.
In his book, The Innovator's Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, Clay Christensen authored one of the most influential thought pieces to impact the technology community. His core thesis was the successive generations of technology coming from the low-end market niches disrupt mainstream market leader as they attack incumbent products by improving the low-end technology to subsume the price/performance of the mainstream products.
Together we can get the Tech IPO market going in London
From our vantage point at Index, the centrality of the Tech sector to economic growth -- particularly during the economic slowdown of the last few years -- is all too clear.
A recent piece in the FT reiterated this point. Ed Hammond, the paper's property correspondent reviewed the shifting make-up of the City and the steady transformation of the tenant mix in the Square Mile.
In the venture capital business, you occasionally see companies rising from the ashes of a venture disaster. Companies go down to their last month of payroll and yet find a way to survive and, later, flourish. But rarely do you see a once-publicly-traded company de-list itself and find a way to package together winning technology architecture and a brand new business.
I have worked in and around technology since 1993 with some of the world’s most amazing developers in Boston, Seattle and Tallinn. But I am a literature major who never learnt to code beyond some very basic BASIC on my BBC Micro in 1983.
Today we’re delighted to announce our new €350m early stage technology fund. It’s the final piece of €1bn of new capital we’ve raised in the last 12 months to complement the international platform we have been building to invest in both early stage and growth technology as well as life sciences companies.