Any biotech entrepreneur who’s ever spent time with their IT counterparts notices one thing in particular; how young these guys are. It’s a feature of the IT world that business tend to succeed or fail quickly, which means that a technology entrepreneur has several attempts at building a successful company over the course of their careers. This contrasts with the life science business, especially in Europe, where individuals typically join companies for the long haul. It’s by no means unusual to spend >10 years in one company, I did it myself, but the odds are against any one of these companies being successful. If you consider your professional career lasting 20-30 years, this doesn’t give you many attempts at ‘the one’.
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Last week, Amgen has announced the completion of the acquisition of Nasdaq-listed German company Micromet Inc., valuing it in the proximity of US$1.2b. With this acquisition, Amgen has gained a Ph3 stage molecule (blinatumomab) in development for blood tumours, a Ph1 molecule for solid tumours and the BiTE platform, the underlying innovative antibody technology platform.
We are very excited to announce that Sophia and the Nasty Gal team have agreed to partner with Index to build the next stage of what is already an incredibly successful startup.
For those of you who don't know about Nasty Gal, it is one of the fastest growing fashion etailers out there. Nasty Gal is great illustration of what happens when you marry ambition and vision with the need to be scrappy and resourceful to build your business.
Solution: have the lead investor perform like a lead investor.
Conventional wisdom and good sense would argue that it is good news for an early stage biotech company to announce the backing by a large investors syndicate (4 or more). Indeed, the fact that many smart people are independently deciding to invest into a company, contributing their cumulative expertise, networks, and cash, validates the potential of the start- up, powering it for success. This is all true, however this blessing comes with some caveats, that entrepreneurs need to keep in mind.
At face value, this could be just another (welcome!) blog about a great acquisition, but scratch a little deeper and today's news that Worklight are about to be acquired by IBM is a story of staggeringly creative entrepreneurship at work.
That story starts six years ago, when Shahar Kaminitz and Yuval Tarsi launched Worklight under the name of Serendipity. The initial vision was to enable business users to access information buried in hard-to-reach enterprise databases via flexible and consumer-style interfaces.
We first started investing in London in 2001 when we backed two American former consultants - Josh Hannah and Vince Monical - who had moved here to start Flutter, the business which later became Betfair. In fact, it’s pretty remarkable how far London has come in entrepreneurial terms since we made that first investment and Danny opened our first London office on Clifford Street in 2002.
Index’s roots are in Geneva, Switzerland. We know that large Swiss government organizations are generally not “early adopters” of technology. So, when the folks at Zuora told us that the Touring Club of Switzerland had adopted them for their subscription billing services, we knew something was up…. Today, we are delighted to announce our Index Growth investment is Zuora.
We’ve been looking for the elephant in the room for some time. We knew he was there, but we just couldn’t find him. It’s clear that he is now here and his name is Hortonworks. As such, we are very excited to announce today that Index Ventures has made an investment in Hortonworks.
Observing the venture industry over the past 15 years, one notices that successful startups have often been sold before reaching their full potential, especially in Europe.
In some cases an early exit is appropriate. Certain startups should be sold in the early years of their success if, for example, the size of the opportunity turns out to be more limited than originally anticipated, or when management and investors have diverging views about the future potential for the business.