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.
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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.
While investors, (myself and my partners included) entrepreneurs, politicians and government officials collectively ballyhoo the coming of age of the London start-up scene and its steady stream of high-caliber entrepreneurs pursuing bold plans, we seem to be glossing over the fact that a key component of the ecosystem is sorely lacking. As the the US continues to churn out high profile IPOs for Zynga, Groupon, Linkedin and Facebook, the London IPO machine is eerily silent.
Today’s news that Just Eat has raised $64m to complete their European conquest and continue their expansion outside Europe (India, Canada, Brazil, etc.) is validation of a both a winning recipe and talented team of chefs. As with all businesses however the path to success curved around many blind corners. When Index Ventures first invested in 2009, the seeds of success may have been sown, but a number of risks and challenges lay ahead for the Company. I’ve gone back to my original notes from 2009 to look at risk factors my colleagues and I identified and the key questions we discussed before our original investment and provided a brief update on how the Company has progressed.
There’s just something about entrepreneurs. Irrespective of what business they’re in, there’s an energy and intensity about them that marks them out from others and makes them easy to spot. Of course if that fails, the big giveaway is that they’re the ones who aren’t in suits, but still step out of the restaurant to take a conference call at 10pm. The way I see it, anyone can be an entrepreneur, what marks out the real deal is the restless energy, constantly calculating angles and reassessing plans of attack. In fact a long time ago I came to the conclusion that this is a compulsion, not quite a disease, but with many signs and symptoms which sometimes make it look like one.