Operating enjoy is one thing that just about each European VC company likes to speak up at the moment, as the area’s challenge capital business tries to shed its funding banker symbol of yesteryear. However, there’s no denying that the longer you’ve been in VC, the additional away you might be out of your enjoy on the coalface of operating an organization.
That grievance can’t but be levied at Stan Laurent, Highland Europe‘s newly appointed Partner, who, until recently served as chief executive of PhotoBox, the photo-printing consumer company that also owns Moonpig. He joins Highland as a VC after a nearly year-long stint as the growth venture capital fund’s first ever Entrepreneur in Residence. Prior to that, he spent ten years in command of Photobox, of which Highland used to be a backer, sooner than the corporate exited to a personal fairness consortium in January 2016.
In a choice with Laurent, he sounded extraordinarily bullish on Europe’s talent to provide additional main shopper e-commerce corporations, arguing that, in spite of Amazon’s perceived and actual dominance, there may be nonetheless room for brand spanking new startups that may be offering sufficient differentiation and feature an edge on the subject of product and emblem. He additionally mentioned there have been nonetheless sectors the place new on-line marketplaces may just nonetheless have a task to play.
Another house he talked up is SaaS corporations the place generation, such as AI, is being carried out to unravel precise bus8ness issues and has already been validated through paying shoppers. That, in fact, may be a connection with the level that Highland Europe invests at.
The VC isn’t early-stage however pitches itself as a “growth-stage” generation investor and, as I in the past famous, the company’s ‘Highland Europe Technology Growth II’ is concentrated on startups within the web, cell and instrument area and who’re on the “venture and growth-stage” with investments between €10m and €30m.
On a non-public degree, Laurent says he can lend a hand Highland Europe’s shopper portfolio corporations additional scale, drawing on his enjoy operating Photobox the place he’s mentioned to have grown turnover from £13m to £300m and remodeled the corporate into a pacesetter in customized merchandise. This incorporated the purchase of Moonpig, which, he says, required the toughen of Highland and used to be considered as moderately dangerous at time because it had to be financed with some debt.
Photobox additionally danced moderately as regards to an IPO sooner than marketplace prerequisites for going public modified, which means selection financing used to be required. Again, Laurent says his VC backers have been supportive and cited this enjoy as some of the reason why he used to be prepared to sign up for Highland as a Partner.
Adds Laurent in a remark: “Since leaving PhotoBox I’ve enjoyed working with a variety of entrepreneurs to help them scale, internationalise and finance their businesses. I realised that I could have the biggest impact spending the next chapter of my career investing in and then supporting some of the best growing businesses in Europe – specifically with my friends at Highland Europe.”
Meanwhile, Highland has invested in a variety of companies within the remaining 18 months, together with Starleaf, a cloud-based platform for endeavor video conferencing and calling services and products; Junique, the online-art supplier; LoveCrafts, a group and market for crafters; Featurespace, a device finding out fraud prevention corporate; and Smartly, an organization that automates Facebook and Instagram promoting.