In the past, governments made the biggest changes to how we lived our lives. Now it’s entrepreneurs and innovators who use disruptive technologies to drive behavioural change at both mass scale and lightening speed. Their combination of ambition, talent and single-minded determination is transforming every sector of the economy in a way that was almost unimaginable even a few years ago.
The last decade has seen the most profound changes to how we communicate, keep in touch with friends, entertain ourselves, even start businesses – all driven by technological innovation. The next will see change at a far more ambitious and meaningful scale. How we learn, keep healthy, move from one town to another, use increasingly scarce natural resources, access food and water, build a more sustainable planet and even extend our own lives. We believe with deep conviction that in our lifetime, entrepreneurs will solve some of humanity’s greatest and deepest challenges.
This is why we say it’s the most exciting time to be investing and supporting technology founders. It’s their time, their moment in history, the ‘Age of the Entrepreneur’. And it’s why every single aspect of our firm, every part of our culture and way of working, and every decision we make is designed with the sole ambition of helping them succeed.
Ten years ago, when we said we would focus our investing on Europe, people were surprised. When we said there would soon be multiple billion-dollar companies founded in the UK, France, Germany, the Nordics and so on, they laughed. But we were undaunted.
Now, there’s no doubt that Europe is producing some of the greatest technology companies in the world.
But this is just the start. Take artificial intelligence. Every study now shows that the deepest research and the most interesting advances are now happening in Europe. Or mobile gaming. It’s taken for granted that some of the most innovative and successful games are made in Europe. Or FinTech. Founders across the continent are pioneering new technologies which ensure better, easier and more efficient financial services.
We’ve not been passive spectators as Europe has built its own vibrant technology ecosystem. We’re proud to have been relentless advocates for its growing strength and depth. And we’ll continue doing so because it’s critical to the future of not only the companies in which we invest but Europe’s future too.
They work alongside founders to help them scale their companies. We never just wanted to invest and watch the founder do all the hard work by themselves.
Every member of this team has hard-won experience founding or scaling some of the most successful companies in the world – Facebook, Uber, Skype, Supercell, Spotify, Virgin and Google. And they work across the world, with experienced people in Europe, China, Japan, South America and the US.
Everyday they’re working hand-in-glove with founders on the hardest aspects of scaling: hiring and retaining the best talent, market-entry and partnerships, user growth, marketing and communications.
We deeply respect the drive and vision of our founders, but where necessary, we challenge them, have the hard conversations about focusing on the things that really move the needle.
Of course, this team evolves all the time, as we find new people who can bring added experience and expertise to our founders. And they work as a real team, systematically with founders, not as a collection of names on our website. They work closely with each other so that our founders can focus on their companies.