PEWlive Technology Summit – Day Two: Finding value in European tech

PEWlive Tech Summit

Private Equity Wire’s Technology Summit continued on Thursday, where LPs and GPs explored themes around digitisation and how the adoption of new tech is shaping private equity.

The first panel of the second day, ‘Investor relations’, featured Claire Commons, Lena Ulrich, Zack Ellison, Andrew Harrison and Jeff Williams, and outlined some shifts we saw during 2020 into virtual fundraising and due diligence processes, and the best practices that accompany them. 

Next panel dealt with developments in the VC space. “In software and tech, you are only as good as your roadmap. If you don't innovate, you die,” said Chip Virnig, partner at Thoma Bravo. 

He continued: “There's a direct correlation to low turnover and innovation. In Silicon Valley, there's an issue where teams are always looking for the next shiny object, the next big thing, and the high turnover is really hard to overcome.”

According to Andrew Williamson, managing partner of Cambridge Innovation Capital, the question is whether the source of capital is local or coming from another region or geography. "But there’s definitely a recognition that European venture and European technology is vastly different from what it was five, seven, ten years ago,” he added.

Virnig commented: “Having the tech expertise, sub sector expertise and speaking the language seems to be more important than just the local business culture. It’s more important for entrepreneurs to partner with people who understand their business model and the market opportunity, than to partner with the local business establishment who understands doing a deal in a certain jurisdiction.”

According to the Thoma Bravo partner, expertise trumps everything: “On a macro level, there’s room for growth and I think we’ll see the venture, growth equity and buyout community respond to that opportunity. It’s our job to partner with the right GPs, but we’re very bullish on Europe."