European Venture Capital Opportunities
According to a recent article in the Seattle Times, venture capitalists are turning their attention to the neglected European markets. Venture capital is the money that start-ups can obtain to meet their needs for growth, research, and development. Since these start-up companies frequently do not have a proven track record, traditional sources of capital like banks are not available to them.
Venture capitalist look more at the product or service these companies offer rather than their financial history as a basis for their decision to invest. The emerging companies are often in the biotech, IT, energy and other cutting-edge technology fields. In return for providing capital these investors gain an equity, or ownership, position in the company. In addition, to bringing money to the company, they also frequently provide experienced marketing, management, and logistical support.
For a number of reasons most venture capital found its home in the United States or Asian companies, leaving Europe largely neglected. Now with companies like Intel, Salesforce.com, Microsoft, Sequoia Capital and Google leading the way, Europe is starting to get the attention of venture capital.
One of the main reasons for Europe’s late entry onto the VC stage was the traditional preference of European companies to focus on a more local market. This made achieving the 100 million euro benchmark within five years that venture capitalists seek, difficult. However, with a growing emphasis on entrepreneurialism and innovation by countries like Germany, and a shift in the availability of talent in the labor force, these companies have begun to demonstrate their enormous potential.
The Dallas, TX-based investment bank and hedge fund Highland Capital Management is in a prime position to take advantage of this move into Europe. Highland has managed over $23 billion in assets for its clients and has won numerous industry awards and recognition for its innovative products. Since its founding in 1993 by Jim Dondero and Mark Okada, Highland has grown to over 150 employees and has offices worldwide.
After graduating from the Univeristy of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce with honors for his dual degrees in accounting and finance, Jim successfully completed the state of the art training program at Morgan Guaranty. After a period with American Express, Jim was pivotal in the launch of Protective Life’s GIC subsidiary.
Highland offers a number of innovative products to both the investor and companies needing capital for their growth and expansion. The industries benefiting from Highland’s expertise include healthcare, energy, real estate, and emerging market companies.