RedHerring 100 Event – Recap

I am just on my way back from the RedHerring 100 conference, which took place in Paris this week. Definitely one of the top events here in Europe, where you can meet the best VCs and start-ups in Europe. 100 “start-ups” from technology and life sciences got awarded there and had the chance to pitch their story to the audience. The event has revealed that Europe has a strong and remarkable crowd of entrepreneurs and business managers who are as successful as their US counterparts, however, please excuse that I name just a few “stars” who presented there and whom I consider particularly interesting and amazing:

Stan Boland, CEO from Icera. Icera is a fabless IC company aiming to revolutionize the next generation of mobile handsets. Stan, a serial entrepreneur, explained his vision, strategy and how to build a great and successful company. He clearly has very ambitious plans with this company as he outlined in his presentation.

Bernard Liautaud, Co-Founder/President/Chief Strategy Officer from Business Objects: BO is a great European success story in the IT/SW industry. Established in the early 90s, the company immediately focused on the US market and went public there soon after. BO has been increasing sales in 13 consecutive years (!!!) and hit the $1Bn revenue mark last year. He provided a very honest insight into the last 13 years, how he built a global company, went through difficult years and how he decided to transition out of the CEO role. Especially the latter topic showed that he is a great European Entrepreneur, who realised that every company is going through different phases of growth and that now the time has come to hand over his day-to-day activities. As he mentioned, he is enjoying his new, more strategic role at BO very much.

Brent Haberman, Co-Founder of Lastminute.com: I had a chance to meet with and talk to Brent, who went through all phases you can imagine in building a company. He started off with a few friends, raised seed money, went public in the late 90s, saw his stock price tumble from 320 pence to 19 pence, rebuilt the organisation and then sold out last year to Sabre for $1Bn+. He is now in a Chairman role at Lastminute.com and apparently looking for his next venture where he can “have fun” and be a real entrepreneur again.

Takeaway: Europe has great entrepreneurs! Of course, there are several things that make it more challenging here in Europe (fragmented markets, different cultures, European work ethics (!), cost per talent, rules and regulations, semi-liquid financial markets, etc.) but nevertheless, the companies mentioned above have made it! Despite all the quarrel, blame and excuses, they have taken the opportunity presented and made a great company out of it. This should encourage us, that nothing’s impossible! We can all learn from these gentlemen and what they have achieved.

Recommendation: Hello start-up out there! RedHerring 2007 is around the corner and this could be your chance to get on the list! It’s not just for fun, it’s a good marketing tool and way to promote your great ideas!

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Explore posts in the same categories: Events, General Posting, People, VC backed Companies, Venture Capital, Web 2.0

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