The $850M strong transatlantic VC intensifies its focus on Germany with the appointment of entrepreneur and investor Olivier Schuepbach
The March 2015 announcement that Partech Ventures would expand its presence in Germany is followed by actions: Olivier Schuepbach is appointed partner of Partech in Germany and will lead the team of three investment professionals based in Berlin. Schuepbach is well-known among the German start-up scene: In the past he has already worked as a venture capitalist at Wellington Partners and has operationally helped start-ups such as Brands4friends, in its international expansion and ultimate sale to eBay.
Partech’s managing partners Philippe Collombel and Jean-Marc Patouillaud gave a warm welcome to the new arrival: “We want to raise our exposure in Germany to the next level. With Olivier we gained a well-known and widely appreciated business partner to reach that goal,” explains Collombel. Patouillaud added that “Germany has a strong entrepreneurial scene which needs further growth capital and fully dedicated teams to unlock its potential. Investors in place must know the local market from inside out and have the right instincts to identify the rising stars. Olivier truly brings the experience and network we’ve been searching for.”
A passionate entrepreneur and investor
With Schuepbach, the transatlantic venture capital firm appoints an experienced entrepreneur and investor in the German and international technology scenes. Schuepbach started his career in the U.S. at Texas Instruments and has been working with fast-growing technology companies for more than 15 years. Prior to joining Partech Ventures, Olivier was in charge of international development and M&A at Brands4friends before eventually leading its successful exit to Ebay. Previously, he worked at the venture capital firm Wellington Partners where he teamed up with Partech for example on an investment in Qype, which was later sold to Yelp. A passionate entrepreneur and investor, Schuepbach is also known for his role as CFO of MarkaVIP, now one of the largest ecommerce companies in the Middle East.
Born and raised in Switzerland, Schuepbach moved to Munich nine years ago. He has a very deep understanding of the German technology ecosystem from Berlin to Bavaria and is looking forward to actively supporting it: “With our transatlantic and pan-European structure and investment tickets ranging from €250,000 to €40M, we are in a position to accompany ambitious entrepreneurs in every phase of their growth.”
Partech will invest in Germany through three funds: Seed (Partech Entrepreneur), Venture (Partech International) and Growth Capital (Partech Growth). Olivier will work in close proximity to principal Otto Birnbaum, who has been an active investment professional in the German Partech office since 2014 and who will focus on seed investment.
About Partech Ventures
Since 1982, Partech Ventures has helped outstanding entrepreneurs build companies that will be remembered. The firm invests in high growth companies in the digital and information technology fields through three funds: seed (Partech Entrepreneur), venture (Partech International) and growth capital funds (Partech Growth). Located in the Silicon Valley, Berlin and Paris, the Partech team has extensive experience in the international development of companies. Throughout its history, Partech Ventures portfolio companies have completed 21 initial public offerings and more than 50 M&A transactions with major international companies at values in excess of $100MM. Preqin, an independent global research firm, has ranked Partech Ventures as one of the ten best performing venture capital funds in the world.
Overview of Partech’s IPO and M&A activities
|Akimbi Systems (VMW)
Business Objects (SAP)
Cadence Design (CDNS)
Digital Island (ISLD)
La Fourchette (TRIPADVISOR)
Price Match (PCLN)
Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.
Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.
The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.
Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.
Sunak’s March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.
Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.
“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)
UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.
Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.
“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.
“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”
Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.
He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.
“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.
Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.
“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of Stateâ€™s (Dowden’s) assertion that the governmentâ€™s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.
Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.
It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.
The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.
Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.
(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)
Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.
Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.
“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.
Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.
Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.
The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.
“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.
Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.
The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.
It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.
“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.
“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”
Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.
“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.
A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.
“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.
The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).
“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.
($1 = 0.7064 pounds)
(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)
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