Balderton Capital, one of the largest venture capital funds in Europe, not just managed to convince well-respected veteran VC, Daniel Waterhouse to join them last year, but has managed to secure Suranga Chandratillake as a partner. I was overjoyed to hear the appointment via Suranga on Facebook this morning, as I have been trying to convince Suranga to visit Manchester for sometime now. See: Press release and TechCrunch about the appointment.
Whilst most pundits will agree with me that this is a great coup for venture capital and tech startups in the UK and Europe, I see this as a significant opportunity to explore untapped opportunities in corporate spinouts, especially in enterprise software market.
First of all, not many British tech startups have seen $1bn valuations, let alone $1bn market capitalisations. Whilst there are number of successful spinouts with over $1bn valuations, it is nonetheless rare to achieve such success, especially in the UK. Another example that comes to mind is Ajaz Ahmed’s attempts at spinning out Freeserve from Dixons (PC World) in Sep 1998, which was floated 9 months after with a market capitalisation of £1.5bn joining FTSE100 soon after. Freeserve was later sold to Wanadoo (Orange) for £1.6bn.
In 2004, Surange founded Blinkx (he was CTO in US operations of Autonomy at the time), an intelligent search engine for video and audio content, as a business inside Autonomy (which was sold to HP for $11bn in 2011). Three years later, the company was floated on London Stock Exchange with a $250m valuation. Today, Blinkx is valued more than $1.3bn on FTSE AIM 100.
Today, LiveStax is in a similar situation to Blinkx was in 2004 and FreeServe was in 1998. Unlike Blinkx but similar to Freeserve, LiveStax is being built from ground up without any proprietary software. Just like them, LiveStax is well-funded and have access to circa 2000 customers of Causeway Technologies. As far as I can see, there are no limitations of LiveStax being the next $1bn success story.
But first, we must truly believe in the potential, bring a “sense of urgency” and “act like one!” if we want the world to write about us in 10 years time!