CoFounder Magazine interviewed Bo Ilsoe about the European investment scene:
BO ILSOE: Asian Web Firms to Make More European Buys
By Peter Trikli
CoFounder talked with Bo Ilsoe, Managing Partner at Nokia Growth Partners, the independent venture capital firm backed by Nokia. Bo headsup NGP’s investments in Europe.
The Finnish technology company has been sponsoring venture investments in growth companies to the value of 1.6 billion euros since late 1990s.Nokia Growth Partners has investments in some 55 companies and assets worth $700 million under management, of which some $350 million are in an active pool.
How would you describe the European investment scene today? Are we seeing another bubble?
I started doing venture capital investments back in 2002. It was a very very dry period, we had just come out of the .com bubble. Most of the VC activities were about restructuring. Today we have a very vibrant ecosystem in Europe and globally. There is a lot of serial entrepreneurs now, a lot of capital going into venturing and a lot of experienced angel investors. The environment has matured a lot in the last 6 or 7 years. In terms of pricing, Europe is more stable, we are seeing a lot of volatility in the United States, China and India. However, we are seeing certain sectors getting very expensive very very quickly in Europe, as also U.S. investors are looking for more efficient investment opportunities.
Successful European companies tend to be more capital efficient, but also exit opportunities here are more limited. I general you see better exit opportunities elsewhere. In China local internet giants have become more acquisitive, but we have also seen Japan’s Softbank buying Supercell and Baidu investing in Finland. I expect Tencent and Ali Baba to become more acquisitive in Europe.