Dave Hornik too far from the Valley

David Hornik just posted a short and flawed analysis of Euro VC, reinforcing some age old misconceptions.

I am an avid and respectful reader of a bunch of US VC blogs, top of which Fred Wilson, Jeff C and Dave Hornik.  And I am a two week old blogger with no credentials.  So who am I to comment ?  But I can only assume David was looking to court controversy with this one.  So with the disclaimer out of the way…

I will just focus on two items here:

#1 Sweeping generalisation:

Europe remains more or less devoid of risk capital.

Wow!  Really ?  Currently active, agressive and generally professional funds that spring to mind include Index, Benchmark, Atlas, Accel, Mangrove, Wellington, Northzone, Partech, Sofinnova, Banexi, Innovacom, Ventech, Esprit, Amadeus, 3i, SEP, Advent, Eqvitec and many others to whom I am not paying justice.

Admittedly it is not that easy to find angel funding.  But look at the recent virtuous circles that have developed around people like Loic Le Meur, Martin V "Top Fonero", or Christophe Maire, to name but a few.  And France must be the easiest place to get your first million with all the support programs like ANVAR.

#2: Ill informed comment:

here are law firms that actually like representing startups (Fenwick, Gunderson, Orrick, Perkins, Wilson), banks and venture debt firms that actually like lending to startups (Silicon Valley Bank, WTI, Lighthouse)

In the last few months, Silicon Valley Bank, Lighthouse, Noble, EVP, have all arranged financings for companies in our portfolio … and believe me most of these have a proper startup credit profile.

As for the lacks of legal advisors, we have a fairly wide choice of experienced VC lawyers who do nothing else, such as JonesDay or Morgan Lewis in Paris, SJ Berwin, Olswang, Bird and Bird, Evershed and a ton of others in the UK.


In a way these kinds of posts are good news: we will keep working here and do our job without the intense level of competition and price pressure that exists today in the Valley and around 128.  And we will welcome the new entrants like Highland to help us improve our already well functioning ecosystem ;-)

UPDATE: I got some immediate feedback that many Euro entrepreneurs will probably agree with David :-(   Well, our market only "really" started in 1995 (although funds like Atlas have been around in tech since the 80’s) and then got both knees taken out in 2000.  There is so much stuff going on that I feel it is key to fight this negative perception and get on with building some great, world class businesses.

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7 Responses to Dave Hornik too far from the Valley

  1. David Hornik says:

    Fred, I meant absolutely no offense. I have made a number of recent trips to Europe and met many smart people. I frankly have a similar critique of entrepreneurship in US cities like Atlanta or even Chicago. You can still be successful without a robust ecosystem but it makes it a lot harder.

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  4. Shantanu says:


    Just posted a comment on Dave’s post and your thoughts…


    Welcome to the world of blogging!

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  6. Fred D says:

    David: No offense taken ! It is hard to disagree that the valley is unsurpassed, but the prevailing view that the ecosystem is non functioning is feeding some self-defeating behaviour in Europe often because of the market’s lack of transparency. I believe that Holland was the hardest hit after the market downturn and has not recovered. When I started this blog I promised myself to try to promote more transparency in the market in an honest and self-critical way to alleviate this; I will try to find the right tone ;-). I am sure you noticed that Loic was having a bit of fun with us. Thanks for the comment and all the best

  7. leafar says:

    Shantanu has a point. And my comment follows his path to reality.

    Fred is positive (& correct on many points) and that’s helpful. Jeff has played that role when he was bogging actively. We need adrenaline, hope that things will get done.

    But in Europe we have lesser VCs (brilliant ones I agree, currently even sunny ones) and difficulties with first time team, and that’s for sure.
    –> see my extract from HEC’s paper in french @ LLM http://www.loiclemeur.com/france/2006/08/vc_amricain_con.html#comment-20636498.