We talked to Harry Nelis, a partner at Accel Partners, about startups, entrepreneurship and Europe as well as many other topics. When we shot the video, Nelis had just come down from the main stage at LeWeb where he participated in the traditional Money Panel. Accel has been able to discover and invest into some of the most successful startups out there. Some of their portfolio companies include Facebook, Groupon, Spotify and the list goes on.
We started off the discussion on a very practical level how Accel finds their portfolio companies. Nelis talks in detail for example, how they went in to research social online games and ended up becoming a major investor in that industry. Not only are they looking at early stage, but also later stage companies that have the potential to become a category defining players.
Nelis also went on to explain what sectors Accel Partners is heavily looking into at the moment. Some of these industries mentioned in the video are mobile, social, next generation e-commerce models, personal finance services as well as payments.
I had to take the discussion to the Nordics and Baltics by asking how they see local investors in the region. Nelis explained that their business model is very much based on syndicated investments and therefore they look into co-investing together with local investors.
Furthermore, Accel is currently looking at all sizes and kinds of startups in the Nordics and Baltics. Therefore an investment anywhere from 100k euros to 100M euros is possible in the region. Nelis went on to also state that the Northern European region has a disproportionate amount of successful companies compared to the rest of Europe.
Talking of Europe, Accel is still very bullish regarding the amount of potential in startups in general. The current economic crisis doesn’t affect startups or Accel’s business too much, according to Nelis, even though exit markets are somewhat disturbed at the moment.
It really was a great discussion to have with Accel Partners and the more I have had the chance to meet with them, the more I really begin to understand how determined they are to take companies all the way to the top. For game changing Nordic and Baltic companies, they truly are a worthwhile partner to look at and try to get on board if you are in a position to become a category defining company, just as Harry Nelis explained.
Below is the video interview and the panel discussion from LeWeb.