Cable & Wireless Invests In European Incubator

Puts $20 million in GorillaPark

July 4, 2000

4 Min Read

Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group, today (4 July 2000) announced that it is investing US$20 million in the pan-European internet business accelerator GorillaPark.

The investment reflects Cable & Wireless' commitment to delivering innovative internet protocol (IP) and data services to business customers, and reinforces GorillaPark's position as Europe's pre-eminent internet business accelerator and idea generator for high-tech entrepreneurs who want to create internet companies and grow them into world-class organisations.

GorillaPark has established accelerator facilities in London, Amsterdam, Munich and San Francisco, with offices opening in Paris and Stockholm shortly. These are equipped to incubate and accelerate up to 20 start-ups a year, with the objective of taking successful investments from idea to IPO-class within two years. Its focus is on business-to-business, IP and wireless start-ups.

GorillaPark has developed a rigorous process-oriented acceleration model that actively supports the entrepreneur in the early stages, maintains tight management controls, scales the business and manages growth.

In return for a stake in their business, GorillaPark provides start-ups with seed funding plus acceleration and incubation services and corporate infrastructure. These include, financial, legal, strategy, product development, marketing, customer service IT and human resources. These services enable the entrepreneur to develop the idea to the point where it can be presented to external investors to secure additional funding. GorillaPark then coaches the company through subsequent development for two more years and assists with international expansion.

Cable & Wireless’ investment in GorillaPark allows it to provide Cable & Wireless products and services to the ‘baby gorillas’, as the start-ups are known, and to access their products and services as additional Cable & Wireless capabilities, thus accelerating the speed to market of the ‘baby gorillas’. Cable & Wireless also has the opportunity to consider investing in the ‘baby gorillas’ in subsequent funding rounds, or to acquire a company to fill a capability gap.

Cable & Wireless’ decision to invest in GorillaPark follows a close investigation of the business accelerator market and is part of a wide-ranging initiative to harness and encourage innovation within its business. Stephen Pettit, Executive Director, Corporate Development at Cable & Wireless is leading the initiative. He will take an active role in GorillaPark, joining its board and becoming a member of its investment committee.

Stephen Pettit said, ‘GorillaPark complements Cable & Wireless' strategic focus. Through our investment we can add value to our core business by participating directly in the dynamic innovation that is happening at the entrepreneurial end of the sector. We are not venture capitalists: we wanted to get involved with people whose skills lie in understanding early stage investing and have a disciplined approach to innovation, as well as creativity. GorillaPark has exactly these qualities. It is also pan-European, which maps our own recent internet service provider acquisitions and its focus is primarily business to business.

‘We believe that with GorillaPark's leadership and dynamic entrepreneurialism, and Cable & Wireless' experience, presence and technical expertise, we will add tremendous value through our global IP network, our European ISPs and our distribution channels.’

Cable & Wireless joins other high profile investors ABN AMRO, Atlas Ventures, Crescendo Ventures, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and NeSBIC, who are committed to GorillaPark's process-oriented accelerated approach to bring new and innovative IP and wireless focussed companies to market in the shortest possible time. The investment from Cable & Wireless will form the cornerstone of GorillaPark's second round funding , to be announced shortly.

Founder and CEO of GorillaPark, Jerome H. Mol, said: ‘Internet and wireless companies can gain major advantages by being first to scale in their particular markets, and by teaming up with Cable & Wireless we will be able to boost the development of our start-ups and early stage companies ona global scale.

‘Cable & Wireless’ global structure and capability is of great importance to the service we offer our companies. We focus on developing companies in Europe and then scaling them to enter Asian markets, such as Japan, as well as the US. Cable & Wireless is one of the few players with that kind of global scale.’

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