14 Jun 2022
Board appointments from Argos Wityu, Forbion, Hadean Ventures and Hermes GPE
Invest Europe, the association representing Europe’s private equity, venture capital and infrastructure sectors, as well as their investors, announced that Dr. Klaus Hommels, founder of Lakestar, has assumed the role of Chair for 2022-2023, taking over from Anne Fossemalle, Director, Equity Funds at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Invest Europe took the opportunity to offer its heartfelt thanks to Anne - on behalf of its members and broader network - for her tireless work to promote the industry, and its contributions to Europe’s economy and society ‘as a force for good.’
Klaus is one of Europe’s leading business angels and venture capitalists and was an early investor in European technology champions including Spotify, Klarna, Sumup and Revolut, as well as international leaders Airbnb and Facebook. He founded Lakestar in 2012 after previously running his own venture capital fund Hommels Holding.
As a passionate advocate on behalf of the European tech ecosystem Klaus is also a founding member of think-tank initiatives including the Internet Economy Foundation and the European Center for Digital Competitiveness in Berlin. Klaus holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland and holds a PhD in Finance from the same university.
As Invest Europe Chair, Klaus will be supported by directors drawn from the association’s broad membership which represents venture capital, mid-market funds, large buyouts and limited partners. Appointments confirmed for a three-year period until June 2025 include Louis Godron (Argos Wityu), Sander Slootweg (Forbion), Ingrid Teigland Akay (Hadean Ventures) who is confirmed as board member for a year until June 2023, and Elias Korosis (Hermes GPE).
Klaus will also work closely with CEO Eric de Montgolfier and the association’s team to promote and increase understanding about private equity and venture capital’s cornerstone contribution to Europe’s economy and society.
His priorities for the year to June 2023 include:
1. Drawing on Invest Europe’s position as the voice of European private equity to propose and drive forward measures to strengthen Europe’s investment ecosystem for all participants, and the economy more broadly.\
2. Promoting European sovereignty in financing and technology by advocating a step change in equity capital to bridge the funding gap for European industry, and helping identify core technologies to ensure Europe’s digital and technical sovereignty.
3. Supporting and encouraging European entrepreneurship through alignment with European policy and regulatory objectives, as well as the financial sector.
The private equity and venture capital industry provided strong support for European businesses and workers throughout the COVID-19 crisis and economic recovery. Almost 10 million people were employed at private equity and venture capital backed businesses across Europe in 2020, according to the third edition of Invest Europe’s groundbreaking Private Equity at Work report, with portfolio companies adding 2% more jobs during a challenging period when the overall European workforce contracted by 1.6%.
The industry participated fully in the subsequent economic rebound as firms invested €138 billion in companies throughout the continent, ranging from fledgling SMEs to mature multinationals, a new record and a 51% increase on the previous year. Within that total, investment to support innovation boomed as venture capital funding for start-ups reached €20 billion and growth investment hit €35 billion, both all-time highs.
Private equity’s ability to generate strong returns for pension funds and other long-term investors, that in turn support European citizens’ retirements and savings, is also drawing record levels of capital into the industry. Private equity funds attracted €118 billion in new capital in 2021, with record levels of fundraising also seen by venture capital and growth funds. Total fundraising for the last five years exceeds €525 billion, providing the industry with abundant capital to invest in new companies and support existing businesses through ongoing economic, social and geopolitical challenges.
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