About private equity

How private equity invests in privately-owned businesses, supports jobs and creates prosperity.


Login to access your exclusive member-only content and account information.


Not a member? Join us

  • Operate to the highest level of professional standards
  • Access authoritative industry research and data
  • Navigate the complex EU regulatory environment
  • Network and engage with industry leaders
News & opinion

In praise of listed technology companies in Europe

30 Oct 2014

Listed companies matter to venture investors and IPOs are not just a question of making great returns for the investors in our funds - or even as role models to today’s early stage companies, though both are important.

Large listed technology and life science businesses – companies like ARM, CSR, SAP, Publicis, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi and Novartis, (some of which were originally venture-backed) - are an essential component of the innovation landscape and a source of growth in Europe. They are often household names and national and sector champions; they invest in R&D, in smaller companies and sometimes in venture funds and so stimulate growth outside their immediate operations; they buy smaller businesses that complement their own technologies; they are followed by the markets and the media. Their presence helps the ecosystem to thrive.

Many younger companies that come to the public markets through IPOs develop into the big companies of tomorrow. They become the acquirers of tomorrow’s start-ups. Their continual need for innovative technology and business models leads some to set up corporate venture funds that invest alongside independent VCs in start-ups, often as a precursor to acquisition.   

The venture community needs these large, established companies as well as the recent IPOs. Without a body of listed technology companies that attract the coverage of analysts, market makers and journalists, investors lose interest in these sectors. Today, no buzz means no money. A shortage of listed, successful technology champions affects the climate for venture capital funds – both at the fund raising stage and as an attractive exit option for those companies that are ready for an independent future and appropriate for public listing.  

But cast your eye over the main European indices and at the few large technology companies still listed here. There are some outstanding life science companies, of which we can all be proud, but several of these have been the targets of reverse mergers from the US. There are even fewer big companies in wireless, software, IT and content media and every year, we lose some of these companies to acquisition by corporations usually from outside Europe. Wolfson was acquired last year and CSR has accepted a bid from Qualcomm. This leaves us thin in independent listed champions, while recent venture-backed IPOs such as Criteo, AVG and JustEat need time to develop into champions themselves.

We must seek to retain our big technology companies on stock markets in Europe and not lose them to acquisition. I’m no protectionist – few things are more globalised than technology and some of our best exits have been through acquisition of young companies by larger ones outside of Europe. But those companies that do list in Europe, and the older established ones that have been on our public markets for more than a generation, are important to all of us.  We need to support our best companies to consider listing as a route to even greater success, for the companies themselves and for our investors. The exchanges are supportive; public market investors are less risk averse. Let us work together with our most ambitious entrepreneurs to create the next wave of $1billion companies.

Anne Glover, Chair for 2014-2015, EVCA

Want to discuss?

We are always keen to hear from you.


What can I do to manage cookies stored on my computer or phone?

You can accept or refuse cookies. Accepting cookies is usually the best way to make sure you get the best from a website.

Most PCs automatically accept them but you can change your browser settings to restrict, block or delete cookies if you want. Each browser is different, so check the 'Help' menu of your particular browser (or your mobile phone's handset manual) to learn how to change your cookie preferences. Many browsers have universal privacy settings for you to choose from.

Help on how to set and customise your cookie settings for your browser

How to manage cookies in Internet Explorer

Cookie settings in most versions of Internet Explorer can be found by clicking the tools option and then the privacy tab.

How to manage cookies in Firefox

Cookie settings in Firefox are managed in the Options window's Privacy panel. See Options window - Privacy Panel for information on these settings.

How to manage cookies in Chrome

Click on the spanner icon on the toolbar, select settings, click the under the bonnet tab, click on content settings in the privacy section.

How to manage cookies in Opera 

You can manage cookies in Opera if you Click on settings, then Preferences, then Advanced and finally Cookies

How to manage cookies in Safari

Choose Safari, then preferences and then click security. You should then be able to specify if and when Safari should accept cookies.

To manage cookies on your mobile phone please consult your manual or handbook.

Get more help about how cookies work with specific browsers.

What happens if I don't accept cookies?

If you decline cookies, some aspects of Invest Europe site may not work on your computer or mobile phone and you may not be able to access areas you want on the website. For this reason we recommend that you accept cookies.

What happens if I delete my cookies?

If you delete all your cookies you will have to update your preferences with us again and some aspects of our site may not work.

What happens if I change computers or mobile?

If you use a different device, computer profile or browser you will have to tell us your preferences again.

If you'd like to learn more about cookies in general and how to manage them, visit aboutcookies.org.

We can't be responsible for the content of external websites.

Opt-out of cookies


Join today

This is for members only. To view in full login or join Invest Europe today.