Follow The Entrepreneur Investor Summit 2014
On Friday 5th September, Ariadne Capital hosted its 4th Annual 'Follow The Entrepreneur Investor Summit' (FTE) at the Four Seasons, Hampshire. More than 200 entrepreneurs attended the event to listen to a host of impressive speakers. The issues and sectors discussed were diverse and highly relevant, including the Future of Data Centres, Energy, European Venture Capital, Genetics, Money, Publishing, Retail, Service and Space.
Julie Meyer, Founder of Ariadne Capital, opened the day by presenting Ariadne's ethos that "Entrepreneurs are driving the economy forward", before introducing a range of successful entrepreneurs backed by Ariadne such as Ed Bussey, founder of Quill and Marcus Swanepoel of Switchless. Marcus joined the Future of Money panel later that morning, agreeing with Josh Bottomley in that "mobile is forcing a conversation that never happened with desktop". Bitcoin exchanges are becoming more popular and there is a high incentive for both consumers and businesses to use a more convenient service, though security and data protection issues must be addressed before widespread use is achieved. The panellists also all agreed that red-tape and regulation is stifling the emerging FinTech industry, and that growth has so far been limited as a result.
The Future of Retail panel (pictured left) brought together a combination of innovative entrepreneurs, such as Franziska v. Hardenberg of BLOOMY DAYS, with retail Goliaths such as John Lewis, who were represented by Deputy IT Director Julian Burnett. The debate focused on whether brick and mortar retailers would be able to challenge the online retail ecosystem, especially as 16 per cent of all purchases are now made online. Retailers must successfully organise the economic ecosystem to incentivise customers to shop on the high-street once more. The panellists went on to tackle the issue of whether retailers will be able to utilise the cross channel and device uptake of consumers to its full potential – organising the ecosystem to integrate technology into the way that a consumer shops. However all agreed that retailers have struggled to make the most of this development and need to further consider innovative technology solutions in the future.
Matthias Ummenhofer (pictured left), Head of VC at the European Investor Fund (EIF) spoke passionately about The Future of European Venture Capital and how Europe is "building global champions" - maintaining that the issue within Europe is that there are too many start-ups that have grown stagnant despite having great potential for innovation. Only when their growth is sped up – through a mixture of government policy, correct investment and business development conditions, and corporate interaction, will success follow. He assured the audience that entrepreneurs hold the key to achieving this success - his ethos mirroring that of Ariadne Capital who seek to support innovative digital enablers by facilitating the interaction and relationship between high-growth 'Davids' and large corporate 'Goliaths', for example Skype and Monitise.
Sandy Carter (pictured left), GM of IBM for Ecosystems spoke at the FTE on The Future of Business, Technology and Ecosystems dicsussion. She spoke excitedly about the future of technology and how it can be used as a 'competitive weapon', IBM's 2014 Tech Trends Report showing that in 2012 fewer than half of all technology companies deployed their technologies successfully, however Big Data, Analytics, Cloud, Mobile, and Social technologies are now utilised in 7 out of 10 businesses. Carter was also specifically upbeat about the potential for European entrepreneurship, and outlined IBM's vision for large-scale investment into Europe and London.
The event was met with great enthusiasm from all who attended and stimulated exciting and original discussions and debates throughout the day. To quote Matthias Ummenhofer, 'This was one of the best conferences I have been to in the last 15 years, and this is definitely because each of you put so much effort and energy in! Thanks!'
To relive the day, you can watch full length videos of the keynotes and panels here.