European People Briefs, November 2012

Connect Ventures is Teli’s Vision

Connect Ventures, one of London’s newest early-stage technology investors, has added Sitar Teli as a third managing partner to its founding duo of Pietro Bezza and Bill Earner.

Teli, an American, spent seven years at Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures (DHTV) before joining Connect, which “has all the characteristics of the venture capital firm I would design if it didn’t already exist,” according to her blog.

The firm is partway through a planned £35 million ($56 million) debut fundraising, having announced a first close at £13 million in May.

Like DHTV, Connect focuses on Internet and mobile investments, though its investment range of £150,000 to £1.5 million ($240,000 to $2.4 million) is smaller than DHTV’s.

Mittal Joins Mid Europa

Central and Eastern Europe (CEE)-focused private equity house Mid Europa Partners has named Manish Mittal as its new CFO.

Mittal joins from London-based Kennet Partners, a growth capital investor, where he was finance director.

Budapest-based Mid Europa is currently investing its third fund and has committed about three-quarters of the €1.5 billion ($2 billion) it raised in 2007. 

Poland and the Czech Republic are the most popular destinations for Mid Europa capital, though the firm has a strong CEE-wide presence in cable TV, broadband and cellphone network providers.

The firm also targets the media, health care, energy and manufacturing sectors. Its most recent deal saw it acquire half of Czech vitamins and minerals seller Walmark.

Dyson Sweeps In for Apax

Khawar Mann, the co-head of health care at London-based buyout giant Apax Partners, has departed following the collapse of one of his division’s flagship investments.

Apax bought Marken for £975 million ($1.6 billion) in early 2010, but saw the value of the pharmaceutical distribution business implode to roughly one-tenth of its investment cost within two years.

Deals involving Mann at Apax had delivered aggregate unrealised losses of €478 million ($618 million), as of Dec. 31, 2011, according to a Reuters report.

Mann, who told Reuters that he was leaving for a “compelling” opportunity in Russia, will be replaced by Steven Dyson.

Dyson has been with Apax since 2000 and will partner with New York-based Buddy Gemina as co-head of health care.

GA Switches German Office

Greenwich, Conn.-based growth investor General Atlantic has placed Principal Jörn Nikolay in charge of its new Munich office, which replaces the firm’s12-year-old Düsseldorf office.

The move was due to Munich’s standing as a hub for growth businesses and its proximity to universities, according to John Bernstein, head of GA’s European business.

Earlier this year, GA paid €237 million ($290 million) for a 30% stake in the digital classifieds business of German publishing magnate Axel Springer.

“In spite of challenging economic conditions in Europe we continue to find excellent growth companies in Germany and across Europe,” Nikolay said in a statement.

GA’s nine-company European portfolio covers financial services, ecommerce, media and health care.

Gimv Unveils New Structure

Gimv, Belgium’s biggest private equity and venture firm, has shaken up its business and made several senior appointments to correspond to its new structure.

The firm is now organized around four investment platforms, each with their own target sector. These broadly equate to consumer services, health care, tech and infrastructure.

Each of the four pillars will have its own director: Peter Maenhout for Consumer 2020; Bart Diels for Health and Care; Hansjörg Sage for Smart Industries (technology); and Alain Keppens for Sustainable Cities (infrastructure and utilities).

In addition, Ivo Vincente and Arnaud Leclercq have been named heads of Gimv Netherlands and Gimv France, respectively, while Hansjörg Sage becomes interim head of Gimv Germany.

However, those roles will be subordinate to the heads of each investment pillar, which will oversee all geographies and investment instruments within their designated sector.

LDC Appoints Hampshire to Value Team

Mid-market investor LDC, the private equity arm of British retail bank Lloyds, has hired Andrew Hampshire from its parent.

Hampshire, who headed up technology programmes at Lloyds, joins London-based LDC as an investment director in a team designed to support the firm’s portfolio companies by advising them on cash generation, revenue growth and cost savings.

Hampshire and his team will focus on the 60 or so remaining companies in LDC’s multi-sector portfolio, plus any future acquisitions.

Compiled by Alex Derber