UK VCs All A’Flutter

Crikey. The VCs are getting all a-flutter. Whenever you get abrupt, unexplained changes of top-level personnel at a start-up company you know that the VCs have been wielding the stick.


Last year we had Nigel Toon, co-founder of Icera, leaving to join picoChip. This year, co-founder and COO of picoChip, Peter Claydon, left the company.


Yesterday we had James Foster, CEO of XMOS, being replaced by Charles Cotton, who's last major industry job was at Virata.


XMOS is backed by, among others, Hermann Hauser's company Amadeus, which is also one of the backers of Icera.


Hauser clearly sees Cotton as a bit of a mate saying: "Charles and I have already worked closely together at Virata and a number of other companies. The success he brought to the companies he has led speaks for itself."


Icera is well past its expected IPO date. The founders probably thought they'd be out, with their IPO cash safely stashed, some five years ago.


Now, eight years after start-up, with $200 million of VC money raised and spent, Icera is still pre-IPO.


And the VCs are probably getting nervous.


Not a comfortable time to be on the board of a pre-IPO start-up.


If you want to survive, chaps, keep your heads down.



  1. OmiGod, Dr Know, do you think so? I know the Sand Hills Road mob have ridiculously swanky offices and gorgeous secretaries, and clearly think they’re some kind of elite, but I thought the British VCs were more down to earth. It’s a very sad thing if ego-clashes are going to screw up those West Country start-ups.

  2. Knowing something about all these situations, and others like them, I think you’d be surprised how often it is about the egos of the people involved, rather than the ‘pure capitalism’ of the VCs.

  3. Yes indeed, Dr Bob, I understand poor old Ed is shaking in his shoes

  4. Ed, take note!

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