Pathways to Exit, 2012 - A Note of Thanks ...

Dear Friends,

Wow.

What an incredible few days.

The promise of our Summit was to create an experience - not just an exchange of business cards, but a unique and intimate gathering of decision makers - a place where people meet face to face, make an impression, build meaningful and lasting relationships, and do business.

We have been amazed by the people we gather together at Pathways. This year the quality and energy was on a level we’ve never seen before ... anywhere.

Our speakers and panelists covered the theme of Innovation from all facets. How do we define it, how do we fund it, reinvent it ... how do we help nurture it here in Europe? GP Bullhound co-founder Manish Madhvani gave his annual opening, kicking off the Exit theme with a thorough overview of the Exit climate in European Tech and predictions for the year ahead. Jamey Sperans’ presentation, “Why VC Mostly Sucks II,” carrying over from last year’s Part I, took another hard look at today’s Venture Capital marketplace, raised some tough questions, and sparked lively debate among attendees. Broadcast pundit and entrepreneur, Ralph Silva gave an eye-opening perspective on what it takes to invest in Innovation. Entering to the tune of “Highway to Hell”, Northzone’s Pär-Jörgen Pärson talked about his upcoming book “Heavy Metal Management” - a Condition, a State of Mind, and a Formula for Success. Neal Dempsey of Bay Partners, Serial Investor, talked about the DNA of a Phenomenal Entrepreneur - the critical life-changing lessons of failure, and the rewards that come with Never Giving Up ... even on a struggling coffee shop called Starbucks. Taking us out of our comfort zone for a moment, we heard the amazing story of Sean Carasso and Falling Whistles. Yes, this was not about Tech or Investment, but it was about Passion, which we know is vital to the success of any entrepreneur. This was about one man’s journey - one that began with a gut wrenching moment, a fire in the belly, and has since spread, through the efforts of many, with the will to fight for a better world. Marcel Smit, two-time Bully Award winner with two successful Exits, and now CEO of Mirror42, shared his insights and his own Pathways to Exit and journey since our inaugural event in 2010. Tom Hall of Pearson International spoke about education - a growth opportunity - how to make it available to children worldwide through technological advances. TechCrunch’s Mike Butcher was there with commentary on the Innovation Landscape in Europe, discussing some of its notable successes and failures.

We heard from some 30 entrepreneurs, who had a chance to present their visions to an audience of mentors, investors and peers. ...  Over those three days, we watched them evolve, as they took the stage, gave it their best shot, listened to valuable critique and took the experience to heart. As we have since the beginning, we will keep an eye on all of them and wish them continued growth and success.

On our final night, this year’s Bully Award Winners were announced. Once again, we searched the TMT landscape - not for a Top 30 List - but for firms that show spirit - the “Wily Beast” - and the potential to reach new heights. We have an excellent track record thus far at finding firms that shine. We have no doubt that will continue on.

Heartfelt thanks to our sponsors for supporting us and believing in what we do, and to our partners for their valuable contributions.

As we said on our opening night three years ago, this has never been about us. This is Your Show! Thanks for being a part of it all.

Now, our job is to continue to build upon the community we’ve cultivated. ... We like to watch stuff Grow! Please help us by spreading the word about this special event, stay tuned for our upcoming Tech Entrepreneur series, and please give us your feedback via our survey.

We'll be in touch.

All the very best,
Farley, Elizabeth, and the White Bull Team