As part of a consolidation strategy, Dutch incubator GorillaPark has acquired ExpertEyes, a Belgian group specialised in expanding US technology companies in Europe. After raising a $21 million third round of financing in September 2001 Jerome Mol, GorillaPark’s CEO, announced the company was looking at possible acquisition candidates across Europe. ExpertEyes is the first acquisition and the company is still looking at other value-added incubators in Northern and Southern Europe.
“The combination of GorillaPark’s expertise in early stage company development and ExpertEyes’ successful record of opening up new European markets for technology companies offers a very compelling proposition to our shareholders, our portfolio companies and US technology companies with European expansion goals,” said Mol.
ExpertEyes was founded in 1997 to help US technology companies gain access to the European market, providing services such as marketing, distribution channels, technical support and back-office preparations. The company launched over 30 products for companies including Microsoft, Sun NetDynamics and IBM Corepoint and brings GorillaPark a portfolio of six investments. Chris Raman, founder and CEO of ExpertEyes, will become GorillaPark’s chief commercial officer.
GorillaPark simultaneously announced the launch of GP Support, the business taking over ExpertEyes’ operations. It will provide pan-European contact centre and telemarketing services, including lead generation and localised customer and technical support. Guy Louis, co-founder of ExpertEyes, will be general manager of GP Support. Mol said GP Support was the first in a series of expanded service offerings, in the sales and marketing area, which compliment GorillaPark’s portfolio companies and its other activities.
GorillaPark has raised a total of $74 million since its inception in 2000. Investors include Crescendo Ventures, ABN AMRO Corporate Investments, Atlas Ventures, Cable & Wireless, Crescendo Ventures, Deutsche Bank, Fortis Bank, Goldman Sachs, Initiative-IP, NeSBIC and Rabobank Nederland. The incubator has a portfolio of 25 high tech companies in software, hardware and services. It has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, and Paris, and satellite offices in Stockholm and San Francisco.