Survival of the fittest

Gerry Devlin of PwC Venture Partners, the provider of technology, investment and incubation, believes his will be one of just ten firms to survive the heavy consolidation expected among European incubators.

Gerry Devlin, managing director and COO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Venture Partners, expects that out of an estimated 200+ European incubators currently in the market, only ten will survive within the next few years.

“The marketplace is generally flat with a lot of people moving out of this territory, because investment has dried up somewhat and because the business model of pure playing incubators was not particularly strong. So there are a lot of players in the incuabation space that really should not have been there,” he explains.

He says PwC Venture Partners, which provides technology, investment and incubation, believes that it will be among the ten that will survive.

Devlin attributes the strength of the company to the resources offered by its parent company PricewaterhouseCoopers. ”I have access to 150,000 specialists that I can call as and when I need so my variable costs are under control which makes it very economical.”

In an environment that is going to see many more incubators shut up shop PwC Venture Partners is expanding. It has just recruited Michael Jonovski as an investment director, who will be responsible for origination, execution and delivery of venture opportunities. It is also currently recruiting an additional investment director, which will eventually, bring the team up to ten.

PwC Venture Partners aims to nurture and invest in seed and early-stage selected technology ventures with a particular focus on emerging technologies and infrastructure, e-business applications and services, and life sciences. It has made five investments since March 2000 and is currently in the process of signing up another one.

Devlin is optimistic about the long-term value potential of the technology sector saying that better deals are there, albeit it fewer and far between. “We are continuing to see very good quality opportunities and are gearing up to ensure that we capitalise on these at a time when the general level of investment in the sector has fallen.”