With Amazon’s purchase of the remaining shares of European video streaming and rental business Lovefilm, comes a welcome exit for the latter’s long-suffering investors, many of whom have been invested in the company since it started way back in the early 2000s. Terms were not disclosed, but we have it on good authority that Lovefilm was valued at around $312 million (here in London we also heard a £200 million figure) for the purposes of the acquisition. Which means that the VC institutions that invested in Lovefilm (Balderton Capital, DFJ Esprit, and Index Ventures) have all now managed to exit.
The investors have put out a joint statement thanking the team and acknowledging, in particular, “the contribution that Alex Chesterman, Mark Livingston, Saul Klein and William Reeve played in laying the foundations.” Fair comment: LoveFilm has over 1.5 million subscribers across the UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Of course, now Amazon’s has a number of bases covered now: books with kindle, music and now VOD with Lovefilm.
But a few individuals will have benefitted as well. Some will have had their liquidity event in 2008 when Amazon bought into Lovefilm originally, some earlier when it merged with Video Island. Some will even wince at this post, wishing they’d not exited long ago. And some will be buying the round of drinks tonight. We’ll let you speculate in the comments as to whom…
Sherry Coutu is an angel investor who first rose to prominence in the 1990s as founder of Interactive Investor, later acquired by Euromoney, not to mention the $1bn Nasdaq floatation of another company in 2000. Sherry is active in early stage investing and co-chair with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman of Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge. She laso has many charitable and government affiliations including the Prince’s Trust, Cancer Research UK and NESTA.
Thomas Hoegh is chairman of investor Arts Alliance and a long time investor, including in Lovefilm
Saul Kelin, a partner at Index Ventures and chairman of Seedcamp, co-founded and served as CEO for Video Island, an Index-funded venture that later merged with LoveFilm.
Simon Calver has been in charge of Lovefilm since 2006.
Adam Valkin, is a partner at Accel Partners and was also formely with Arts Alliance. He was also co-founder and interim CEO of Lovefilm
William Reeve, a serial entrepreneur and business angel based in London, co-founded what was then known as ScreenSelect in 2003, which grew rapidly and took over a variety of other businesses, before rebranding as LOVEFiLM.com in 2006.
Arican Wegter, is also a co-founder and former managing director of Lovefilm and exited in 2008. Today, Ari is Managing Director of GlibHippo and is based out of Copenhagen.
Simon Murdoch is a serial entrepreneur and Angel investor (Simon set up online bookstore Bookpages in 1996 and sold it to Amazon in 1998 and leading Amazon in Europe for a few more years). He was a partner in Episode 1 Partners, an early stage technology VC which managed the $100m Chase Episode 1 Fund. As an Angel investor, he has invested in Shazam, been chairman of Video Island which merged with LoveFilm. He’s also an investor in Zoopla! and Shutl.
Paul Gardner was a a cofounder and CTO of Lovefilm. He started with a position as a UNIX systems administrator for the first ISP in Europe. As well as other startups, on March 2010, Paul joined medCrowd to develop digital solutions for healthcare. Typical CTO: we can’t find a picture of him…
Alex Chesterman co-founder of ScreenSelect (and now founder of Zoopla.co.uk).