Why I'm excited to join Highland Europe (by Stan Laurent, our new Partner)
A new career as Partner at Highland Europe
When I left PhotoBox over a year ago I took lots of advice and made several resolutions. The first one was to take my time before signing up for a new role. The second one was to recharge - both personally and professionally. We all know that 10 years of relentless focus on a single business can be bruising on many fronts. The final resolution was to seek a challenge that would be genuinely new and different to carry me through the coming years, ideally with a big impact.
It’s been a fun 15 months. Beyond the enjoyment of the extra time with family and friends, I started working with several entrepreneurs - some backed by Highland Europe - in various sectors to help them scale their businesses. I worked with them on their strategy, operating plans, internationalisation, product development, team structures and funding rounds. Not only did this help me “process” many experiences from the past, I also learnt a lot about how many different sectors are being disrupted by technology: energy, education, publishing, health. I mainly found it incredibly rewarding working closely with brilliant entrepreneurs, whilst helping to fast-track them and their businesses towards realising their ambition.
Meanwhile my dear friend of nearly 25 years, Fergal and the equally talented team at Highland Europe generously opened the doors of their office, their deal flow, their portfolio events, their partner meetings and their mountain hikes to me. (They have only spared me the marathons and triathlons so far!) Within this team, I have found an uncompromising desire to do what is right for the entrepreneurs and businesses that they back or consider for investment. They are also determined to find the smartest way to build a top firm that can help create some of the most admired businesses of tomorrow: by backing the best entrepreneurs and their visions; by securing them the right amount of capital at the right time; by continuously strengthening their teams and boards; by nourishing their resilience; by helping them make the right judgment calls when they need to.
And the rest is history! I’m joining the partnership. Thrilled to join a great investment team. Thrilled to help innovative businesses and founders across multiple sectors. Thrilled to contribute to building a great firm with Highland Europe.