Former PhotoBox CEO Stan Laurent joins Highland Europe as Partner
Stan Laurent becomes Partner at Highland Europe, one of Europe’s only growth capital firms.
Laurent will bring his decade of experience at PhotoBox to identify and then help fast-growing internet companies achieve global scale.
Highland Europe has achieved huge momentum in the last 18 months with four successful exits: Matchesfashion.com, MyOptique, Privalia and Social Point.
Highland Europe portfolio companies’ revenues now top €1.2bn and will see growth of 43% in 2017.
London and Geneva-based growth capital investor’s two funds - amounting to €578m - have invested in 26 companies.
Stan Laurent is appointed Partner at Highland Europe, the European growth capital firm focused on innovative internet, mobile and software companies. Laurent has been working closely with Highland Europe’s portfolio companies and Partners over the last year, having become the growth capital firm’s first ever Entrepreneur in Residence in January 2017. Before joining Highland, Stan was president and chief executive officer of the PhotoBox Group, backed early-on by Highland Europe. Stan built the company into the leading European consumer business for personalised goods and oversaw the acquisition and ensuing expansion of Moonpig, the leading site for personalised cards and gifts, as well as Hofmann in Spain and PosterXXL in Germany. PhotoBox was successfully sold to a consortium of private equity investors in 2016.
Laurent is becoming a partner at a particularly exciting time for Highland Europe whose portfolio companies have a combined revenue of more than €1.2bn and are expected to grow more than 40% this year. Highland has invested in a diverse range of exciting businesses in the last 18 months, including Starleaf, a cloud-based platform for enterprise video conferencing and calling services; LoveCrafts, a community and marketplace for crafters around the world; Featurespace, a leading machine learning fraud prevention company and Smartly, a company that automates Facebook and Instagram advertising and is used by more than 500 brands and agencies.
In the last two years, Highland Europe has also sold stakes in the leading online designer fashion retailer Matchesfashion.com; game developer Social Point; online eyewear retailer MyOptique and Privalia, the online fashion outlet that operates in Spain, Mexico, Brazil and Italy. To underline Highland Europe’s determination to become Europe’s premier growth capital investor, the firm has recently been hiring principals and associates to strengthen its team, including Gajan Rajanathan, from Qatalyst Partners, a Silicon Valley based technology M&A advisory firm.
Stan Laurent said: “Since leaving PhotoBox I’ve enjoyed working with a variety of entrepreneurs to help them scale, internationalise and finance their businesses. I realised that I could have the biggest impact spending the next chapter of my career investing in and supporting some of Europe’s fastest growing businesses alongside my friends at Highland Europe.”
“Highland Europe is rapidly establishing itself as a top-tier growth equity investor in Europe, with exciting portfolio companies and a successful divestment track record. I admire the Highland team’s relentless focus on helping create leading global businesses. As I saw during my 10 years running PhotoBox, they’re compelled about doing what is right for founders, their teams and their companies. As an entrepreneur, I can’t think of anywhere else I could feel more at home and surrounded by a more respected and trusted team,” Laurent said.
Fergal Mullen, co-founder and partner at Highland Europe, said: “I have known Stan for nearly 25 years. He brings 22 years of leadership and operating experience in European internet led technology businesses, has a proven track record building PhotoBox from a £13m revenue business into a £300m undisputed market leader, and has managed multiple acquisitions and exits. He’s a fantastic resource for the management teams we back. Most importantly, he fits hand-in-glove with our team and is a believer in the value Highland Europe can bring to help portfolio companies reach their full potential.”
About Highland Europe:
Highland Europe is exclusively focused on growth stage internet, mobile and software businesses. Launched in 2012 and with over €578m ($640m) in capital raised across two funds, the firm’s origins were as the European operations of Highland Capital Partners, a US venture capital firm. Highland Europe is based in London and Geneva and its current portfolio includes Matchesfashion.com, StarLeaf, Featurespace, smartly.io, Brandwatch, GetYourGuide, WeTransfer, Nexthink and Malwarebytes, among many others.
About Stan Laurent:
Stan was president and chief executive of the PhotoBox Group for 10 years. Before he joined PhotoBox he held several senior positions at pioneering internet companies AOL Europe and QXL Ricardo. Stan also worked for the German privatisation agency following reunification. Stan has an MBA from Harvard Business Schooland a BSc from ESCP Europe. Born in Paris, Stan now lives in London with his wife Clare and two children.