Before joining Balderton in 2014, Suranga was an entrepreneur and engineer. He founded blinkx, the intelligent search engine for video and audio content in Cambridge in 2004. He then led the company for eight years as CEO through its journey of moving to San Francisco, building a profitable business and going public in London where it achieved a peak market capitalisation in excess of $1Bn. Before founding blinkx, Suranga was an early employee at Autonomy Corporation - joining as an engineer in the Cambridge R&D team and ultimately serving as the company's US CTO in San Francisco.
Today's European technology ecosystem —by the numbers
Ex-Silicon Valley tech leaders in Europe — the stories
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Bernard Liautaud founded Business Objects in 1990 and was CEO for 15 years then Chairman until January 2008. At its peak, Business Objects was the world leader in Business Intelligence and one of the 15 largest software companies in the world. Business Objects was the first European software IPO on Nasdaq in 1994.
Bernard's time in the Valley was a critical part of that journey. Very early in the growth of Business Objects, Bernard moved the company's headquarters from Paris to San Francisco, realising that at that time, the only way to build a giant company fast was to base that company in the States. He remained in the Valley for ten years, growing the company to 6,700 employees, 45,000 customers and $1.5 billion of revenue by 2007.
Lars returned to Europe and joined Balderton as a General Partner in 2015, after a decade in Silicon Valley where he was involved with three of the Valley's best-known tech companies – Uber, Dropbox and WhatsApp.
Lars joined Uber when the company was operating in less than 20 cities. His role as Vice President resulted in strategic alliances with global telcos, including Verizon and Carlos Slim's América Movil group across Latin America, deals which fueled Uber's rapid growth.
Lars joined Dropbox as one of the company’s first 25 employees. As Head of Mobile, his growth deals with Samsung and other mobile OEMs helped the file-sharing company reach its first 100 million users.
He helped WhatsApp as an advisor to the business team on growth and distribution until the messaging app's acquisition by Facebook in 2014.
Lars has spoken, and written, extensively on the topic of moving from the Valley to Europe. A selection of those articles is below.
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