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Seed and Early Stage Finance and the Role of Policy

Finance Focus

Young innovative firms face many difficulties accessing seed and early stage finance, and these difficulties have increased over the past several years. Banks have been reluctant to provide loans to startups as a result of the financial crisis. Meanwhile venture capital firms have become more risk averse and, in many cases, have focused on later stage investments. Angel investors have become more visible and active through groups, syndicates and networks, and increasingly are playing an important role in seed and early stage finance. Crowdfunding platforms in Europe are also engaging in equity financing.

There has been increasing concern from policymakers around the world about the growing financing gap for high growth firms, particularly in the seed and early stage. As a result, governments in many countries have sought to address the financing gap and perceived market failures by supporting the seed and early stage market. However, the objectives behind these interventions often go beyond addressing financing gaps. Many countries recognize the critical role that young innovative firms play in creating jobs and economic growth and are seeking ways to facilitate the creation and growth of these firms.

This event will highlight the gaps that exist in the seed and early stage market and the policies that governments have put in place, in Europe as well as other countries around the world, to address those gaps.


  • Thomas Hellman, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Saïd School of Business. Oxford University, United Kingdom
  • Anne Glover, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners and Chair of EVCA
  • Chair: Karen Wilson, Senior Fellow at Bruegel

About the speakers

Dr. Thomas Hellmann is a Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Saïd School of Business at Oxford University. He holds a BA from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Stanford University. He previously was a member of faculty at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, and the Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. He also held visiting positions at Harvard Business School, the Wharton School (University of Philadelphia), Hoover Institution (Stanford), INSEAD (France) and the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia). Professor Hellmann has taught executive, MBA and undergraduate courses, mostly in the areas of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial finance. Professor Hellmann’s research interests include entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurship, innovation, strategic management and public policy. He is also the founder of the NBER Entrepreneurship Research Boot Camp, which teaches the frontiers of entrepreneurship economics and entrepreneurial finance to PhD students.

Anne Glover is Chief Executive and Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, the international technology investor, which has raised £600m for investment in high growth technology companies since 1998. There she brings together her many threads of her experience — as a scientist, operating manager, and venture capitalist. Early in her career, she worked in the US, in manufacturing before moving into strategy consulting. In 1989, she joined Apax Partners (& Co) in the UK to invest in early stage companies, before becoming a business angel and then Chief Operating Officer of Virtuality Group. Anne was Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) from 2004 to 2005 and is currently Chairman of the European Venture Capital Association (EVCA). She is a member of the UK Government’s Council for Science and Technology, a member of the London Business School’s Private Equity Institute Advisory Board and serves on the boards of Glysure, Covestor Inc, Nomad plc and the Royal Society Enterprise Fund. Anne holds an MA in Metallurgy & Materials Science from Clare College, Cambridge, and a Masters in Public and Private Management from Yale School of Management. In June 2006 she was awarded a CBE for services to business, and in July 2008 was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Event materials

Event summary Download

Presentation by Thomas Helmann Download

Improving the role of equity crowdfunding in Europe's capital markets by Karen Wilson and Marco Testoni Download

OECD flyer on Policies for Seed and Early Stage Financing Download

Overview of OECD publication on Angel investors Download

Practical details

  • Venue: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
  • Time: Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 8.15-10.00. Breakfast will be served at 8.15 after which the event begins at 8.30.
  • Contact: Matilda Sevón, Events Manager - [email protected]