Mark Bivens

Is investing in gaming like betting on Hollywood?

On a recent trip to Tokyo, I met with a handful of business partners and investors in the mobile gaming sector, one of my investment themes over the past few years centering on European endeavors in this space. A familiar debate comes up every time: Is mobile gaming as a sector still investable? Has mobile […]

11/11: Remembering our veterans and remembering the genesis of the EU project

11/11: Remembering our veterans and remembering the genesis of the EU project

Today is a holiday: 11/11. Europe celebrates it as Armistice Day, commemorating the end of World War I (the war to end all wars), of which the fighting stopped on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918). The Commonwealth nations observe 11/11 as Remembrance Day in honor of the […]

Here’s hoping the ISR trend does not become Corporate Greenwashing 2.0

Here’s hoping the ISR trend does not become Corporate Greenwashing 2.0

Socially responsible investment practices, or ISR in French (investissement socialement responsable), has been catching on among fund management companies in France lately. The notion of SRI in modern portfolio management began gaining momentum in the late 1990s, mainly in the US and UK. The first sell-side brokerage in the world to offer SRI research was […]

What I think about when I think about mobile gaming

When people inquire about my investment strategy, I explain that I try to structure my investment thinking around themes or theses. Readers of this blog will recognize that one of my favorite investment themes over the past few years has centered on the value chain of mobile gaming. Often, I visualize aspects of a theme […]

Mobile payments in the West, a primer

Last week Square raised a new $150m in equity financing led by the Singapore government fund, valuing Jack Dorsey’s mobile payments juggernaut at a rumored $6 billion. Also recently, Amazon launched a Square competitor, Tim Cook announced the iPhone 6 and Apple Pay, and Paypal reclaimed its independence from eBay. And that is just in America. […]

The pyramid of luxury consumption

On the heels of Paris Fashion Week and the abundance of glitteratti strolling around in the balmy summer weather wearing ostentatious dresses (I saw one model that seemed to wearing a ball gown made of rubber tubes and hanging orbs), it seems appropriate to reflect on the stages of wearable luxury. Here’s how I see […]

Musings on shaving, child actors, and business models

Anyone exposed to American television in the early 80s might remember the hit series Different Strokes. The sitcom portrayed a story of two African American boys from Harlem (played by Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges) who were taken in by a rich white Park Avenue businessman and widower named Phillip Drummond (Conrad Bain) and his […]

Should I hire a fundraising agent for my startup?

Within the span of a week this August came two excellent opinion pieces from VCs about whether entrepreneurs should mandate an intermediary to help them raise their early stage financing. The first is from Hunter Walk of Homebrew (Don’t Send a Banker to Do a Founder’s Job). Then John Henderson of White Star Capital wrote […]

Reliability is a USP in France

This past weekend, Rude Baguette held its Startup Job Fair, third in the series. By all accounts, the fair proved a rousing success, and I commend the Rude Baguette organizers for their heroics. From what I understand of this event, it in many ways encapsulated the current state of affairs of the French tech ecosystem, […]

On Giving out Equity to Employees in French Startups

One major inconvenience in VC investing in French startups which consistently raises its ugly head is the complexity to incentivize key personnel with equity. I’m not referring to the employees who eschew the upside potential afforded by equity in favor of fixed pay with high job security. While certainly understandable at certain positions in a […]