While the saga between Mike Lynch, former CEO of Autonomy, and the legacy tech giant Hewlett Packard, has been dragged out for years, a recent Bloomberg story brings to light a new angle: Alongside the legal wrangling over HP’s takeover of British data intelligence company he led, Lynch has successfully built a $1 billion hands-on fund that acts similarly to an incubator.
HP’s Ill-Fated Acquisition
Back in 2011, Hewlett-Packard, when it was still the combination of now split HP Inc. (HPQ) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), bought Autonomy. As Autonomy co-founder and CEO, Lynch profited $800 million and became a big name in London’s emerging entrepreneurial tech scene. (See also: What Brexit Means for European Startups.)
But ust a year after the acquisition, the Silicon Valley giant wrote down $8.8 billion of the $10.3 billion purchase price, insisting the software startup had inflated years of finances. A champion of the deal, HP’s former CEO Léo Apotheker, was replaced by current CEO Meg Whitman, she divided up Autonomy’s producjts, while suing Lynch and another executive for $5.1 billion.
Invoke Capital’s Unique Approach
Despite the drama, Lynch has been able to grow a $1 billion Europe-focused venture firm, Invoke Capital. The serial entrepreneur uses Invoke to not only invest in tech companies, but to help with the initial business setup and management. Lynch capitalizes on his background in data analysis and artificial intelligence, along with his ties within the British academic community to team scientist founders with corporate connections.
Darktrace, Invoke’s largest investment to date with a reported valuation over $400 million, will push the venture capital firm into the emerging and increasingly demanded cybersecurity space.
Based on recent events, with HPE selling off its software unit for $8.8 billion and Lynch persevering despite an impending $5.1 billion law suit, it seems the hype surrounding the battle has died down. Yet, while HP refuses to back down, Lynch offers no interest in a deal, continuing to aggressively build his billion-dollar VC firm to support the growing European startup scene. (See also: HP Enterprise Secures $8.8 billion Deal.)