Jeppe Zink made the move from Amadeus to head up the Northzone London Office in early 2012. ”I might be a new kid to NZ, he smiles, "but it’s the same block for me, as I’ve been working here almost all along”.
Jeppe Zink was born in Northern Jutland, Denmark, but left his native country as early as 1991 for Germany and the baccalaureat. ”Actually”, he explains, ”what I really wanted to do with my life early on was to work for the United Nations.” Having heard that what the would-be employer needed the most was people with business skills, the young Zink moved to England, Durham University for a combined bachelors in economics and politics, followed by a Masters in economy. ”Then I thought that I’ll get my arms around the financial side of things and joined an Investment Bank’s corporate finance unit.
As it happened, this was Deutsche Bank. And a number of years of hard work on mergers and acquisitions ensued. Very randomly, but highly relevant to the NZ story some fifteen years later, one of Jeppe’s early assignments was ”Something Danish in the line of venture capital, why don’t we let our Dane have a look at it?”
The Danish venture ”thing” was Cocom, where a young Gregers Kronborg was making a name for himself. ”We ended up funding the company, and later sold it to Cisco”, Jeppe smiles. A crash course in principal investing followed as Jeppe was part of the founding team setting up a venture capital fund with the Bank as investor, and later Jeppe got to see the inside of the crazy ups and downs of the technology boom and bust first hand.
So, I happened, Jeppe smiles, to do my startup venture cap thing, albeit from the other side. At the age of 28, I had already worked on more investments than most venture capitalists see in a lifetime.
When DB Capital was spun out (as was often the case in 2003) the young venture capitalist took his carreer elsewhere and joined Amadeus, one of Europe’s leading Venture Capital firms.
Why Amadeus, one might ask. ”Well”, Jeppe comments, ”I had learned the financial side of venture capital but I wanted to learn the more operational, deep tech side and that was Amadeus’ speciality… the deep end of the spectrum, as it were. ”
At Amadeus, Jeppe worked through the ranks and eventually made it to Partner. Funnily enough, one of Jeppes cases was a company called ”Streamserve”, founded by a certain Hans Otterling. Then as Hans Otterling joined Northzone, Jeppe and Hans co-invested in several companies, Tobii, Nyx and Episerver. ”So”, Jeppe concludes ”I’m clearly the oldest, new entrant at Northzone”.
Outside of business hours, Jeppe has recently welcomed to the family his second child. So whatever he used to do before, he does a lot less of it. Having said this, he has a pretty extensive carreer in sports to fall back on. Having played pretty much anything that involves a ball and preferably a racket or club, don’t count on Jeppe retiring just yet.
”If your sport comprises someone being in the middle of things, tackling people and running a lot, then I’m your man.”
Funny that. Being in the middle of things, seeing the right angles, and running a lot. Almost sounds as Venture cap, doesn’t it? Though thus far, Jeppe Zink has not been known to shoulder-tackle people out of the board room.