Bob Jones, one of the UK's most successful IT visionaries, plans to help other entrepreneurs achieve their dreams as he joins a venture capital firm.
Jones, who quit as head of 3Com's remote access division at the end of May, revealed last week that he will work for private equity specialist, Schroder Venture. Jones has had a close relationship with the company since it backed him to start up Sonix, the modem company, in 1992, which was subsequently sold to 3Com in 1995 for $70 million (#43.7 million).
Jones said the purpose of his move is to encourage UK businesses to seek help from venture capital firms, which they have been reluctant to do in the past.
"Venture capitalists have been regarded as the bogeymen by UK firms," he explained. "They have been faceless and daunting. I have an evangelising mission to change that perception. I can cite from personal experience that it's very much worth your while to apply to venture capital funds."
At Schroder, Jones will form part of a team considering applications from IT start-ups vying for a share of the #110 million fund. Although the fund is for the whole of Europe, Jones expects the lion's share to go to UK companies because of its technological expertise and entrepreneurial culture.
Jones' move follows several other recent investment initiatives in the UK. Last week, Microsoft officially announced plans to set up a #50 million research facility in Cambridge, and Hermann Hauser, founder of Acorn and Advanced Research Machines has said he is setting up a #30 million fund for European IT firms.
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