Watts, Curatolo emerge at TLcom

TLcom Capital Partners, the European technology venture capitalist, has hired former DFJ employees Colin Watts and Giuseppe Curatolo as general partners.

Former DFJ employees Colin Watts and Giuseppe Curatolo have joined London-based venture capital firm TLcom Capital Partners, the European technology investor, as general partners.

The two will take up managing the firm’s E185m fund from January 21, and will look to invest the remaining 60 per cent of the fund in communication and IT companies. TLcom is focused primarily on Europe, but the firm has also invested in Israel and the US. Investments include iobox, Netscalibur and Sphera.

Watts and Curatolo helped establish the European operations of Silicon Valley firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson 18 months ago, but decided they wanted to 'run their own firm,' said Curatolo.

'We thought a lot about what it takes to run a venture capital fund today and concluded that stability and a long-term commitment were important factors. We wanted to be general partners in a fund so we could say how it was managed over say 10 years.'

Tlcom had a partnership structure better suited to the prevailing market conditions, added Curatolo, describing it as an operation that tightly manages its funds and locks in senior partners through ownership, making them directly accountable for their investments.

Curatolo was previously a director with DFJ where he led the firm’s European effort in wireless communications and was involved in developing the firm's position in emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, bioengineering and innovative applications of material sciences.

Between 1998 and 2000 he was vice-president with the private equity arm of Morgan Stanley responsible for European early-stage technology investing and sitting on the bank's Worldwide Investment Committee. Morgan Stanley is a significant investor in TLcom's fund. Curatolo has also worked as a consultant with Bain & Co in the US, advising companies in the communications and information technology sectors.

During his 18 months at DFJ ePlanet, Watts led early and expansion stage investments in communication technology companies. Prior to joining DFJ he was with Cisco Systems, where he established and developed the company's European investment and acquisition programme. Before joining Cisco, Watts held senior positions within Racal-Datacom and Cable & Wireless.