Bryan, Garnier & Co: Europe first!

Without ever blowing their own trumpet, Bryan Garnier’s directors have consistently performed a vital public service: helping European startups to grow and be competitive on the global stage.

Posted mardi, août 2 2022
Bryan, Garnier & Co: Europe first!

It is the Mont Blanc of economic challenges for the European Union: produce home-grown tech giants capable of going toe-to-toe with America’s GAFA or China’s BATX. Given the results in the first two decades of this century, you might conclude it was a fool’s errand.

Yet by relying on legislation such as the GDPR and DSA and leveraging the attractiveness of the continent’s market of 447 million, the powers that be in Brussels have tried to level the playing field by getting Apple and Co to play ball. Throw into the mix the presence of “super commissioner” Thierry Breton and a conveyor belt of high-quality science and technology graduates and it should be all systems go, right?

If only it were that simple. Despite all of the above, the GAFA and BATX have a massive head-start on the European pretenders and have been able to consolidate their position to a daunting degree over the past decade. And then there is the weakness of the EU’s financial system, which is far less willing to loosen the purse strings to aid startups than those of the above superpowers.

Champion of the European tech entrepreneur
Luckily for those young hopefuls, there is a European investment bank that is as dynamic as it is flexible: Bryan Garnier. In an interview with French business weekly Challenges in March, one of the founders of the group, Olivier Garnier, outlined the scope of his vision.

Bryan Garnier is equally at home advising on healthcare topics as it is on more traditional areas of tech investment

“Bryan Garnier’s objective is to give the most ambitious European startups a financial support ecosystem they can count on all through their development,” as is the case in the land of Uncle Sam. The advantage of the Bryan Garnier way, according to Olivier Garnier, is that it provides, “a high level of sector-specific expertise focused on aspects with a strong transactional element that take in fundraising, stock-market entry, M&A deals and debt financing,” a winning combination that has seen the Paris-headquartered group grow to become a leading independent full-service investment bank for European healthcare and technology-led companies and their investors, one which since its inception 25 years ago, has acted in over 150 fundraisings worth a total €4 billion.

Men on a mission
Bryan Garnier was established in 1996 during the first phase of the internet revolution. It was the brainchild of Shelby Bryan, the founder of Milicom, a mobile telecoms network, and Olivier Garnier, a former Goldman Sachs trader. Hence the name. In the beginning the group focused on market financing, before establishing a corporate finance department. Initially restricted to raising funds on behalf of entrepreneurs, its success allowed Bryan Garnier to branch out into M&A and equity capital market activities.

In 2017 it forged an alliance with EOC partners, which boosted its M&A and private equity advisory capabilities, in addition to its stock-market entry expertise. Since 2021, Bryan Garnier’s CEO is American investment banker Clifford Siegel.

Throughout its existence, Bryan Garnier has resisted being pigeon-holed. It is equally at home advising on healthcare topics (medtech, biotech, pharma) as it is on more traditional areas of tech investment.

The firm’s clients include a certain Moderna, a household name since the pandemic, and German immunotherapy manufacturer, BioNtech. In its quarter-century history the group has acted in 275 M&A deals, and in 2021 raised 40% of its capital outside the European Union.