Martin McCourt on Mergers & Acquisitions

On June 17 Martin McCourt shared his experience about how mergers and acquisitions can play a role in corporate development with the guests at the Lunch at the Circle lunch.

Watch the video interview with Martin below.

Martin was Executive Vice President M&A and on the management board at Gemalto for around a decade and involved in a number of acquisitions, from some 10s of M€ to 890 M USD with SafeNet (in 2014).

Gemalto is a world leading digital security company providing software applications, secure personal devices such as smart cards and tokens, and managed services. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of SIM cards. (source:Wikipedia) Gemalto is now part of the Thales group.

Organised by Lunch at the Circle:

With Per Karlsson, BKWine:

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle, copyright BKWine Photography

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle, copyright BKWine Photography

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle

Martin McCourt speaks at Lunch at the Circle, copyright BKWine Photography


L@C TV: “How I created and made it Scandinavia’s biggest auction house”

“How I created and made it Scandinavia’s biggest auction house”, with Bengt Sundstrøm, founder, owner and president of

We recently had an exciting Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrøm, owner and president of

Over lunch Bengt told us about how he raised the money to start his business in three hours with a quick phone call to his banker, how he does not waste money on Google Ads (but instead use them effectively), what his next strategic moves will be and what the key difficulties are in creating an online auction house. But he did not tell us why he still does not have any serious competition in his business. Because, he says, it is a puzzle to him too.

Here’s a short video interview:

Bengt Sundstrøm is the owner and president of Lauritz, Scandinavia’s biggest auction house. In 1998 Bengt bought the small auction house of Lauritz Christensen Auctions, founded in 1885. One year later Bengt launched the online auctions on It has since grown to a business with a turn-over of around 100 million euros. The business model is very different from other well-known internet auction houses (e.g. eBay). All bidding on Lauritz is done online but they also have brick-and-mortar viewing locations across Scandinavia where you can go and look at the items on sale. They also have a staff of over one hundred valuation experts. This mix of online auctions, valuation expertise and physical presence has been the key to Laurtiz’ success, says Bengt.

More information:

Bengt also (accidentally) became the owner of a vineyard, Chateau Vignelaure, in Provence a few years ago, so he will also tell the story of life as a winegrower. As well as let us taste some of his wines of course. More information: and on BKWine Magazine: Château Vignelaure – Cabernet sauvignon meets Provence.

And here are some more videos and images from the event!

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

At a Lunch at the Circle event with Bengt Sundstrom,

Last L@C for the season, June 27: Online branding

The last Lunch at the Circle event for the season will take place on Wednesday June 27:

Managing your brand online with Bernadette Martin and Julie Vetter.

It will be slightly different than usual: 1) we will have two speakers and 2) the lunch will be in a different place, see below.

Here’s the outline:

Would you hire someone today without googling their name? Would you do business with someone without checking their web site? Didn’t think so. But how do you look online? Bernadette Martin and Julie Vetter have built a business around managing one’s online identity, online personal “brand”, and online image and reputation management. What will people find out about you? What tools do they use? And how can you make sure that they find an online picture of you that looks the way you want it to look? Bernadette and Julie will illustrate it with some surprising examples.

Bernadette Martin, founder of Visibility Branding, is a personal brand and e-reputation strategist, speaker and author of “Storytelling About Your Brand Online and Offline”.  More info on:

Julie Vetter, founder of Hoi Moon Marketing, has over fifteen years experience in helping to create the online presence of over 50 clients in the fields of travel & leisure, transportation, hi-tech, wine, real estate, medical, and health. More info on:


Time: Wednesday June 27


Participation (and full details) on invitation only.

Information security in a world with both traditional IT and social networking: it’s all about people

A previous Lunch at the Circle event was on “security” Joseph Graceffa, co-founder and CTO of Advens.

Information security in a world with both traditional IT and social networking: it’s all about people.

Today it is not enough with “IT security”, it is really a question of information security, both for companies and for individuals. Wikileaks, l’affaire Renault, a Dutch web site that collects information from Facebook and blogs to show which houses are empty (to burgle) since the inhabitants are on vacation, someone “looses” (really?) a smartphone with the company’s entire client list on it…

On one side you need to avoid unauthorised access to your systems and information by having proper protection. On the other side you need to give people good tools to work with, especially when everyone is travelling or working from a home office: smartphones, remote VPN access, webmail etc. And then you have the “social networking” aspects: Today business is more about sharing and collaborating than what it was a few decades ago. And also about using Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other tools for the benefit of your company. But all this leads to security risks.

Information security is about technology of course, but it is also, and increasingly so, about people, their behaviour and awareness of the issues.

The Economist recently ran a big feature article on the subject: The Leaky Corporation. Read it here:

Joseph Graceffa, co-founder and CTO of Advens, will give us an introduction and insight into these questions.

Joseph Graceffa is co-founder and CTO of Advens, an information security company. Advens provides a full range of security services to medium and large enterprises in France and across Europe. Before creating Advens some 10 years ago he was in charge of network security at Decathalon and a consultant with Bull. More info:


LeWeb 08 Paris program announced

One of our previous speakers, Loic le Meur, is the organiser of the leading European conference on new internet technologies, “Le Web” (well, it is based in France…).

The announced a while back the program for the next edition of Le Web.

Here’s what Loic says:
“This year’s program brings many fresh faces to the LeWeb stage. Geraldine and I announced the LeWeb 08 program at a press conference last week. This year’s conference, which takes place in Paris on December 9th and 10th portends to be as big as before, with at least 1500 entrepreneurs, journalists, bloggers and Internet industry players from 40 Countries. ”

Here’s more info:

What social networks mean for enterprises

“What social networks mean for enterprises” was the subject for an event a while back where Carlos Diaz, president of blueKiwi was our invited speaker.

Carlos is the keynote speaker at the conference “Enterprise 2.0: Cap vers 2009” that will soon take place: On Thursday November 13 Carlos will speak at the Salons du Louvre, together with Stowe Boyd and Jon Husband.

You can find more information here:

Here’s a bit more background info from Carlos:

“A l’occasion de l’annonce de blueKiwi 2009, nous organisons un GRAND événement sur le thème de l’Entreprise 2.0 le 13 novembre prochain à Paris aux Salons Du Louvre (nouveau lieu très sympa). Les invitations sont limitées et j’aimerai beaucoup que tu sois des nôtres.

Cet événement réunira plus de 150 décideurs français (plus de 4000 invitations envoyées) de 18h à 20h30 autour du thème de l’Entreprise 2.0. On attend bien entendu nos clients, nos prospects, nos partenaires, des journalistes et des bloggers.

Deux têtes d’affiche, Stowe Boyd (US) gourou du 2.0 et Jon Husband (US) auteur du best-seller “Making Knowledge Work – The Arrival of Web 2.0” donneront une conférence. Enfin, la nouvelle version bK 2009 sera annoncée à cette occasion. Big Surprise !

On finira la soirée autour d’un cocktail.

Penses à t’inscrire dès à présent ici :

More on: Selling your ideas to "Technology-Agnostic" Decision Makers. The Art of Persuasion

For those of you who asked for more information about the 3 key concepts that were discussed in ‘Selling your ideas to “Technology-Agnostic” Decision Makers. The Art of Persuasion.’

The 3 key ideas were:

• Leverage the Psychology of Change
• Asking questions in colour
• CREATE insights in others

Learn how to master the 3 key ideas to “Selling Your Ideas. The Art of Persuasion” and make them work for you. Selling Your Ideas. The Art of Persuasion

L@C co-founder launches new marketing consultancy: SO’xperts

SO'xperts logoCo-funder of the Lunch at the Circle, Sophie Callies, has recently launched a new company, SO’xperts, specialised in marketing performance managment for technology enterprises. It’s web site is

A consulting company specialized in marketing performance management for the high-tech industry, SO’xperts mission is to help marketers and top management address four principal business challenges: how to acquire and keep customers, how to enter new markets, how to drive excellence in execution and how to measure marketing contribution to the business. What makes it unique is a comprehensive approach – from marketing strategy and benchmarking to performance improvement – that helps companies identify and pursue market opportunities while optimizing programs and resource allocation.

Co-founder of the Lunch@the Circle, Sophie Callies has a track record in driving marketing performance at worldwide levels in companies such as Apple, Netscape, AOL Time Warner, Alcatel and Cartesis.

You can reach Sophie here.

The Future of Interactivity


The American University Clubs of France
Cordially invite you to attend a speaker event on

The Future of Interactivity

April 15, 2008

This event will feature three guest speakers who will address the topic of the Future of Interactivity from three very different perspectives.

· Youth trends and a GenY perspective. Day in the life of a Gen-Yer and how new social media is integral to their lifestyle and social behavior. Addressed by Chauncey Zalkin, youth trend spotter, writer and brand strategist.

· Communication perspective and the impact of social media and web 2.O on reputation management, public relations and journalism. Addressed by Silvia Cambié, cross- cultural communications and social media expert.

· IT Perspective and how to embrace, understand and control the innovative power of new technology at a boardroom level. Addressed by Pauwl Lunow, who coaches CIO’s and teams on integrating new technology into business processes.

DATE: April 15, 2008

TIME: 7:00 – 9:00

ATTENDEES: AUC members and Guests of AUC members and speakers

PRICE: 25 Euros. Check must be received by April 7th. Includes wine,kir, beverages & light snacks

LOCATION: L’Echangeur 66 rue des Archives 75003
Centre Européen sur les Pratiques Innovantes de la Relation Client

REGISTRATION: You must go to the AUC site to register at and send check for 25 Euros payable to AUC – AMERICAN UNIVERSITY CLUBS OF FRANCE; mail to: Bassem Maalouf 13 rue Anatole France 92800 Puteaux, France