Esprit's Potter Quits to Start Fund

Dow Jones Newsletter ; JAN.27, 1999


LONDON - Michael Potter will leave Esprit Telecom Group PLC the pan-European telecom company he helped found In 1991, to set up a technology venture-capital fund called Paradigm Ventures...

Mr. Potter resigned Tuesday as president of Esprit and will wrap up his executive responsibilities on Feb. 28. He will continue to serve on the board as vice chairman.

The venture-capital fund, backed mostly by U.S. Investors who Mr. Potter declined to Identify, will seek to capitalize on telecoms, Internet and related broadcasting opportunities in Western Europe. The fund's first project will involve commercializing and adding services to fiber-optics networks.

Digital convergence will be the focus for Paradigm Mr. Potter told Dow Jones Newswires. "It's exactly the1 type of thing we're talking about," he said, referring to convergence of Internet broadcasting and related services over digital networks. "How do you bring traditional broadcasting and home PCs together?"

"People who have existing fiber or coaxial cable can be hooked up with the capacity to pick up information from a server," he said. "It's the next logical step In terms of entertainment and information technology."

The new firm will be based an Virginia In the U.S., but will also have offices In Amsterdam where Mr. Potter will reside.

Esprit is in the process of being taken over, following an agreed $645 million bid last month by Global Telesystems Group Inc.