Sequoia Capital VC Company Expects Startup Success Story in Europe

Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz

Scott Murin | CNBC

London – Sequoia Capital, one of the most well-known venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Silicon Valley, has made a big new bet on what it considers to be Europe next. Did.

Founded 48 years ago by Donald Valentine, a leading company that helped Apple and Google early on, the company is set to accommodate a small but growing team of European investors in the coming weeks. Ready to sign a lease for a new office in London.

Sequoia veteran partner Matt Miller told CNBC in a video call on Monday. “I came to London for a week a month, and there are many things I can see. I felt that being on the ground made a big difference in my ability to find opportunities early.”

There are now some European tech companies worth over $ 10 billion, and Miller believes people are starting to ask when $ 100 billion of start-ups will emerge in Europe.

Sequoia’s US team has already joined European startups such as AI chip maker Graphcore, fintech company Klarna, flight finder Skyscanner, online cosmetics retailer Charlotte Tilbury, life sciences company Cambridge Epigenetix, and security company Tessian. We are investing 100 million dollars. But I’m afraid some of the most promising start-ups in cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm may be slipping through the internet. Sequoia missed a start-up like AI Lab DeepMind, which was sold to Google for $ 600 million in 2014. Chip designer Arm has been sold to Nvidia for $ 40 billion.

Miller was reluctant to say exactly where the new London office would be in the event of a failure. But he confirmed that it wasn’t in Mayfair, a fashionable London neighborhood where several other VC companies, including Index Ventures and Axel, were founded. That’s not the “atmosphere” the company is looking for. “I don’t want to share anything concrete, but it’s a great area where we feel it’s a great place for founders to spend time with us,” he said.

The official arrival of Sequoia in Europe after years of rumors is seen as a major problem for the continent’s high-tech scene. Alex Kayyal, a partner at London-based Salesforce Ventures International, told CNBC that Sequoia is “one of the most respected venture companies in the world.” The fact that the company was officially founded in Europe “is just an entrepreneurial verification here,” he said.

Sequoia hasn’t disclosed plans to invest in Europe, and unlike many other companies, it hasn’t disclosed the billions of dollars under its control.

So far, London’s Sequoia team consists of Miller, former Accel partner Luciana Lixandru, former EQT Ventures partner Zoe Hewitt, and George Robson, product leader of fast-growing fintech company Revolut. .. But there are no plans to stop there. “We are now looking to hire young people who have graduated from school for four or five years to help us with our investment efforts,” Miller said. Asked if the person is likely to come from an investment bank (many venture capitalists start their careers) or another VC company, Miller said it was “probably someone who worked in some form of investment job.” He said it would be, but he declined more clearly.

According to Miller, the Menlo Park team will be “closely involved” in all European investments.

“I used to pick this up from California, but now I’m adding people little by little, so it feels like a team of 24 to 25 people instead of a team of 4 to 5 people,” he said. Said.

Sequoia is also in the early stages of establishing a scout network of angel investors in Europe and will use it to find and invest in new companies. Companies with similar networks in the United States have not disclosed how many scouts they have.

Lessons from Google Ventures

Sequoia is not the first well-known US venture capital firm to enter Europe in recent years. Google Ventures (now GV) launched a European-only business in 2015 with five London-based partners. But things didn’t go as planned, and European funds were abandoned after California headquarters were told to decline “many” of London’s partners’ investment ideas.

According to Miller, Sequoia spoke with “many people” at GV before establishing it in London. Eventually, Sequoia decided to start small and expand over time. Miller integrated the new team members into the Sequoia by “moving to gradually expand rather than collaborate quickly with five new partners,” as GV did, “between the two teams.” Gives the opportunity to “build a better relationship with”.

Sequoia’s operations in Europe are far more closely linked to its major operations in the United States than Sequoia India or Sequoia China. “The difference is that Europe is not its own breakout, a separate set of funds,” Miller said. “It will be part of the US fund.”

Sequoia Capital VC Company Expects Startup Success Story in Europe

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