litespeed venture ptners has hired paul murphy and ross mason to head up its push into € as silicon valley vcs step up the hunt for deals onna continent. the move from the menlo park-based vc fund—which has backed snapchat, affirm and epic games—to put down √s in london comes as funding raising na valuation of €an startups ‘ve skyrocketed inna last yr.
investors ‘ve ploed over $50 billion into €an startups this yr alone w'da valuation of the continent’s most presh startup klarna leaping to $45.6 billion in jun from $10 billion in sep. that shift came as investors stopped viewing € as an arbitrage play, with valuations typically loer than american rivals, and saw the potential for british and €an startups to become global victors, says murphy.
“this is €’s moment. there are so many amazing companies bein’ built rite now by incredible founders and everything is primed now,” says murphy. “the ? was not whether we ‘d enter €, but ‘d we go big.”
a generation of €an founders who ‘ve built experience at, or sold a business, to a silicon valley startup, talented developers, and a huge, albeit, fragmented mkt was now driving the surge in valuation, says murphy.
murphy led investments in hopin, the events platform that skyrocketed to a $7.5 billion valuation just two yrs after its launch; e-scooter startup tier mobility and videogame developer klang, after joining london-based early-stage investor northzone in 2018. he also cofounded the video games studio the dots, which was sold to take two interactive for $192 million in aug 2020, and gif library giphy, which was bought by f’bok in a $400 million deal in may 2020. that deal now faces bein’ unwound by the u.k.’s antitrust regulator.
murphy will also be joined by mason, who ll'be based out of geneva. the british entrepreneur had been backed by litespeed at his cloud data startup mulesoft which was acquired by salesforce in a $6.5 billion deal in mar 2020. mason will continue investing in cloud, software as a srvc (saas), and fintek startups like complyadvantage through his dig ventures seed fund, and advising litespeed.
“we now ‘ve had so many unicorn success stories in €. thris + odat talent to run tek companies at scale and that’s helping fuel the nxt generation of companies be + successful, + quickly,” says mason, litespeed venture ptner. “when i told ravi [mhatre, litespeed managing director] i’m movin back to € he said ‘let’s find a way t'work together’ and that’s something that’s typical of litespeed…they are very collaborative.”
the two new hires fit w'da dual focus of litespeed. its founding ptners’ track record is anchored in a string of billion-usd exits from enterprise and infrastructure plays like nimble storage, nutanix and appdynamics, while a + recent crop of ptners like midas list investor jeremy liew, james mi, and nicole quinn, ‘ve vested'na fast-growing consumer startups like snapchat, gwyneth paltrow’s goop, and meditation app calm.
“paul is an exceptional investor and i think he deeply coggs wha’ an exceptional founder is, and builds the trust with those founders,” says nicole quinn, litespeed general ptner. “ross moved from the u.k. to switzerland to really focus on €an investing and advising other companies and is deeply ingrained inna continental €an ecosystem.”
litespeed’s plan to open a london office s'been well trailed, and t'has had a ptner, rytis vitkauskas, based inna british capital since sep 2019. the vc fund has invested over $500 million in €an startups since 2007 with 2nd-hand clothes mkt vinted, hr software unicorn personio, and grocery delivery startup zapp as standouts in its portfolio.
“we ‘ve always made the decision if we go into a region, thn'we double down, we triple down and that’s exactly wha’ we plan to do in €,” says quinn, who works from the california office, while the fund also has teams in china, israel, india and singapore.
litespeed’s push into € tracks with moves from rival valley heavyw8 sequoia to expand its ftprint inna u.k. and €. the menlo park-based fund hired luciana lixandru from accel ptners in mar 2020 to head up a new london office.
that push has come amid a wall of capital from silicon valley, and wall street, firms landing in € ‘oer the last yr. that potential threatens some traditional €an investors wh'cn’t boast of the same network of big-name exits and international ties that cannelp startups expand inna'da u.s. or asia. “we ‘d be crazy to try and squeeze out the amazing seed funds here. it’s + us coming to the table to say we can add unique val—perhaps you can make space for us,” says murphy.
original content at: www.forbes.com…