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Online Services - May 16, 2019

Accel: Is being big sufficient anymore?

Silicon Valley VC company Accel has raised a new mega fund of $575m to spend money on early-degree startups across Europe and Israel. That’s no longer pretty as big as European VC firm Atomico’s today’s fund of $765m (which it closed in 2017) — but it’s pretty damn huge.

Yet, with more capital than ever sloshing around Europe, is being big enough anymore?

Sifted caught up with Accel partner Philippe Botteri to find out what the firm has to offer European startups past hundreds of coins and 20 years of experience investing at the continent — and what sectors he’s, in particular, keeping an eye fixed on.
The huge promote? The community.

“We’re one of the only early-level mission platforms with a certain international network,” says Botteri; Accel has a workplace in San Francisco, London and India, and portfolio groups and contacts across 3 continents. It has an early-stage fund, investing among $5-15m at Series A, in each of these geographies, all of roughly the same size, and a global growth fund for observe-on rounds.

In exercise, that network enables founders in some key ways: with hiring senior leaders; with expanding to new markets; and with introductions to new customers.

Take Algolia, a French search-as-a-carrier corporation, in which Accel invested in 2015. “We helped the CEO relocate to the US, added on Ken Collins, former CMO of Salesforce, as a board member and guide, helped them hire their leader sales officer, chief advertising officer, and so on. And build the management group there,” says Botteri. “We also delivered them to our portfolio agencies inside the US [so they could get some] large clients.”

Or French Vehicle-pooling giant BlaBlaCar, which increased to India in 2015 and labored with Accel’s companions and portfolios based inside u. S. Because it did so.
But what about “platform”?

“We’re no longer aiming to build a full consulting group,” says Botteri — not like some funds, which includes London-based Forward Partners and Paris-based totally Daphni, which offer their portfolio get entry to to advertising and marketing, skills and product professionals as a factor of differentiation.

“Our angle is extra community-oriented; normally the companion on [a company’s] board acts because the door to the Accel community,” provides Botteri. “If a founder says, “I need to optimize sales,’ I placed them in touch with the employer in the portfolio that does that first-rate.”

Accel additionally runs events for its portfolio to inspire the companies to share first-class practice — from the big scale, like “Cloud One”, an annual summit in New York for Accel’s SaaS agencies, to the nearby, like a knowledge-sharing breakfast collection hosted at its London workplace.
How does Europe stack up?

Before becoming a member of Accel in 2011, Botteri worked for Silicon Valley fund Bessemer. Back then, when he lead funding into French advertising and marketing platform Criteo, “convincing a US partnership to invest in a French organization became now not very clean”.

“Overall, the level of ambition of entrepreneurs in Europe is honestly growing.”

Now, the perception (and realities) of French — and European — tech is quite different. “Overall, the level of ambition of marketers in Europe is genuinely rising,” says Botteri, who sits at the board of Parisian startups Doctolib, BlaBlaCar, Algolia and PayFit, and is a board observer for Romanian automation unicorn UiPath.

“Two things are honestly interesting in Europe proper now,” he says. “Firstly, innovation can come from everywhere. If you observe 10-15 years back, it becomes broadly speaking about the UK and Israel, and nowadays really innovation can come from anywhere — UiPath was based in Bucharest — in order that makes the process superb exciting. The subsequent champion could come from Amsterdam, Sofia, Stockholm, wherever. We assume there are approximately 10 to fifteen hubs in which we ought to be a gift and lively.”

One of these hubs in Paris, where Botteri is based. “The French surroundings has absolutely grown quite speedy, sincerely caught up with London and today, it’s many of the clearly middle geographies we’re that specialize in,” he says.