Silicon Valley V.C. company Accel has raised a new megafund of $575m to spend money on early-degree startups across Europe and Israel. That’s no longer as big as European V.C. firm Atomico’s today’s fund of $765m (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 promotion? 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 three continents. It has an early-stage fund, investing between $5-15m at Series A in each geography, all roughly the same size, and a global growth fund for observe-on rounds.
In exercise, that network enables founders in key ways: hiring senior leaders, expanding to new markets, and introducing new customers.
Take Algolia, a French search-as-a-carrier corporation, in which Accel invested in 2015. “We helped the CEO relocate to the U.S., 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 U.S. [so they could get some] large clients.”
French Vehicle-pooling giant BlaBlaCar increased to India in 2015 and labored with Accel’s companions and portfolios inside the U.S. 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 include London-based Forward Partners and Paris-based Daphni, which offer their portfolio get entry to advertising and marketing, skills, and product professionals as 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 practices — 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 joining Accel in 2011, Botteri worked for the Silicon Valley fund Bessemer. Back then, when he led funding into French advertising and marketing platform Criteo, “convincing a U.S. partnership to invest in a French organization became not very clean”.
“Overall, the ambition of entrepreneurs in Europe is honestly growing.”
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 on the board of Parisian startups Doctolib, BlaBlaCar, Algolia, and PayFit, and is a board observer for Romanian automation unicorn UiPath.
“Two things are 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 U.K. and Israel, and nowadays, real innovation can come from anywhere — UiPath was based in Bucharest — making the process superbly exciting. The next champion could come from Amsterdam, Sofia, Stockholm, or wherever. We assume there are approximately 10 to fifteen hubs in which we ought to be a gift and lively.”
One of these hubs is in Paris, where Botteri is based. “The French surroundings have grown quite speedy, sincerely caught up with London, and today, it’s many of the middle geographies we specialize in,” he says.