Global

Shifting into 6th gear: Accel’s belief in Europe

First published May 16, 2019  

At Accel, we are convinced that innovation and talent can come from anywhere and believe in a world where all entrepreneurs should have access to the same opportunities, regardless of whether they are in San Francisco, Berlin, Bangalore, or Bucharest.

Our own firm was founded 35 years ago in Silicon Valley. We were big believers in Europe early on and opened offices on the ground in 2000 only to soon find ourselves in what was later referred to as the nuclear winter of European venture. At the time many questioned whether this continent could consistently create billion-dollar businesses, or whether European entrepreneurs were ambitious enough to avoid the temptation of selling their companies too early.

Nearly two decades later, as we are announcing our 6th European early-stage fund ($575M), we can address these questions with more conviction than ever before. We were early investors in some of Europe’s first billion-dollar companies and in some of its first $10B+ companies. These founders have global ambitions, want to turn the world upside down, and have done so with European flair.

We are a global team that invested first in Facebook, Slack, Dropbox, Atlassian, and many others. When we came to Europe, we knew we were looking for the same flavour of global category-defining companies. It was a slower start post-bubble in the early 2000s, but then came Qlik, one of the first European tech IPOs on the Nasdaq, and Spotify, Supercell, Avito, Kayak, Funding Circle, CHECK24, Deliveroo, DocuSign, UiPath, and many others that have traveled successful journeys. We have our share of companies where we “would have, could have, should have”, but overall, we have learned tremendous lessons and feel privileged to work with many of Europe’s finest.

Maybe most importantly, we are a single, global team that enjoys working together and operates in three very different and exciting geographies - US, Europe, and India. We come from diverse backgrounds but are united in our mission: to do everything we can to support the most ambitious entrepreneurs and the most transformative products; to help many of our companies win globally (and especially in the US, where we have been on the ground for 35 years); and, importantly, to be their partner in good times and bad. We look for entrepreneurs who want to make their own rules, who challenge conventional wisdom. We look for the originals.

—The Accel Team