When you meet Luca, it’s hard to miss his strong sense of curiosity and passion for all things entrepreneurship and venture.
We first got to know Luca as a co-investor in Wallapop, where he met our partner Sonali De Rycker, and we soon found ourselves investing alongside him in two exciting businesses, Deliveroo and Soldo.
“I was really struck by how naturally Luca built a rapport with founders, and by his relentless enthusiasm and positive outlook. He was on his way to building an impressive track record, having backed great founders like Will at Deliveroo and Johannes at GetYourGuide, and I knew that we would be lucky to have him at Accel,” recounts Sonali.
Luca joined us as a Principal with a keen interest in next-gen consumer and fintech businesses. Since starting at Accel, he has led, amongst others, our investments in Luko, a Paris based startup reinventing home insurance, and Brumbrum, our first Milan-based investment pioneering a new model in automotive retail. He is also working closely with Sonali on our investment in Sennder, the Berlin based digital freight forwarding company.
In just a short amount of time, Luca’s contributions have gone well beyond his investment acumen. He has emerged as a magnet for entrepreneurs, become a mentor to our younger team members and pushed the boundaries of our thinking in consumer markets, especially fintech. After 18 months with us, his promotion to Partner at the end of last year was well deserved. We asked him to share a bit more about himself and his experience as an early stage investor in Europe.
You relocated from Milan to London - what do you miss the most about Italy?
I love the incredible variety of beautiful places that Italy has to offer. Many of these are in easy driving distance of Milan, which was of course priceless. On the other hand, London is perhaps the most multicultural city in the world, and I’m constantly amazed by the endless list of interesting places, events and shows you can enjoy. I miss my favourite pizza joint though - nothing can match the Brontese at Lievita’ in Milan. The place is run by a good friend of mine.
We have to ask: Juve or Inter?
The Bianconeri (Juve) of course! I am a big football fan and still play as much as I can. I look forward to doing my bit at the next European venture football competition.
What’s the best life hack you’ve learned from a founder?
I have been enormously lucky to work with founders such as Johannes Reck of GetYourGuide. and Daniel Klein of SumUp. Even in the toughest times, what has surprised me is their overwhelming positivity. They have kept this by staying focused on their long-term goals, while managing the volatile rollercoaster that is startup life. So, I too have learnt to stay calm – it is certainly something that comes in use in the noisy venture market.
What do you enjoy most about Accel?
It’s a particularly team-oriented culture – there is huge support from everyone around you coupled with a lot of respect for an individual’s conviction. It is a philosophy that was ingrained by our founding partners, who both still happen to be active and mentor the current team. For me, it says a lot about Accel’s culture that our founders are still present and supportive nearly four decades later.
Tell us more about your investment in Luko. Why did you decide to invest?
In founders I look for an authentic connection to the opportunity they’ve chosen, clarity of purpose and the relentless focus and drive to make it happen.
I saw all of this in Raphael and Benoit, Luko’s founders.
When we met, we shared the same understanding: The insurance industry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. They are bold enough to go up against the establishment and immediately impressed me with how much they’ve been able to achieve in a short amount of time and with limited resources.
Insurance might be a mature industry, but it has sub-par customer service and limited product innovation. There is a huge opportunity to shake up the status quo. Luko is a great example of how an ambitious team with a sleek product and robust platform can create a better experience that customers love. Companies like Monzo are already doing this in retail banking and setting the bar for consumers’ expectations, but many other areas of financial services remain largely untouched. There is still a vast opportunity for smart founders to seize upon these trends and shake up a once ‘boring’ sector by offering consumers better products and service.
What do you like best about venture?
Spending time with and working alongside inspiring founders and talented leaders who are reshaping the world we live in is a true privilege.
I also love the fact that the next interesting opportunity will most likely look very different from the last. It keeps you on your toes. You have to continuously challenge your own thinking and learnings. This can be stressful but also incredibly motivating.
What is the hardest thing about venture?
As an early stage investor, I get to see so many great companies, but unfortunately, I can’t invest in every one.