Latest Eric Liaw News
Aug 14, 2023
IVP In 2018, Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist Alex Lim flew with less than 24 hours notice to Bucharest, Romania — a trip that would end up convincing him to leave Sand Hill Road behind and relocate to Europe. He and Eric Liaw, a fellow partner at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), had hopped on a plane to meet Daniel Dines, the CEO and cofounder of Uipath — then one of the hottest software automation startups. “You can learn so much more about a business when you’re on the ground,” says Lim. A fish dinner turned into Lim and Liaw spending the rest of the week with Dines, flying to Barcelona to meet more of the UiPath team and then investing in UiPath’s Series C round at a $3 billion valuation . Two years later it went public with a $35 billion market value , the biggest European tech IPO since Swedish music-streaming service Spotify’s 2018 listing. The trip was so “formative,” Lim says, that he quit California and IVP in 2021 to relocate to London. Now, Lim has rejoined IVP to help the storied firm open its first international office to focus on European startup investments. “I was very bullish on the opportunity but the timing didn’t work out for us then to open an office in London,” says Lim. “But now we get to do it.” Alex Lim will rejoin IVP as a general partner after relocating to London in 2021 to work with venture fund Blossom Capital. IVP Lim will be joined by Liaw and two other IVP investors relocating from San Francisco to find a new crop of promising European startups after backing Finnish games developer SuperCell, money transfer startup Wise and database operator MySQL. “The aspirations of European entrepreneurs are now global,” says Liaw. “When we invested in SuperCell they weren’t trying to build the best gaming company in Finland, they were trying to build the best gaming company in the world.” A flurry of American venture capital funds like Sequoia Capital , Lightspeed Venture Partners , and General Catalyst have opened offices in London in recent years, but 43-year-old IVP stuck to its deep roots in the Bay Area — until now. “This is a big move for us to have people outside the same geography because we really value closeness and collegiality,” says Liaw, who was named to the Midas Brink List of venture capital rising-stars in 2023. IVP made its first investment in Europe with MySQL nearly two decades ago, but Liaw had felt that the continent wasn’t able to support a full-time team. But a growing portfolio of British and European startups like AI translation company DeepL , fintech Volt, and French finance startup Pigment and earlier exits like UiPath tipped IVP’s decision, says Liaw. “In 2022, half of our investment team had spent time in Europe and by being closer it removes the friction to doing that extra meeting, coffee or dinner with a company,” says Liaw, who has previously backed Datadog, cloud database Aiven and Github. Liaw argues what’s changed has been European founders’ ambition to build world-beating companies, and the pandemic leveling some barriers to compete internationally. “If your product is good it can compete [globally] and that’s leading to an increase in company velocity which is why this makes sense for us now,” he says. Even as Bay Area venture funds like IVP and Andreessen Horowitz, which announced plans for a small London foothold in June, expand to Europe, other North American investors have pulled back. Canadian pension fund Omers Ventures announced plans to refocus on North America earlier this month while Pitchbook data shows that investment in European startups have slumped by 63% to $26.2 billion in the first half of this year. That tallies with U.S. funds investment in European VC deals falling 69% to $5.1 billion in the second quarter, according to Pitchbook . “That pullback is the sort of opportunity we like to see and there’s an opportunity to do great work with entrepreneurs now the noise of the bull market of 2021 and early 2022 has died out,” Lim says. Lim was one of IVP’s youngest ever general partners before he left to join London-based Blossom Capital in 2021, investing in fintech Kadmos, messaging platform Superchat and Freshly Cosmetics, until leaving in May 2023. The 30 Under 30 alum has previously backed Discord, fantasy sports game Sorare, and virtual events startup Hopin at IVP. Liaw and Lim will be joined in London by IVP partner James Black and investor Shreyas Garg, who both will also relocate from San Francisco. Send me a secure tip .
Eric Liaw Investments
Eric Liaw has made 3 investments. Their latest investment was in JUST Goods as part of their Angel on October 10, 2017.
Eric Liaw Investments Activity