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LONDON – The Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia is going against the grain with its new London office.
The tech investor, who benefited from early bets at companies like Google and Apple, avoided London’s exclusive Mayfair area and decided to open a store in nearby Marylebone – a fashionable corner of west London with Georgian streets and “posh vibes.” “. “According to TimeOut. It is also the home of the fictional private detective Sherlock Holmes.
“Sequoia has signed a lease for a London office in the Fitzrovia / Marylebone area and is currently working on the design / furnishings,” said a company spokesman. “As soon as this is done and of course the lockdown allows it, they are very excited to be able to move in.”
The company currently has a number of desks in a shared office in Fitzrovia. However, the new office will be its own dedicated space.
“We are delighted to have signed a 10-year lease for our new London office. This reflects Sequoia’s deep commitment to expand our presence in Europe and to work with the best and best founders on the continent,” said Sequoia partner Luciana Lixandru.
Many of the city’s largest tech investors are based in Mayfair, including SoftBank, Index Ventures, Accel, and Atomico.
Sequoia partner Matt Miller was quick to sack the dazzling neighborhood when CNBC asked him where the firm was planning to open its new London office in November. “It’s definitely not Mayfair,” Miller said. “The reason for our goal is to get in contact with founders.”
The VC firm started in a “fantastic location” next to Stanford University on Sand Hill Road in California in the 1970s, Miller said. “It’s got to be a cumbersome, successful place in a way, but it’s still wonderful to be so close to Stanford.”
When Sequoia opened an office in San Francisco, it went to the mission district, which Miller said had “a lot of startups.” He said Sequoia wanted to look somewhere in London where founders would be comfortable to spend time.
“We said no to Mayfair from the start,” he said. “It’s a beautiful part of the city, no question about it, but it’s just not the mood we’re looking for with our companies.”
Miller said access to the city’s airports and the location of employees’ homes were other issues that were being considered.
The area around High Street Kensington in West London is another hotbed for VC firms, home to First Minute Capital and MMC Ventures. King’s Cross is home to Balderton Capital and LocalGlobe.
Bet on Europe
Sequoia’s US team has already invested hundreds of millions in European startups, including AI chip maker Graphcore, fintech company Klarna, flight finder Skyscanner, online makeup retailer Charlotte Tilbury, life science Cambridge Epigenetix and security company Tessian.
But worries that some of the most promising startups may slip through the web in cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm – Sequoia has missed startups like the AI lab DeepMind, which sold for $ 600 million in 2014 Google was sold, and chip designer Arm, which is currently being sold to Nvidia for $ 40 billion.
Alex Kayyal, a London-based Salesforce Ventures International partner, told CNBC that Sequoia is “one of the most respected venture companies in the world.” The fact that the company is officially established in Europe “can only be an endorsement here for entrepreneurs,” he said.