Uber executive joins London venture capital firm Balderton

The VC investors behind Betfair, Wonga and LoveFilm have snapped up Uber’s vice-president of mobile, Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen

One of Europe’s biggest venture capital firms has snapped up a former Uber executive in the latest nod of approval for the European start-up scene.

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, previously vice-president of mobile at taxi-hailing app Uber and head of mobile at DropBox, has become the sixth investor partner at Balderton Capital, the London-based venture capital firm.

The Danish-Portuguese entrepreneur, who also acted as an advisor to WhatsApp before its $19bn acquisition by Facebook, is the second investor to join the firm from Silicon Valley recently. Suranga Chandratillake, founder of Blinkx and a former executive at Autonomy, returned to London last year to work for Balderton.

“I’ve seen Silicon Valley from the inside – the success, the mentality of not being afraid of taking big bold risks – and we’re seeing that in Europe now,” said Mr Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, who moved to California in 2008.

“A lot of big companies will come out of Europe and I want to be a part of shaping that.”

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen at Balderton’s office in Kings Cross

While at DropBox, Mr Fjeldsoe-Nielsen was instrumental in establishing the cloud company as a pre-loaded and deeply-embedded fixture on Samsung’s products, removing the need to manually sync content between devices.

When he joined Uber, the cab-hailing company’s chief business officer, Emil Michael, called Mr Fjeldsoe-Nielsen “one of the best mobile dealmakers and innovators” in the industry.

Daniel Waterhouse, a partner at Balderton Capital, said: “Having led mobile strategy for sector-defining, high-growth technology companies in Uber and Dropbox, Lars brings a rare insight and experience from Silicon Valley to the companies in our portfolio.

“His unparalleled expertise and enthusiastic commitment to the European tech scene will help us uncover, back and support the very best founders in the region.”

Balderton, which typically invests in Series A funding rounds of $1m to $20m, has invested in more than 100 companies since opening in 2000 as the European branch of Benchmark Capital, splitting off as an independent firm in 2007.

Angry punters none the wiser after latest Betfar statementBalderton invested in Betfair, which floated in 2010  Photo: PA

The Kings Cross-based firm manages $2.3bn and its current portfolio boasts the transport app CityMapper, crowdfunding website CrowdCube, digital music company Kobalt, investment management tool Nutmeg, payday lender Wonga and Yoox, the Italian online fashion retailer that recently merged with Net-A-Porter.

Notable exits include Bebo, the social app bought by AOL in 2008 for $850m, LoveFilm, which Amazon acquired for $250m, and Betfair, the London-listed gambling company that recently agreed a £6bn merger with Paddy Power.

Mr Fjeldsoe-Nielsen said: “I couldn’t be more excited to move back from Silicon Valley to Europe. I believe mobile technology has changed the entrepreneurial ecosystem and levels of aspiration in Europe, which will lead to an explosion of successful European startups playing on a global scale.

“I’m thrilled to join the Balderton team, and to bring the passion I have for technology to the innovative and burgeoning European tech industry.”

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