Google's European M&A man jumps ship to explore new startup fund model

Anil Hansjee, long time Head of Corporate Development at Google EMEA has left, effective today. This is quite a big change in the European startup eco-system, as Hansjee was effectively the guy who startups and VCs in Europe went to to sell their companies to Google. We’ve reached out to Google to check whether he will be replaced.

In an email to colleagues – which TechCrunch Europe has seen -Hansjee said:

“I most definitely won’t find anything like this job in any other corporate development role (and I mean ANY) so I’m not even going to try. Instead for now, I’m going to take some time and do some advisory work (and maybe raise a different kind of fund – but more on that later!)”

I rang him up to quiz him on this, and it turns out his plans to raise a fund to back early stage startups are more than a “maybe”.

He told me he has “several options up in the air and is “not sure which one will come down” but he is focused one a couple.

One is a a different type of funding model, which on closer quizzing sounds very close to the 500Startups model to me.

“It’s hard to explain right now,” said Hansjee, “but it’s about high volume, velocity and speed. Doing a lot of early stage deals, having a diverse portfolio, etc”

It would also involve a lot of automated processes for applications, terms sheets and using “wisdom of crowd” for approval selections, he says.

Hansjee’s idea is to link a fund like this to ‘family offices’ in Europe, of which there are numerous, but few are engaged in early stage tech investing, which is considered highly specialist.

“I care less about follow-on funding on, as providing options for family offices” said Hansjee.

“I’m not really excited about the middle of the curve. But you can make money early on. Some 85% of Google’s deals were $50m acquisitions.”

In other words he thinks VC in the middle of the funding cycle is going to have a tough time – exactly the same view of Dave McClure at 500startups. “You want a multiplicity of funds – that’s the future. Big VC funds force you into doing later stage deals.”

He thinks there are gaps in the funding market and “and in Europe even more so.”

Interesting times…