George Osborne is on the hunt for deals in Europe, as his US-based investment firm joins the rush of North American money flowing into the continent.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer appeared at a private markets conference in Cannes this week, telling attendees that he was looking to ink investments in early growth-stage businesses.
Osborne, whose CV includes being chair of the British Museum and a partner at boutique investment bank Robey Warshaw, spoke at the IPEM summit in his role as managing partner of 9Yards Capital, a US-based venture capital firm he co-founded in 2018 with his brother, Theo, and former Leonard Green & Partners investor David Fisher.
“We’ve largely invested in American businesses but we’re looking with increasing appetite at European businesses and European tech opportunities that weren’t there 10 years ago,” Osborne said.
With offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and London, 9Yards Capital describes itself as a private investment firm focused on “foundational industries beginning with fintech and supply chain tech”.
The company’s portfolio of investments has included trading app Robinhood as well as shipping and fulfillment startup Deliverr, according to its website.
Osborne’s interest in the European VC scene comes after a busy period for the market: in 2021, investment in European and Israeli startups crossed the €100bn mark for the first time ever, according to PitchBook data.
US-based investors have led the surge, inking 2,210 deals last year worth a total of €70.7bn.
In his talk at the IPEM conference this week, the former government heavyweight also called on European regulators and governments to remove obstacles hindering growth at start-up and early-stage businesses.
“Where are the unicorns of tomorrow here in Europe? They need an ecosystem of access to capital, talent, and regulation that doesn’t stifle new entrants or innovation or protects incumbents… All these things are in the hands of national governments, the European Union and regulators. That’s hard work, sweeping away those obstacles.”
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