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VC firm Sapphire Ventures puts London at heart of European expansion

Sapphire Ventures London

US-based venture capital firm Sapphire Ventures has said it intends to “significantly” expand its European investments over the coming years and has announced that partner Kevin Diestel is moving from Silicon Valley to join the firm’s European team in London. 

It follows Saphire Ventures opening its first European office in London last year with seven team members. Earlier this month the VC unveiled a $2bn investment fund to back late-stage tech companies across the US, Europe and Israel.

Sapphire Ventures has previously backed notable UK companies including payments firm Wise, used car marketplace Cazoo and open banking business Yapily, among others. The VC primarily backs companies across business applications, fintech, and infrastructure software from Series B stage to IPO. 

As part of the European expansion, Sapphire Ventures has promoted Annalise Dragic from principal to partner. She was involved in the investments in Cazoo and Yapily, along with others including Unmind and Currencycloud. Sapphire Ventures said the promotion makes Dragic one of the youngest female VC partners in Europe.

Ahead of its increased activity in the UK, Sapphire Ventures plans to add four more members to its London team of seven over the next six months.

Alongside Diestel, it is also relocating Thomas Moon, VP in the Sapphire partners team, to London. Moon will help the VC firm’s partner with early-stage venture capital managers in Europe and Israel.

Abhishek Lahoti has also joined the team and will be leading the firm’s international expansion ‘Center of Excellence’ and spearhead the European arm of the portfolio growth team.

Andreas Weiskam, managing partner and co-founder of Sapphire Ventures, said: “The barriers to build global companies of consequence are falling and there are now over 60 cities with unicorn companies in Europe. These are exciting times, and I could not be more thrilled about the excellent additions to our Sapphire team to seize the increasing opportunities in the European ecosystem.”