When startups or VC's recruit a new team member, it is normally not newsworthy per say. However when the news has profound implications for the region, such as the time when Max Niederhofer joined Sunstone Capital, this is definitely something to write about.
We were just told that a similar move was made by Chris Barchak, who will be joining the Finland based based Conor VC as a Partner. Barchak was previously a Principal at Fidelity Growth Partners Europe in London and an associate at Index Ventures. Both of them have very respectable portfolios. FGPE has investments in Alibaba, and the Swedish Neo Technology while Index Ventures invested in Facebook, Skype, MySQL and more recently they led €100 million round into Supercell.
Barchak is not new to the Nordic region, he is originally from Finland and also led the $10.6M A round and $11M B round in Neo Technology, where both Conor and FGPE were investors. His main focus at Conor will be to find and build global winners emerging from Nordics and Baltics, on which Barchak commented: “In many ways, this move is a return to my roots, both personal and professional. Having been born in Finland, and beginning my investment career in early stage technology venture capital, I am excited to join the Conor team to help fully realize the enormous potential of Nordic entrepreneurs.”
Although it is of course great that Barchak will be bringing a lot of experience to the Conor team, the real story here is that the Nordics is becoming more attractive of a region for investors. With Max Niederhofer and now Barchak making decisions to join local VC's, it is a sign that they see a particular appeal in the Nordics.
Of course this is also an indication that local VC's are starting to become more global and be more noticeable on the global investment arena. If they continue recruiting VC talent at this rate, we will soon have a lot of the best investment professionals of the world join our cause. Jari Mieskonen, the Managing Partner at Conor commented: "Recruiting Chris to our team is an indication of our ambition for Conor to strengthen our role as a truly pan-Nordic and Baltic firm, while also working closely in syndication with the leading Nordic, European and US venture firms.”
UPDATE: Quick interview with Chris Barchak:
ArcticStartup: What was the main reason that you decided to join the Conor team and return to your roots here in Finland?
Chris Barchak: The main reasons I joined Conor were the perfect match between our investment interests (ambitious, early, tech, Nordic) and naturally the chemistry with the team.
ArcticStartup: Do you think that your move as well as Max Niederhofers move to Sunstone implicate any important characteristics and/or attractions of the Nordic markets?
Chris Barchak: I shouldn't speak for Max but the attractiveness of the Nordic startup ecosystem is no secret any more. It may be underhyped compared to Berlin but that's partly because after MySQL, Skype, Klarna, Spotify, Supercell, Rovio and others, the world knows that the Nordics produce some of the world's best companies.
ArcticStartup: What are your favorite startups from the region and what do you think your main focus will be?
Chris Barchak: I have to say Neo Technology as one of the real game-changing horizontal technologies hailing from the region, even if they're now split between the Valley and Malmo. I love the humble hard work leading to great success by people like Ilkka Paananen of Supercell--a very Nordic story. But of course you'll need to keep an eye on our upcoming investments to know what's next. My plan is to execute the Conor strategy of early stage technology principally in B2B or enterprise technologies, from the region. Finland, Sweden and Estonia are the core, but you could see Denmark, Norway, Lithuania and Latvia as well.
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