- Silicon Valley fund Bessemer Venture Partners has expanded its European investment team.
- Former SoftBank Vision Fund vice president Justina Chung has joined Bessemer’s London office.
- Chung told Insider there was a lot of opportunity for investors in European AI startups.
Former SoftBank vice president Justina Chung has joined Silicon Valley fund Bessemer Venture Partners’ European investment team.
The San Francisco-based firm is one of the world’s oldest venture funds, having made foresight bets on tech behemoths such as LinkedIn, Shopify, and Pinterest. Chung has joined Bessemer’s London office, which is led by partner Alex Ferrara, who is responsible for the fund’s European operations, which will begin in 2020.
Bessemer made its first European investment in 2004 and has since continued to support startups in the region, including German fintechs Upvest and Mambu and British neobank Zopa.
Chung was a vice president at SoftBank’s Vision Fund, where she served on the boards of Jobandtalent, a temp staffing agency, and Vestiaire Collective, a second-hand designer fashion marketplace. She also invested in startups, such as the fantasy sports game company Sorare. Chung previously worked at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse before joining SoftBank.
“It’s clear that great founders begin their journey here, in Tallinn or Stockholm, London, Paris, or Berlin,” said Chung, now a vice president at Bessemer. “Some have relocated to the United States, while others have remained in their home country while selling globally.” However, it makes perfect sense for us to be present at the source – so that we can find these founders early and bring our US network to them.”
Chung stated that the fund sees a lot of opportunity in Europe’s AI space, citing companies such as HuggingFace, DeepL, Poolside, Dustt, and Mistral as areas of growth in the continent’s tech ecosystem. Despite a wider pullback by US venture capital funds in Europe following a record amount of investment in 2021, Bessemer claims to be investing across stages and sectors from London.
“I look for founders who have a unique understanding of the problem and are able to recruit exceptional talent,” Chung added. “These founders are passionate, relentless, and analytical, capable of scrappy execution while pursuing a holy grail vision.”