EQT Ventures today welcomed new partners Johan Svanström and Lyle Fong to its London team, bringing EQT Ventures’ operational team of company founders and scalers to almost 30 worldwide. Over the last 18 months, EQT Ventures has significantly increased its global footprint, setting up teams in San Francisco, Berlin and Paris in addition to its offices in Stockholm, London and Amsterdam. With full-service teams on the ground in six cities, EQT Ventures provides founders with the local support and advice needed throughout all stages of growth.
The EQT Ventures fund is committed to giving its founders more than just capital, partnering with its portfolio to provide the resources, skills and experience needed to build and grow global success stories. Both Johan and Lyle bring a wealth of additional operating experience to the team. An expert in launching and scaling brands globally, Johan was previously President of Hotels.com and a member of the global management team of its parent company, Expedia Group Inc. for five years. In his role at Hotels.com, Johan oversaw the innovation, strategic development and growth of the brand – operating in more than 70 countries. Johan was also President of Expedia Affiliate Network, the B2B partner division of Expedia Group, for more than three years. Before this, Johan spent eight years with Expedia in Asia-Pacific as a Managing Director, launching and growing several of the company’s divisions into leading regional players. Johan is an active investor with experience of advisory and board positions in both start-ups and public companies.
Lyle is a serial entrepreneur and, having founded successful enterprise software and gaming companies, knows all too well the rollercoaster ride that founders experience. One of Lyle’s companies was Lithium, a social media software company acquired by Vista in 2017. Before it was acquired, Lithium raised more than $180m in funding, made four acquisitions, grew the team to more than 300 employees and revenue to over $100 million. Lyle has also been a visiting partner at startup accelerator Y Combinator and an active investor and mentor to early stage companies. where he has been advising and investing in early stage companies. Lyle has relocated from San Francisco to London for this role, bringing Silicon Valley expertise to the London start-up ecosystem.
“The EQT Ventures team is delighted to have Johan and Lyle on board,” said Hjalmar Winbladh, Partner and investment advisor to the EQT Ventures fund. “Their experiences building and scaling companies internationally will be invaluable to the portfolio companies and fits with the team’s mission of creating a different kind of VC – the kind we would have wanted on our own startup journeys. We’re a team of founders and operators ready to support the next generation of founders with, not just financial support, but the advice and mentorship needed to build global winners.”
EQT Ventures also announces the promotion of Ashley Lundström and Tom Mendoza who will continue scouting for new investments and supporting the fund’s portfolio in Germany and the UK respectively.
Based in the EQT Ventures London office, Lyle and Johan will join Tom, Lucy Wimmer (Marketing and Communications Partner), Zoe Jervier (Talent Partner), Naza Metghalchi (Business Development Lead), Martin Eriksson (Executive in Residence).
Launched in May 2016, the EQT Ventures fund has already had its first exit (Small Giant Games’ acquisition by Zynga) and more than doubled the number of companies in its portfolio (38). The fund’s aim of bridging the US and Europe, providing European startups with a launchpad into the US and vice versa, is also coming to fruition. With partner Alastair Mitchell heading up the San Francisco team, the EQT Ventures fund now has seven US companies in its portfolio, including recent investments HeadSpin, Handshake and Mental Canvas. Four of the fund’s portfolio companies – Peakon, Codacy, Natural Cycles and Tinyclues – have also recently opened New York offices.
“With our team in San Francisco, EQT Ventures can be a true partner to founders in the US wanting to scale into Europe,” said Alastair Mitchell, partner and investment advisor at EQT Ventures.
“There’s a huge number of US companies at the series B and C stages, such as our recent investment Handshake, looking for a team with on-the-ground experience of navigating Europe’s complexity. That’s where our team can help. We’re also well-positioned to support the best European startups when they expand into the US, so they don’t have to rely on just US funding. Having taken my own company into the US, I know what a challenge this can be! We’re a truly global VC.”