Ex-Google CFO Patrick Pichette is on the hunt for Europe's unicorns: 'The last thing the world needs is another US dollar.'

  • Canadian venture firm Inovia Capital just closed a whopping $450 million fund.
  • The company is scouting the next European tech unicorn as the continent preps for a wave of IPOs. 
  • Partner and ex-Google CFO Patrick Pichette gave Insider the lowdown on Inovia’s strategy for 2021.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Inovia Capital, the Canadian venture firm specializing in growth-stage tech startups, has just put together a $450 million fund – and is keen to discover Europe’s next tech unicorns. 

The firm now has close to $1.5 billion in capital at its disposal, and plans to invest its Growth Fund II in startups across the fintech, healthtech, e-commerce, travel and “future of work” sectors. Winners from Inovia’s first $400 million growth fund include business software startup Lightspeed, travel firm Hopper, and Airbnb rival Sonder. 

“It’s been amazing. We’ve basically closed a fund within a quarter, it took weeks,” Patrick Pichette, Inovia’s top VC in London – and the former CFO of Google – told Insider.

“In Europe, because we only really do growth, it was great to meet the early-stage community and say: ‘Hey, we can help your champions that you can’t follow on, and we’ll give them the operating expertise and North American networks they need to be global champions,” he added.

Alongside Pichette in London, the latest fund will be spearheaded by partners Chris Arsenault and former Blackberry COO Dennis Kavelman, back in Canada. Pichette himself joined Inovia in 2019 to lead its then newly launched London office.

Asked about the differences between startups on either side of the Atlantic, Pichette says: “Silicon Valley is a unique place, and Europe is a different animal. But Europe has equal, if not more, opportunity. It has more academics, more deep tech – it mirrors a lot of what Canada has, actually.

He adds: “Europe was a bit of a desert for a while. But now you’ve got the likes of Spotify, and you’ve got Deliveroo going public.

“The world is awash in cash. The last thing the world needs right now is another freaking US dollar, right?” he laughs.

“What companies need – and I tell all our founders – it doesn’t matter what term sheet you get, they’re all going to look the same. 

“The real question is: Who do you want on your board, which network do you want to access, and who’s going to cross the street on a Tuesday morning to help you deal with operational issues, there and then?” 

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