Berlin investment firm EarlyBird recently raised $100 million in its fourth round. EarlyBird was founded in 1997, and has since invested in more than 70 companies, and is presently focusing on European startups, especially those in Germany. Incidentally, LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Geurike is also an EarlyBird partner.
Geurike, who is German, though educated at Stanford and based in Palo Alto, sees a talent pool in Europe that is a bit scarce in Silicon Valley. He told VentureBeat, “I think given the amount of money available, the shortage in Silicon Valley is in technical talent. I have no doubt that some European startups with strong talent and the right startup know-how will be able to out-execute Silicon Valley companies.”
Geurike adds that he plans to focus on helping EarlyBird-funded startups expand to the U.S. market – “My goal is to help portfolio companies to become a success on a global scale – I will probably end up working most closely with one or two founders who decide their best opportunities for global impact come from leading their business from Silicon Valley, while keeping most of the staff in Germany, where it is easier to attract and retain technical talent.” When comparing the European startup climate to that of the U.S., Geurike states, “European founders tend to think more about revenue early on. That can be an asset, but also somewhat limiting. However, given the greater impact you can have these days with modest or no funding, I think European entrepreneurs can break free of these constraints, and smart money will find them.”
In related news, LinkedIn doubled its revenue in 2011 with $522 million, though likewise became less profitable – This is due to the company nearly tripling its costs in regards to sales and marketing. The social network hired 531 sales and marketing people in 2011, a roughly 270% increase. Though, the expansion effort is working – the platform presently has about 161 million users.