2021 has seen the market rebound strongly from the pandemic related issues of last year.
The European technology industry has deployed more than $100bn of venture capital this year, trebling the amount invested in 2020. In the first nine months of 2021 there were 68 rounds of $100m in the UK alone.
During this year the number of European unicorns has grown from 223 to 321 with Atomico reporting “the strongest ever pipeline of early-stage start-ups”.
One of the challenges of such a vibrant ecosystem is access to talent and we are happy to report that at Renaissance we have completed over 100 successful assignments this year, working across Europe.
We have had a record year building leadership teams for some of Europe’s most celebrated unicorns, and we have also been working directly with several leading VCs to help build their portfolio services offering.
Below are some examples of the work we have completed across our four main Practice areas.
Once again, we would like to thank our clients, candidates and investors for working with us this year and send best wishes to everyone for 2022.
These really are the best of times for European Tech!
People & Culture
Group Chief People Officer
In May Cazoo appointed Veronica Sharma as the company’s first Group Chief People Officer. Veronica most recently worked as an advisor in the technology and private equity space. Prior to that, Veronica was Group Chief People Officer at Photobox & Moonpig Group where she led a large-scale cultural transformation across Europe. She has been instrumental in pioneering progressive people solutions, demonstrated through her responsibility for Talent & Organisation Development at eBay and leading the change programme in support of the landmark Heathrow Terminal 5 opening.
Veronica joins Cazoo Executive team and reports directly to Founder & CEO, Alex Chesterman OBE and is responsible for all leadership, culture, capability and talent management across the group.
Alex Chesterman, Founder & CEO of Cazoo said, “I am very pleased to welcome Veronica to the Cazoo team. Her experience in transforming working practices in large organisations, driving diversity and instilling high-performance cultures will be invaluable as we continue to grow and deliver on our mission of providing the best car buying experience for consumers across the UK and Europe.”
For more information, please visit www.cazoo.co.uk
Founded in 2019 by former Etsy executives and serial entrepreneurs, Nicolas Cohen, Nicolas D’Audiffret, Mathieu Alengrin and Pierre-Louis Lacoste, Ankorstore is a curated marketplace that connects independent brands with local retailers. The company raised USD100 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global and Bain Capital Ventures. Propelled by strong growth, and just months after its successful Series A fundraise, this round welcomes new investors alongside participation from existing investors Index Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Alven, and Aglaé. The company plans to use the funds to grow its base of 5,000 brands and 50,000 independent retailers across Europe and support them through reopening.
Johann joins Ankorstore as their first VP of People. He joins Ankorstore from Heartland Labs and Ioniq Group – a collection of seed and start-up stage tech and digital health businesses headquartered in Berlin, where he was responsible for supporting the portfolio with HR strategy and Talent Acquisition. Johann has an authentic high quality HR background gained first in the aviation industry and then with L’Oreal.
For more information, please visit www.ankorstore.com
CluedIn, the data management start-up backed by Dawn Capital, have appointed Natalie White as their first VP People as the company starts to accelerate their early growth. Natalie takes responsibility for the company People strategy and employee experience and showcases CluedIn’s intent to prioritise the People & Culture side of the business as they start to scale.
Natalie brings previous growth tech experience to this role having worked for the likes of Global Web Index and Contino. She started her HR career in recruitment, then joined the marketing platform business GWI in 2016 where she first led Talent, before broadening to the wider People leadership role.
Earlier this year CluedIn announced the closure of a $15m Series A funding round led by Dawn Capital which is being used to build out the platform, expand the sales & marketing capability, hire key leadership members and drive partnerships and expansion, particularly in the US. The company is regularly cited in Gartner analyst reports and was named a Cool Vendor for Data Management in 2020.
For more information, please visit www.cluedin.com
Enterprise – Go-To-Market
Chief Revenue Officer
Founded in Copenhagen little more than five years ago, Pleo is on a mission to revolutionise spend management. Pleo’s solutions empower employees to manage their own expenses with no more expense reports and no more out-of-pocket spending. Pleo is at an exciting inflection point with a talented team of c.300 people, 15,000 happy customers and $228m of funding from leading VCs including Thrive Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Creandum, Stripes and Kinnevik.
Arun Mani has been appointed as Chief Revenue Officer to manage Pleo’s unprecedented rate of growth over the coming years. As CRO, Arun will be responsible for all revenue facing operations across sales, customer experience, marketing and partnerships, which is a substantial and diverse international team. Prior to joining Pleo, Arun was President Europe at Freshworks where he launched the EMEA business and built a team of 150+ people from scratch. Earlier in his career, Arun ran global sales at AppNexus and prior to that he spent four years as a go-to-market specialist with McKinsey based in New York.
For more information, please visit www.pleo.io
VP Sales EMEA
Founded in 2015 and headquartered in New York, Cockroach Labs is a computer software company that is looking to disrupt the $80bn global database market. Cockroach Labs is the creator of CockroachDB a highly evolved cloud-native, distributed SQL database. Fuelling their growth is their three-pronged approach of open source, cloud and on-prem products.
The company has been through five rounds of funding and completed their Series E funding of $160m in January 2021 at a valuation of $2bn. Altimeter Capital and Bond co-led this round, with participation from new investors Greenoaks and Lone Pine, plus the existing syndicate of Benchmark, GV, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Capital and FirstMark Capital. This funding came on top of a $86m Series D funding in May 2020 and brings the total raised to $355m.
Gareth joins to provide the sales leadership for Cockroach’s expansion in EMEA, to drive significant growth and profitability in the region. Gareth spent his previous years running EMEA sales for prominent SaaS organisations Sumo Logic and Delphix.
For more information, please visit www.cockroachlabs.com
Alpega the global leader in cloud-based Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and freight exchanges appointed Anton Hofmeier as CRO. By streamlining transportation sourcing, planning, execution, settlement and analytics, Alpega's TMS solutions transform local and global supply chains into collaborative ecosystems - bringing transparency and efficiency to all partners involved. Alpega’s user community of 80,000+ carriers and shippers and 200,000+ members are present in 80 countries. Alpega is owned by Castik Capital, a €1.25bn private equity fund, headquartered in Munich.
Renaissance are delighted to announce the placement of Anton Hofmeier as Chief Revenue Officer at Alpega. Anton joins Alpega from Thinkproject where, in the space of three and a half years, Anton doubled their top line revenue, with significant increase of the SaaS revenue, established a true enterprise sales organisation and developed entirely a robust partner/reseller program. Anton was also a key member of the executive team that led the sales of Thinkproject to EQT in December 2020.
For more information, please visit www.alpegagroup.com
In May we were delighted to announce the appointment of Yuval Elshtein as CTO at Space NK. Space NK is the UK Headquartered curator of highly innovative, boundary-pushing beauty brands and a go-to destination for worldwide beauty discovery.
Space NK was founded in 1991 by Nicky Kinnaird and has grown from a single store in Covent Garden to a portfolio of 72 UK stores and 29 in the US. It now forms part of Manzanita Capital, a private equity business backed by the Fisher family (Gap founders) with extensive retail pedigree. Space NK is recognised as a business that combines outstanding customer experience with an unparalleled range of luxury health and beauty products.
Yuval has a strong retail ecommerce background featuring Amazon, Argos and most recently his role as Director of Engineering: Digital at health and wellness brand Holland & Barrett, where he successfully led the drive towards digital, leading to a significant growth in online sales. Space NK will mark his first tenure as CTO.
For more information, please visit www.spacenk.com
Finematter is a fashion-tech start-up on a mission to digitalize the €300bn+ jewellery market, one of the last remaining analogue industries in the global retail landscape. Finematter are building a modular end-to-end technology platform, to connect makers with buyers across the globe and change the way this market operates today.
With offices in London and Copenhagen, Finematter has its roots in Scandinavian design with a global outlook. Founded and launched by Caroline Chalmer and Mie Ejdrup, alumni from the Copenhagen Business School and previously with highly successful careers at McKinsey and Bain Consulting respectively, Finematter has recently taken funding from leading VCs and Angel investors including Heartcore Capital, one of the leading consumer-focused VCs in Europe and Redrice Ventures, alongside a number of high-profile private investors.
Having developed his core engineering skills during the rapid growth stages at Just Eat, Dave explored the B2B market with payments platform provider Paddle as VP Engineering, before moving back into the B2C world as VP Engineering at health and fitness business Hussle.
Co-Founder and CEO Caroline Chalmer commented “Dave comes with a wealth of marketplace experience from Just Eat, Takeaway.com, Paddle, Hussle Official and we’ve been so impressed with him throughout the interview process. Perhaps more importantly, we knew we’d enjoy working together and having fun building a market-leading business.”
For more information, please visit www.finematter.com
Chief Product Officer
Railsbank, the Banking-as-a-Platform innovator and embedded finance provider, has appointed Stuart Gregory, previously Managing Director of Wise Business and Wise Platform (formerly known as Transferwise).
At Wise Stuart built, launched and scaled the business propositions and says at the time of its float, the two divisions represented 20 per cent of the firm's business. He hired and led the business product and sales teams, as well as supporting other areas including customer support and product risk.
He joins to lead their product, engineering and partnerships as Railsbank gears up for global growth of its embedded finance plans.
Nigel Verdon, Co-Founder and CEO of Railsbank, said of Gregory: “We value his insights, knowledge and experience of scaling a business which will be of benefit to both our customers and the Railsbank team. Railsbank continues to rapidly expand and Stuart will play a leading role in our future ambitions.”
For more information, please visit www.railsbank.com
Digital Director for Europe
Dasha will be headquartered in London and will report to the company’s new European CEO, Emmanuel Stern. Melyushkina’s appointment is part of a larger expansion plan as the company sets its sights on increasing the scale of both its European and Chinese businesses. With North America and Japan already being robust markets for Theory, Europe is one of their next big targets.
Dasha will be responsible for driving ambitious online sales growth by delivering a customer-focused, brand-appropriate and best in class online shopping experience for Theory customers in Europe.
Dasha brings extensive experience in digital eCommerce and multi-channel retail having held senior digital roles with the likes of M&S, Debenhams and most recently at luxury cosmetics brand By Terry; where she built their entire digital capability from scratch as the company’s first digital hire.
Originally founded by former Calvin Klein executive Andrew Rosen in 1997, Theory is now part of the Japanese multi-billion dollar ‘Fast Retailing Group’, a global operator of multiple fashion brands including Uniqlo, JBrand, Helmut Lang and Comptoir des Cotonniers.
For more information, please visit www.uk.theory.com
Chief Commercial Officer
Adzuna, the smarter job search engine, appointed Kit Glover as Chief Commercial Officer to help drive the business through its next phase of growth.
Kit was most recently UK Managing Director at Coople, one of Europe’s largest on-demand staffing platforms, where he re-focused the commercial strategy and helped to professionalise the sales and operations functions leading to rapid growth. Prior to Coople, Kit spent six years at eBay working closely with its seller community in his role as Senior Director. His career also includes tenures as a start-up Founder, a VC Associate, and a Consultant, as well as having an MBA from INSEAD.
Founded in London in 2011, Adzuna now operates across 16 markets internationally, helping tens of millions of job seekers to access more than 12 million jobs each month. Their engine gives job seekers access to almost every available online job listing in a single site so they can cut through the noise, zero in on the right role faster and land the right job.
For more information, please visit www.adzuna.com
Independent Non-Executive Director
Eve Sleep, the AIM listed direct to consumer sleep wellness brand operating in the UK, Ireland and France announced that Masood Choudhry has joined the Board in the role of Independent Non-Executive Director. Masood also joins eve’s Audit Committee as Chairman.
Masood brings with him a wealth of supply chain expertise, having worked for many of Europe’s largest and most prestigious digital and multi-channel retailers, in a career spanning over 20 years. For the last four years he was Vice President of Logistics at Zalando, Europe’s biggest online fashion retailer, with responsibility for managing their supply chain. Prior to this Masood spent time at various other leading direct to consumer businesses including World Stores, where he held the position of Chief Operating Officer and ASOS for six years, where he was Director of Supply Chain Development, overseeing a period of rapid global growth.
Cheryl Calverley, CEO of eve sleep commented: “This is a great appointment to our Board. Masood has been at the forefront of the transition to ecommerce for over a decade with many of Europe’s largest and most prestigious online retailers. His expertise and insights will be invaluable as we transition from focusing on restructuring to driving balanced and sustainable growth, initially across our three existing markets. With an increasingly strong executive and non-executive Board, an award winning and growing product range and a healthy balance sheet, eve is well placed to seize the yet untapped opportunity to build a meaningful sleep wellness brand.”
For more information, please visit www.evesleep.co.uk
Renaissance is a leading Executive Search and Leadership firm based in London and Silicon Valley, specialising in the Digital and Enterprise Technology sectors.
For nearly 20 years we have been building Board and Leadership teams for some of the most exciting start-ups and fast growth companies, mostly VC or Private Equity backed. We also work with leading corporate organisations in the technology sector, and those undergoing rapid technology or digital transformation.