Venture capital firm Sequoia famously once only backed startups within bicycle distance of its Silicon Vally offices. Now the firm's investing heavily in its European presence.
The two continents enjoyed more venture capital investment into their local startups than in some time, underscoring that strong VC results the U.S. saw in the third quarter were not a fluke, but part of a broader trend.
The episode underlines how some publicly-backed venture firms are stepping up to keep seed money flowing to infant companies in former communist countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary as private investors retreat from the region's nascent startup scene.
Pascal Cagni, who was head of Apple in Europe from 2000 to 2012, said the fund will be used to back entrepreneurs who prove they can survive and excel in the age of the coronavirus.
The start of the pandemic in China resulted in a private investment crisis in that country, as January and February saw a 50-percent drop in venture capital investing in China compared to the rest of the world. Now the investment freeze is moving across Europe and the United States.
At least eight European hedge funds are launching portfolios betting on a recovery in corporate debt and emerging markets after the coronavirus pandemic triggered the biggest market rout in a generation.
European funds will be challenged in the coming months as corporates will be skittish in funding their existing commitments and families and individuals have to put themselves first in managing their own cashflows and this will most certainly lead to lowered valuations and fewer term sheets.
As the COVID-19 outbreak and the seeming failure of governments in the key economies of the U.S., U.K., and Europe to check its spread roil markets globally, some private investors are already scoping out hidden opportunities.
With the UK in such a dominant position, it'll be interesting to see whether Brexit will have a material impact on venture capital activity in the year ahead.