Onno van de Stolpe
CEO and Founder, Galapagos
Silicon Valley boasts a large community of angel investors, making it one of the best places in the world for founders to secure early funding and support. Ophelia Brown, the founder and partner of Blossom Capital, is working to build an angel-investing ecosystem on the same scale in Europe.
Brown and her team engage in "high-conviction investing," meaning they concentrate their time, money, and energy on a smaller number of companies than their competitors, and close only a handful of deals each year. They raised more than 240 million euros to fund their efforts in the year to January.
Brown wants to amplify that approach across Europe, equalizing founders' access to capital and expertise. She considers her mission to be more critical now than ever before, as she expects startups to drive the continent's economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
"Often the best ideas come in the wake of crisis and dislocation,” she says, highlighting the rise of Uber and Airbnb after the financial crisis. “We're extremely positive about what will come out of the continent and confident in European founders.”
Her latest initiative is partnering with executives from some of Europe's most successful startups including Klarna, Farfetch, and Spotify to launch Cultivate, an angel-investing program that will hand a total of $5 million to 20 startups hailing from across the continent starting in April.
Brown is extending the reach and maximizing the impact of angel investment in Europe, reshaping the industry as it stands today.