German investor and entrepreneur Max Niederhofer is leaving Accel Partners to take up a partner position at Sunstone Capital, where he will focus on early-stage technology investments in the Nordics and Germany.
Until recently, Niederhofer was VP at larger VC Accel Partners’ London office. “I had a great time,” he said today – but his role, as standard for that kind of position, wasn’t to lead investments. After successful personal investments in Last.fm and OneFineStay, “I want to know if I can do this professionally”, he explained.
Niederhofer’s personal investments – in addition to the companies named above – include Skimlinks, Boticca, Fliptop and Sofar Sounds. Before joining Accel, he founded and sold data marketing business Qwerly and spent time as a principal at US-headquartered Atlas Venture.
Born in Hamburg, he holds a doctorate in management science from WHU and was named “Best Startup Advisor/Mentor 2012” at last year’s The Europas in Berlin.
He considered setting up his own VC fund before taking the position at Sunstone but decided it would be too difficult as a first-timer. “It’s doable to raise a $20m fund but if you want to lead true Series A rounds for European startups, you really need $75-$120m.”
At Sunstone, Niederhofer will be based in Copenhagen and will focus on the Nordics and Germany, also with an eye on the UK and Central Europe. “We’re really aligned on where we want to build the firm,” he said.
“We are very excited to have Max join our team,” Sunstone Capital Managing Partner Jimmy Fussing Nielsen said in a statement. “As entrepreneurs ourselves, we are aggressively expanding Sunstone from our Nordic roots to all European markets.”
He confirmed for us that this definitely marks more of a focus on Germany for the firm, which raised its current $110m fund in December 2011. Sunstone recently backed Paymill in Germany; previous investments include Amen and Gidsy.
Accel Partners, meanwhile, raised a new $475m fund for Europe and Israel in March.
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