Accel London Gets Entrepreneurial Boost with Niederhofer Hire

Good news for Accel Partners’ London office. The venture capital firm has bagged Internet entrepreneur and angel investor Max Niederhofer as its vice president.

Niederhofer was latterly founder and CEO of his consumer data marketing business Qwerly which was acquired by Fliptop in late 2011. Prior to that he was an investment partner at Atlas Venture in London. He is also an angel investor in various Internet businesses such as Boticca, Last.fm, OneFineStay and Skimlinks.

Accel Partners has been going for a quarter of a century and so knows what the venture capital cycle looks like. And with European venture fundraising and investment figures on a downward spiral in 2011, Niederhofer’s hire is something of a silver lining for what has been a very grey and depressing European cloud.

London-based Accel partner Sonali de Rycker spoke to peHUB about the appointment. She and Niederhofer know each other from their time spent together at Atlas Venture. They only overlapped for a year (2007) but worked together on several projects including Moo Print, a pioneer in web-to-print technology and fan to fan ticket exchange Seatwave.

She says: “Max was a great fit because he has been an entrepreneur as well as an investor. It means that not only does he have some great instincts about interesting new products and markets but can also relate well to other entrepreneurs. It is helpful for us that he has lived in another VC environment as it means he has some of the needed pattern recognition – something that normally takes years to figure out in the venture business.”

When asked why Niederhofer would have chosen to return to a venture firm rather than setting up his own angel fund or launching another start-up, de Rycker says she thinks being part of one of the best venture platforms globally would have been the best way for him to have the fastest learning curve and to make the greatest impact. Accel has been an active early stage investor in many category leading companies such as Qliktech, Playfish, Wonga, MindCandy (of MoshiMonsters fame) and Kayak and later stage companies with further growth potential such as Spotify and Rovio (any Angry Birds fan should know this one).

She says: “Given the strength of the team and Accel’s portfolio Max felt this was the best place where he could continue his work in technology.

Accel London is currently investing from its third London-based fund which raised $530 million and started investing at the end of 2009.

Founded in 1983, Accel invests globally using dedicated teams for local geographies, with offices in Palo Alto, California, New York City, London and Bangalore, as well as in China via its partnership with IDG-Accel.

Accel-backed technology businesses include revolutionary names such as Facebook, Foundry Networks, Macromedia, PictureTel, Portal Software, RealNetworks, UUNet, Walmart.com, and others.

Accel currently has over $8 billion under management worldwide.