Debu Purkayastha joins Octopus as entrepreneur in residence

Octopus Investments has appointed Debu Purkayastha to its Ventures team as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Purkayastha joins Octopus following six years at Google, where he held senior roles globally in its M&A, investments and new business development teams.


Octopus Investments, one of the UK’s fastest growing fund management companies, today announced that Debu Purkayastha has joined its Ventures team as Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Debu joins Octopus following six years at Google, where he held senior roles globally in its M&A, Investments and New Business Development teams.

In his role as Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Debu will be working with the team at Octopus to identify new investment opportunities and support the entrepreneurs and management teams in the portfolio to help them develop and realise the full growth potential of their businesses.

Debu has over 20 years of experience and has worked internationally across three different continents. At Google, initially as Principal of Corporate Development, Debu spearheaded its global M&A and investment efforts with transformative acquisitions such as ITA Software, Phonetic Arts, Green Parrot Pictures, Gizmo5 etc. Debu then went on to become Principal of New Business Development, with a wide mandate spanning the range of Google’s product portfolio globally – for example, he was closely involved with Google’s Travel and Finance search products since their inception.

Debu is also a founding member of Google Campus, a co-working space for start-ups based in Tech City in London. Prior to Google, Debu led the M&A team at Sabre in EMEA building on his previous experience as an M&A banker with Salomon Smith Barney, part of Citigroup, in the US and London.

Alex Macpherson, head of the Ventures team at Octopus, said of the appointment: “We are delighted to welcome Debu to the team. A popular face in the startup community, anyone who has seen Debu speak at an event will have been impressed by his vast experience and knowledge. He has a unique set of operating and deal skills spanning both US and Europe and it is great that he is going to be sharing this experience with our portfolio companies. From advising startups on working with large corporations, to helping sharpen business strategy (both organic and inorganic), Debu will be a great asset to Octopus and our portfolio companies.”

Debu Purkayastha said: “The European startup ecosystem has matured a great deal in the last five to six years. Not only have we seen the entrepreneurial community expand and evolve, but we have also seen a sea change in the attitudes of investors. Support is no longer just financial and the team at Octopus have a really exciting hands on approach to investing and partnering with the teams they back coupled with the willingness and financial ability to invest ambitiously. I look forward to working with the team and portfolio companies at Octopus to help build and grow exceptional global businesses – and hopefully see the next Google emerge from Europe.”

Debu and Alex both recently sat on the panel for the FinTech 50 2014, which recognises the “hottest” businesses that look to redefine the future of financial services based on their potential for innovation and turnover. The panel was made up of industry leaders from across the FinTech sector.

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Notes for editors

About Octopus Investments
Octopus Investments is one of the UK’s fastest growing retail fund management companies. Founded in 2000, Octopus manages more than £3 billion of assets on behalf of 50,000 investors.

The Ventures team at Octopus are straight talking investors that back talented people rather than specific sectors. We focus on identifying fast growth businesses which can scale explosively to create, transform or dominate an industry. We can invest from £250,000 to £5 million and prefer to partner teams based in the UK.

The work of our Ventures team is supported by access to the Octopus Venture Partners, a network of approximately 100 outstanding business leaders, entrepreneurs and private investors providing an invaluable wealth of expertise and resource for our portfolio companies, as well as investing on a deal-by-deal basis alongside Octopus venture funds. This blend of knowledge and skill has allowed us to help many great companies across several sectors thrive in recent years, including: Zoopla Property Group;; SwiftKey; Secret Escapes and YPlan.