Highland Goes Euro

Highland Capital Partners is opening up shop in Europe, to compete with fellow venture firms like Accel Partners, Atlas Venture, Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures.

Its office will be based in Geneva, Switzerland — with general partner Fergal Mullen to formally relocate at the end of July. He will initially be joined by new senior associate Irena Goldenberg, with plans to continue staffing up over the next several years (including a few new partners).

I spoke with Mullen earlier this morning, and he said that this plan has been in place ever since he joined five years ago from RSA Ventures. “The idea was not just to plant a flag, but rather to get pulled back to Europe by deals,” he explained, citing VistaPrint, PhotoBox (f.k.a. Photoways) and Innovative Silicon as examples of such transactions.

The Geneva office represents Highland’s first geographic expansion outside of the United States. The Lexington, Mass.-based firm currently has satellite offices in both Menlo Park, Calif. and Bethesda, Maryland.