Marketplaces, Consumer Services, SaaS, BitCoin, Finance, Education
In the News
DLD - Bitcoin, Blockchain, whats the buzz?
Gruenderszene - $7M for Clue
New York Times - Europe's next generation of Venture Capital Funds
CNBC - EU Fintech rules a boon on start-ups
My name is Simon Levene and I am a co-founder and partner at Mosaic Ventures.
I was born in London to a family of second/third generation immigrant-entrepreneurs – folks who came to the UK in some instances as refugees and on whose shoulders I stand.
Aged 21, I moved to the US for grad school (politics, philosophy), just as the web was emerging, and stayed for over a decade. As an early adopter, in 1993 I downloaded Netscape’s Mosaic, the first browser, and began surfing the web with a 14.4k modem. It was an epiphany. After another stint at grad school earning an MBA, I headed west to Silicon Valley, the epicentre of the Internet ecosystem.
From 1996-2000, I was an early employee at @Home Network, a startup founded in 1995 to pioneer the broadband Internet we take for granted today. Together with John O’Farrell (now also a VC), I co-founded @Home’s international business and then jointly led bus dev/corp dev for the international division. In four years this ramped to $70M revenue and 500 employees in 10 countries (as a whole, the company grew to 4,000 employees). @Home was one of the poster children of the first Internet wave, and flew high post-IPO before crashing due to a byzantine corporate ownership structure and an ill-fated merger with Excite. Lots of invaluable experience from those years, including working alongside a handpicked team of engineers and product managers/operators to scale a leading ISP service so rapidly.
My friend and Mosaic partner Toby Coppel, together with Jeff Weiner and Jerry Yang, recruited me to Yahoo! in 2001-2, where I spent four years as VP Corp Dev in a small team that came together following the dotcom crash. Yahoo! was then the #1 website globally with ~200M users, almost breaking even on $700M revenue, and a nice cash pile. Corp dev were empowered by the board to help devise a new strategy for the company -- to evaluate every web product/service in every geography -- and determine whether to enter as a principal; and if yes, to build or buy. Yahoo! was a great platform from which to enter the nascent search and mobile businesses, and double down on shopping, travel, finance, geo/maps, voice, photos, games and many other emerging web “verticals”. It was intellectually fascinating to work alongside a deep bench of world-class talent across such wide-ranging consumer-facing applications, and deliver product to the web’s biggest audience.
As a result of these operating experiences at Silicon Valley darlings (that both arguably never realized their full potential), twice-over I am a member of a fantastic diaspora of alumni, represented at many exciting startups today. A huge positive from the creative destruction inherent in our space.
I joined the venture community in 2006 and was a partner at Accel London - a fortunate apprenticeship. Accel was a great platform to forge strong relationships with many entrepreneurs and fellow investors, and investments I led there included Etsy, Knewton, Seeking Alpha, and MyHeritage. Since 2010, in preparation for starting Mosaic, I have been investing in the European (and US) startup ecosystems with my own capital, often alongside my good friends at Index Ventures -- where for a time I had a desk and was affiliated as a Venture Partner. Notable investments in this period include ResearchGate, Number Four, Shapeways, Squarespace, and Appcard (all Series A); as well as Fotolia and Etsy (at growth stage).
I am delighted to be starting Mosaic with two of my closest friends. Outside the startup world, I live with my Danish girlfriend and enjoy reading, yoga and nature.