Today I’m joining Next World Capital as their newest investing Partner. I couldn’t be more excited about the team at Next World Capital and their unique European expansion platform that helps enterprise companies grow. At Andreessen Horowitz, I saw firsthand the impact of a services-focused venture capital model, which has been instrumental in helping early stage enterprise companies enter the U.S. market. Next World Capital invests in the best U.S. entrepreneurs and has built a similar platform to help high-growth, expansion stage companies scale into Europe, typically their next largest market opportunity. It’s a unique strategy and differentiated platform that I found incredibly compelling, and I’m excited by this opportunity to not only build the portfolio, but also extend the platform itself.
Next World Capital’s expansion stage focus fits well with my 15-year career in Silicon Valley. I’ve been fortunate to be part of some of the best organizations in the industry – from my first job as an engineer at Silicon Graphics, to leading Sales and Operations teams in Sheryl Sandberg’s group at Google, and more recently as Director of Product at the enterprise SaaS company Wildfire (which was acquired by Google). Through these experiences, I’ve found that I’ve made the greatest impact as a bridge between early stage product development and the growth stage of the business. Doing this well has required not only understanding the product opportunities and liabilities at a deep level, but also how to shape sales, marketing, and business development to get the most juice out of the product you’ve got. During the high-growth stage is when I’ve served as the voice to bridge the cultural gap between the product development and the go-to-market teams. It’s at this juncture when the battle for market supremacy can be won or lost. It’s also the time when Next World Capital invests, and when I can apply my operational experience to best help the companies I’m supporting
I’ve also witnessed firsthand the importance and inherent challenges of an international strategy. At Wildfire, our first move after raising Series B funding was to expand into Europe, and I worked with our teams in London and across the continent to internationalize not just our SaaS social marketing solution, but also our go-to-market strategy. At Autodesk, I built an enterprise software platform to power location services and worked closely with our sales, marketing, and business development teams to sell into wireless carriers across Europe. I’ve also helped build global teams inside of Google to scale the AdWords and YouTube businesses during their most intense growth years.
From my first engagement with the Next World Capital team I was impressed with their deep sector knowledge, rigorous approach to understanding markets and products, and proven experience working with high growth companies. They work hard for their founders not just in board meetings, but just as important in between them. Everyone I’ve talked with couldn’t say enough good things about them. With Next World Capital, I saw a team committed to building a firm with the best culture in the business – in how they engage with entrepreneurs, local communities in the U.S. and Europe, and with each other. I also look forward to collaborating closely with my former Andreessen Horowitz colleagues as an alum of the firm.
At Next World Capital, I will continue to focus on enterprise applications and the Internet of Things, complementing the team’s existing focus on software, internet, and mobility. I’ll be writing about these themes and more on my blog at www.tomrikert.com and on Twitter @tomrikert.