Icon Ventures opens Dublin base to scout European investments

13 Apr 2021

Image: © David Soanes/Stock.adobe.com

General partner Michael Mullany is returning to Ireland to lead the Silicon Valley VC firm’s new efforts in Europe.

US venture capital firm Icon Ventures is opening a Dublin office as a base to scout out more deals in Europe.

The Silicon Valley VC invests in later-stage start-ups, usually at the Series B and C rounds, and will be looking to co-invest in European deals.

Irishman Michael Mullany, general partner at Icon, has returned to the country to lead the European efforts from the Dublin office. He joined the firm in 2014 and has led some of its most notable investments such as the backing of Datrium, which was acquired by VMware last year.

“Europe has established itself as a market with exceptional talent and the innovative products needed to create great companies,” Mullany said.

“With the emergence of category leaders like Stripe, Spotify, UiPath and others, we found ourselves increasingly looking to Europe for compelling investment opportunities consistent with our investment model.”

The firm has had a number of its investments move on to high-profile exits, particularly in the cybersecurity space with FireEye and Palo Alto Networks both going public.

It has more than $1.1bn in assets under management but its portfolio is US heavy. With its new Dublin office and its base in Tokyo, the firm is now looking at Europe and Asia in more detail. It follows in the footsteps of Sequoia Capital, another famed Silicon Valley firm, which touched down in London late last year to source investments in Europe.

“At Icon it has been a core belief that venture capital works best with relatively small, proven, deeply integrated teams,” Joe Horowitz, managing general partner at Icon, said.

“Fortunately, through the digital transformation accelerated by Covid and with today’s collaboration tools, we can widen our aperture geographically while still maintaining a tight-knit organisation focused on world-class entrepreneurs and extraordinary co-investors. It is a truly exciting time for our firm and for venture capital.”

As well as opening the Dublin office, the firm has launched an engineering talent programme in Toronto. The programme will help Icon’s portfolio companies to find and hire technical talent, seeking out engineers in Canada.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin