Venture capitalist Sarah Cannon will build out Coatue’s London office as the firm makes European tech startups an increasing priority.
Investment giant Coatue has established its anticipated foothold into Europe’s startup scene—and it’s tapped veteran venture capital Sarah Cannon to lead the charge.
Cannon has joined Coatue as a general partner, the company says, as the first investor to work out of the firm’s new office in London. Cannon, who until recently worked at venture firm Index Ventures, has already moved from the U.S. and will start in the next several months, with a mandate to invest in local startups at both the early and growth stages.
An investor known for involvement with companies such as work collaboration software businesses Notion and Slack, Cannon’s surprise departure from Index was first reported in January by Insider. Her plan at the time was to start something new, potentially her own fund. Instead, Coatue pounced in recent weeks.
“I realized that I could do something quite entrepreneurial and help [Coatue] expand into Europe,” Cannon tells Forbes. Coatue, she says, is approaching its European expansion with a similar spirit: “So it’s the best of all worlds.”
The breadth and depth of Europe’s developing startup ecosystems appealed to Cannon, she says, particularly in areas of particular interest to her, including climate tech, crypto and enterprise software. “I really hope and expect that the next Google will be born in Europe,” she says.
Silicon Valley might dispute such a claim, but Cannon knows some of what she speaks. Before joining Index in June 2018, she worked at the growth equity arm of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, where she spent four years working on investments including Looker, the business intelligence company Google later acquired for $2.6 billion.
At Index, she led investments in companies including work-messaging app Quill, engineering startup Grid AI and app-building tools maker Instabase. She also served as a board observer at Slack on behalf of the firm. It was through another notable investment she made on behalf of Index, in Notion, that Cannon got to know Coatue firsthand. After Cannon led Notion’s funding round in April 2020 at a $2 billion valuation, Coatue general partner Caryn Marooney co-led the next one, which valued the company at $10 billion, last October.
Coatue, meanwhile, was known to be in the market. The investment manager cofounded by Thomas and Philippe Laffont manages tens of billions in assets and offices in New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Its interest in hiring a partner to build out a London foothold was reported by Bloomberg in October. Under chairman Dan Rose (like Marooney, a prominent former Facebook executive), Coatue’s startup investing arm led or co-led a handful of funding rounds in European unicorns in 2021, including Gorillas, remote hiring company Deel, digital bank N26 and health insurance startup Alan, among others.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Sarah to Coatue as general partner and head of European venture and growth investments,” Thomas Laffont said in a statement. “Sarah’s record of identifying trends and opportunities in tech and developing meaningful partnerships with early- and growth-stage founders sets her apart. We share her ambitions for what is possible in Europe.”
Cannon’s hiring comes as part of a broader shift by tech’s power-broker investors to set up shop away from Silicon Valley. In December 2019, Forbes revealed a flurry of activity by U.S. firms in London and across Europe. While the spread of Covid-19 shut down offices and slowed that momentum, Sequoia went ahead and opened its first Europe office the following year. And others have continued to make the jump across the pond ahead of Cannon, such as former IVP partner Alex Lim, who joined Blossom Capital last summer.
Heightened venture capital competition in Europe and attention from U.S. peers doesn’t concern Cannon, who says the “growing pie” will have plenty of use for Coatue, which can back startups from early stages through to public-company status, while providing other resources like access to its data science teams.
Coatue’s new ambassador to Europe hasn’t started yet. But expect the firm to make more hires in London—and look to invest in some of Europe’s tech unicorns a bit earlier than it has historically—once she’s on the clock. Cannon admits she needs to find herself a permanent flat to live in first.


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