Index Ventures, the London and San Francisco-headquartered venture capital firm that primarily invests in Europe and the U.S., has recruited its latest investment partner.
Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, who is currently the COO of London-based fintech GoCardless and was previously the chief product officer of Skyscanner, is joining Index in January, TechCrunch can reveal.
For those not in the know, Gonzalez-Cadenas is a seasoned entrepreneur and operator, but has also become a prolific angel investor over the last three years — making more than 50 angel investments in Europe in total, I’m told. And while I can’t say I’m aware of every single one of those investments, it hasn’t gone unnoticed how often Gonzalez-Cadenas’ name seems to crop up on a European funding announcement or when I ask founders to list their earliest backers. The transition to a full-time role in venture capital, therefore, feels like it makes quite a lot of sense.
“I’ve been an angel investor for the last three years and this is something that has basically grown for me quite organically,” he tells TechCrunch. “I started doing just a handful and seeing if this is something I like and over time it has grown quite a lot and so has the number of entrepreneurs I’m partnered with. And this is something I’ve been increasingly more excited to do. So it has grown organically and something that emotionally has been getting closer and closer as time has passed”.
Related to this, Gonzalez-Cadenas describes himself as “quite a curious person” and says that investing gives him the opportunity to learn about lots of different sectors and different ways of building businesses. “That is something that I enjoy a lot,” he says.
At Index, partners work across both of its funds — venture and growth — and collaborate as one team straddling Europe and the U.S., which is something Gonzalez-Cadenas says attracted him to the firm. Partners also don’t strictly specialise, even if each one may have their own passion areas.
“At Index, all partners have a bit of a centre of gravity from their perspective, but I think we are still relatively broad,” he explains. “In terms of me, it’s something we’re still figuring out from our perspective, but I’m likely going to be more gravitating towards the software space, say SaaS plus enterprise plus a bit of deep tech, machine learning and artificial intelligence. That’s probably going to be my focus, and I’m primarily focused on Europe”.
In 2008, Gonzalez-Cadenas founded Fogg, a travel business which he sold to Skyscanner five years later. He then became Skyscanner’s chief product officer and helped drive its “five-fold growth,” international expansion and the development of its product offering.
Before stepping into the role of COO at GoCardless, he was the fintech’s CPO and CTO, working alongside founder Hiroki Takeuchi. During this time, GoCardless has grown into a 400-person scale-up, with significant international and product expansion.
Gonzalez-Cadenas says another thing that made him choose to join Index is that the firm isn’t afraid to invest early, including an increasing number of seed deals, even if those deals aren’t always disclosed at the time.
“I think Index is quite an entrepreneurial approach in terms of taking risk,” he says. “If you think about the percentage of companies that today are massive successes in Index’s portfolio — so, for example, Revolut, Robinhood, Deliveroo, Adyen, Figma. All these companies, Index invested really, really early in the seed round, or, you know, the A, but the vast majority of those were in the seed round. And this is something that I think is super exciting, because it aligns a lot with what I do. I’m more of a entrepreneurially minded person that wants to invest heavily in the journey of entrepreneurs and take fundamental bets, as opposed to just waiting until the numbers are perfect and invest then. That’s not the type of investing that I like”.