Former Uber exec Palaniappan joins growing OMERS Ventures Europe operation

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Former Uber exec Jambu Palaniappan has joined the venture capital arm of Canadian pension giant OMERS as managing partner in London.

The appointment marks the end of a busy year for OMERS Ventures, in which it launched its new €300m European fund and London office, hired ex-Balderton investor Harry Briggs and Turo founder Tara Reeves, and injected more than €76m into the European technology ecosystem.

Palaniappan joined Uber in 2012 when it was a 75-person startup focused primarily on the US market, leading its expansion throughout the EMEA region and India over the next 18 months before becoming regional general manager for Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa. He subsequently headed up Uber Eats in EMEA from its inception.

Most recently, he spent the past 12 months as Executive-in-Residence at the London-based venture capital firm Atomico.

Omers Europe is targeting deals of between €5m and €10m per round, in Series A and B investments.

Target investment areas include fintech, proptech, insurtech, and healthtech, as well as deeptech, smart cities, and the future of work.

Its investments in Europe to date include WeFox, Resi, FirstVet, and Quorso.

Palaniappan said, “OMERS Ventures’ enviable track record, high-quality team, and commitment to the European tech startup ecosystem made this an extremely exciting opportunity.

“Since embarking on its European journey earlier this year, it has already backed some very promising companies.

“Europe is increasingly fostering companies with the ambition and disruptive potential to become global successes.”

He has also been an angel investor, backing startups from a wide variety of sectors across the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

OMERS Ventures managing partner and head of ventures Damian Steel noted the strategic significance of Palaniappan’s arrival, highlighting a recent report by Diversity VC which showed the UK venture capital community’s lack of operational experience within technology startups.

He said, “The scope of venture capital has broadened considerably in recent years, and investors need to add value in so many more ways than just signing cheques.

“But with less than 10 per cent of UK VCs having operational experience within a startup, it is clear that investor profiles have been slow to evolve to match these new demands.

“That’s why we’re so excited to welcome Jambu to our team – having overseen the Uber Eats business in EMEA and run the Uber business across a number of markets, he is perfectly placed to ensure OMERS Ventures offers the right support to the startups we back at every stage of their growth journeys.”

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