Octopus Investments hires former Google exec Debu Purkayastha to venture team


UK fund manager Octopus Investments has hired Debu Purkayastha as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

He joins Octopus following six years at Google, where he held senior roles globally in its M&A, investments and new business development teams.

In his role, Debu will work with the team at Octopus to identify new investment opportunities and support the entrepreneurs and management teams in the portfolio to help them develop and realise the full growth potential of their businesses.

Purkayastha has over 20 years of experience and has worked internationally across three different continents. At Google, initially as principal of corporate development, he spearheaded its global M&A and investment efforts with transformative acquisitions such as ITA Software, Phonetic Arts, Green Parrot Pictures, Gizmo5 etc. Purkayastha then went on to become Principal of New Business Development, with a wide mandate spanning the range of Google’s product portfolio globally.

Purkayastha is also a founding member of Google Campus, a co-working space for start-ups based in Tech City in London. Prior to Google, Debu led the M&A team at Sabre in EMEA building on his previous experience as an M&A banker with Salomon Smith Barney, part of Citigroup, in the US and London.

Alex Macpherson, head of the ventures team at Octopus, said, “We are delighted to welcome Debu to the team. A popular face in the startup community, anyone who has seen Debu speak at an event will have been impressed by his vast experience and knowledge. He has a unique set of operating and deal skills spanning both US and Europe and it is great that he is going to be sharing this experience with our portfolio companies. From advising startups on working with large corporations, to helping sharpen business strategy, both organic and inorganic, Debu will be a great asset to Octopus and our portfolio companies.”

Purkayastha added, “The European startup ecosystem has matured a great deal in the last five to six years. Not only have we seen the entrepreneurial community expand and evolve, but we have also seen a sea change in the attitudes of investors. Support is no longer just financial and the team at Octopus have a really exciting hands on approach to investing and partnering with the teams they back coupled with the willingness and financial ability to invest ambitiously. I look forward to working with the team and portfolio companies at Octopus to help build and grow exceptional global businesses – and hopefully see the next Google emerge from Europe.”

Founded in 2000, Octopus manages more than £3bn of assets on behalf of 50,000 private investors. The ventures team invests from £250,000 to £5m per deal, with sample investments including Zoopla Property Group, graze.com, SwiftKey, Secret Escapes and YPlan.

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