Konstantin Guericke knows a thing or two about Xing, the German version of LinkedIn. After all, as one of the founders of LinkedIn, Guericke had to study the business network's potential competitors. While Xing remains LinkedIn's biggest competitor in Germany, LinkedIn dominates elsewhere.
The reason? Xing focused on owning Germany before it ventured out to conquer the rest of the world, said Guericke. While some may feel that's a smart move - own your market first - Guericke thinks Xing could have been more competitive if it focused on the US market sooner.
It's this lesson Guericke hopes to convey to Earlybird portfolio companies. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Guericke, who as of Wednesday became the fifth partner at the Berlin-based VC, is hoping to encourage this message of thinking global.
"For the longest time in Germany [the mindset is] we'll start there and expand to the rest of Europe," said Guericke. "That's not a good likely recipe if you want to succeed in the US. You need to start where there's a big market where people are ready to adopt... Our companies need to take bigger risks in the US."
Guericke, who likes taking meetings on the hiking trail, will be working off of Earlybird's Fund V, which is $200 million and focuses primarily on Series A deals and companies based in Europe, mainly Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The venture firm also focuses on broad tech from consumer Internet, mobile, analytics to mobile. So far 11 companies have been invested in out of that fund. We wrote about this fund when it first hit $100M in 2012. The full round closed last year.
Among some of the companies invested in are Wunderlist, a mobile list management tool, Onefootball, an app for soccer fans to get real-time news) and RapidMiner, a provider of data analytics, and Eyeem, a digital photo marketplace.
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