Q: Dan, please share a bit about your professional background. How did you land at WestCap?
A: I grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where I attended an international school and was immersed in an environment with people from all different cultures and backgrounds from a young age. That early experience shaped a curiosity about the world at large and the interconnectedness of regional companies and economies.
In 2011, I had the privilege of partnering with Laurence Tosi (L.T.) to set up Blackstone’s venture platform, BX Innovations. This was the firm’s first foray into venture & growth investing and required a different mental model than traditional buyouts. We had a few early successes and invested in companies like Carbon Black, Coupa, and Cylance.
Working with venture & growth stage companies and seeing the technological and societal change they were accelerating compelled me to move to Silicon Valley. After my MBA at Harvard Business School, I joined the Venture and Corporate Development team at Cisco, where I was able to tap into a network of countless engineers and product leaders to discuss and debate technology and business model innovations. After about 4 years in that role, I rejoined L.T. as WestCap’s first investment professional in San Francisco.
Q: Tell me more about WestCap. What sets the firm apart?
A: Similar to the companies we partner with, WestCap operates like a startup itself. An innovator with a new model that is challenging the status quo. This model is based on a true partnership with entrepreneurs where we provide far more than just capital and often makes us the partner of choice for companies.
In today’s world, capital is table stakes. What sets us apart is the team’s collective experience of having founded and led some of the world’s leading businesses. We’ve assembled the most talented people we’ve worked with throughout our careers and have a dedicated team of over 50 people, whose sole focus is to help our companies succeed.
We take on actual projects and hold ourselves accountable. We’ve helped our companies with their international expansion plans, built out their sales and go-to-market functions, done full brand redesigns, improved financial systems, reporting, and communications and managed IPO processes.
Our team led these types of activities at leading companies like Airbnb, Blackstone, and Ipreo and we want to make this collective experience available to the entrepreneurs we partner with.
Q: Can you share a bit about your investment strategy and areas of focus in Europe? What do you hope to accomplish?
A: Our goal in Europe is to become the investor of choice for growth companies looking for someone who can help them scale their businesses and navigate the complexities of creating a global enterprise. We see the remarkable talent across Europe, the UK, and Israel and are making a commitment to build a deeper presence in the region.
We are excited to work with creative and driven entrepreneurs to build companies that can compete and win globally. Great companies have a choice of whom they partner with. For us, it’s about building relationships over time, getting to know the founders and management teams, and sharing our thoughts and ideas on how we can work together to help them achieve their goals.
We target software and internet companies with demonstrated early product-market fit, where we can help accelerate the commercialization engine.
Q: What companies is WestCap working with in Europe?
A: We’ve been fortunate to partner with great entrepreneurs in the region. For example, Boaz Yaari and Liad Amit at Sharegain are taking securities lending, which is a massive industry but not well understood outside of the capital markets, and making its benefits available to every consumer and financial institution in the world.
We’ve worked with our EMEA-based portfolio companies across a number of initiatives. We’ve helped them recruit executive talent and put together systematic hiring plans. We’ve partnered on creating international market expansion plans, brand refreshes and marketing campaigns.
Q: Tell us about your latest deal. How did that come to fruition and what’s next?
A: We recently announced that we’re leading the Series C round of AccessFintech and couldn’t be more enthusiastic for the opportunity to work with co-founders Roy Saadon and Steve Fazio and the entire team. They are pursuing a big vision of simplifying workflows in the capital markets by creating a unified data network across the ecosystem. There was an immediate chemistry between both sides, which, I’d say, was driven by a shared recognition of the size of the problem and the impact that AccessFintech’s solution can bring to the industry.
We’ll be closely working with the team and are looking forward to sharing our experience and resources to help them accomplish their vision.