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It’s holiday season in Europe and venture capitalists are carefully planning which books they want to get through while they’re away from the office.
We asked the partners and principals backing the tech giants of tomorrow what’s on their reading list and where they’re headed this summer.
Unsurprisingly, there’s clearly plenty of business books on the average VC’s bookshelf, but there’s also a few novels and the odd children's book here and there too (shout out to Seedcamp’s Reshma Sohoni, a mother of two, who’s currently working her way through Peppa Pig).
Ophelia Brown, founder and partner of Blossom Capital
Ophelia Brown, is a partner at Blossom Capital, which launched earlier this year with an $85 million fund. Before setting up her own fund, Brown worked at Index Ventures and LocalGlobe where she invested in companies like talent software firm Beamery and share trading app Robinhood. Brown was named by Forbes as a rising star in the inaugural Europe 30 Under 30 list.
Destination: Croatia (sailing)
Reading list: The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates; Becoming by Michelle Obama; I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai.
Harry Briggs, managing partner at Omers Ventures
Harry Briggs is managing partner at Omers Ventures, which has invested in companies like Web browser DuckDuckGo and social media platform HootSuite. Previously at BGF Ventures, Briggs has also invested in ecommerce site The Hut Group, fintech firm Revolut and invoicing service GoCardless.
Destination: Cornwall, U.K.
Reading list: Seveneves by Neal Stevenson; Surveillance Capitalism by Shoshana Zuboff; Complexity by Mitchell Waldrop; 10% Human by Alanna Collen.
Reshma Sohoni, cofounder and managing partner at Seedcamp
Reshma Sohoni is cofounder and managing partner at Seedcamp, which has backed companies like Bloomsbury AI (acquired by Facebook), Revolut and TransferWise. Before launching Seedcamp, Sohoni worked in M&A banking and at Vodafone.
Destination: The Dominican Republic
Reading list: Leonardo da Vinci: The Biography by Walter Isaacson; Educated by Tara Westover; Peppa Pig by Neville Astley, Mark Baker and Phillip Hall.
Vasile Foca, partner at Talis Capital
Vasile Foca is a partner at Talis Capital, and he's pumped money into startups like space provider Second Home, security startup Darktrace and law software provider Luminance. Before Talis, Foca worked at a number of other investment firms and did a brief spell at Merrill Lynch.
Destination: Sant Vicence De Montalt on the Maresmo Coast
Reading list: Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; Solve for Happy by Mo Gawdat; The Courage to be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi.
Martin Mignot, partner at Index Ventures
Martin Mignot is a partner at Index Ventures. He has invested in electric scooter firm Bird, lift-sharing service BlaBlaCar and food-delivery service Deliveroo. Mignot also serves on the board of car-sharing service Drivy and fintech app Revolut. Prior to becoming a VC, he was an analyst at UBS Investment Bank.
Destination: Dordogne, France
Reading list: Micromobility: The First Year by Horace Dediu; Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan; Atomic Awakening by James Mahaffey.
Tom Hulme, partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures)
Tom Hulme is general partner and head of Europe at GV. At GV, Hulme has backed companies like travel startup Secret Escapes and currency exchange service CurrencyCloud. Before GV, Hulme was design director at IDEO Europe, where he founded OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform used by 200,000 people.
Destination: Kruger, South Africa
Reading list: Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone; AI Super-Powers by Kai-Fu Lee; No Bullshit Innovation by David Rowan.
Megumi Ikeda, partner at GM Hearst Ventures Europe
Megumi Ikeda is the managing director and general manager of Hearst Ventures Europe. Based in London, Ikeda previously ran the European arm of the Peacock Equity Fund, GE Capital, and NBC Universal’s $250 million venture fund. Ikeda began her career as a journalist, writing for the Dow Jones in Tokyo before moving to Wired in San Francisco where she was international business manager.
Destination: Monemvasia, Greece
Reading list: Ali by Jonathan Eig; Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney; Red Meat Republic by Joshua Specht.
Rory Stirling, partner at Connect Ventures
Rory Stirling is a partner at seed investment firm Connect Ventures, which has backed startups like Pact Coffee and Citymapper. Prior to Connect, he was at BGF Ventures and MMC Ventures.
Destination: A cabin on a tiny island off Norway (near Kragerø)
Reading list: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker; Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke; Reboot by Jerry Colonna.
Mark Tluszcz, partner at Mangrove Capital
Mark was one of the first investors in Europe to feature in the Forbes Midas list after his early investment in Skype (bought by eBay for $2.6 billion in 2005). Other notable exits include Wix.com where he also now serves as chairman. He is a big believer in the power of stock options and has recently turned his attention to healthcare with investments including K Health, Flo Health and Happify.
Destination: Catalonia (summer house)
Reading list: Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World by David Epstein; Blowing The Bloody Doors Off by Michael Caine; Bad blood—Secrets And Lies In A Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou.
Alice Bentinck, cofounder of Entrepreneur First
Alice Bentinck is the cofounder of Entrepreneur First, which has built and invested in companies like Magic Pony Technologies (bought by Twitter) and BloomsburyAI (acquired by Facebook).
Destination: Normandy, France
Reading list: Who is Michael Ovitz? by Michael Ovitz; Optimum Nutrition For the Mind by Patrick Holford; Netflixed—The Epic Battle for America’s Eyeballs by Gina Keating.
Harry Stebbings, founder Stride VC
Forbes Under 30 list maker Harry Stebbings is the founder of Stride VC, which he set up with well-known investor Fred Destin, who has backed companies like property marketplace Zoopla and food delivery service Deliveroo. In addition to splashing the cash on plucky new upstarts, Stebbings also has a podcast called The Twenty Minute VC.
Destination: Frinton on Sea in Essex (U.K.)
Reading list: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker; The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman; and How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker.
Jonathan Sibilia, partner at Draper Esprit
Jonathan Sibilia is a partner at Draper Esprit, where he’s backed companies like crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. He joined Draper in 2009, and prior to that he was a senior associate in the technology group at Jeffries International.
Destination: Ibiza, Spain
Reading list: Fear: Trump in the Whitehouse by Bob Woodward; Rasputin: The Biography by Douglas Smith; The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis.
Carter Adamson, partner at Atomico
Although technically a resident of Brooklyn, Adamson still works for one of Europe’s biggest VC firms, Atomico, which was set up by Skype cofounder Niklas Zennström, who sold his company to eBay (and then Microsoft) for billions. Adamson, who used to work under Zennström at Atomico, also founded online music streaming service Rdio. He joined Atomico last month, and he’s in charge of sourcing U.S.-based investment opportunities.
Destination: Tanzania and Zanzibar
Reading list: Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez; The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy by Michael Lewis; Outside Looking In by T.C. Boyle.
Mattias Ljungman, founder of Moonfire Ventures
Mattias Ljungman has just left Atomico, which he cofounded in 2006 with Zennström, to launch his own seed fund called Moonfire Ventures. He currently sits on the boards of companies like employee engagement software firm Peakon, and fintech firm LendInvest, as well as several others.
Reading list: Reboot by Jerry Colonna; Secrets of Sand Hill Road Venture Capital and How to Get It by Scott Kupor; Dream Big by Cristiane Correa.
Gajan Rajanathan, principal at Highland Europe
Gajan Rajanathan is a principal at Highland Europe, which has backed companies like activity booking platform GetYourGuide and online cycling trainer Zwift. Prior to joining Highland, Rajanathan founded the European division of Qatalyst Partners, a Silicon Valley M&A firm.
Destination: Bolivia and Chile
Reading list: Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope; Shoe Dog by Phil Knight; and Red Notice by Bill Browder.
Sonali de Rycker, partner at Accel
Sonali de Rycker is a partner at Accel. Since joining the firm in 2008, de Rycker has backed music streaming app Spotify, fintech app Monzo, and fashion website Lyst. She started her career in New York, where she worked as an analyst for Goldman Sachs.
Reading list: Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein; The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg; Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk.
Nenad Marovac, partner at DN Capital
Nenad Marovac is the founder, CEO and managing partner at DN Capital. He’s backed businesses like music ID app Shazam, property website Purplebricks and dating app Happn. When he’s not reading, Marovac is keen to jump on a surfboard and ride some waves.
Destination: Surfing in California and Hawaii
Reading list: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker