Sep 7, 2022 - Economy

Lightspeed Venture Partners opens NYC office

Lightspeed Venture Partners' Michael Mignano. Photo courtesy of Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners, a venture firm that was an early investor in Snapchat, is opening a New York City office to expand its investment strategy, Justin Overdorff, a partner at the firm, told Axios.

Why it matters: "Times have certainly changed from a success standpoint," Overdorff said. "There's been material IPOs and acquisitions in the New York ecosystem."

Details: With the expansion, the company is bringing on Michael Mignano, the co-founder of Spotify's creator podcast platform Anchor, as a partner who will help lead consumer investments.

  • Mignano left Spotify in June, after leading the company's podcast, live audio and video teams for over three years. He sold Anchor to Spotify for roughly $140 million in 2019.
  • In an interview, Mignano said there's a lot of opportunity in consumer-facing companies, specifically in those that help consumers discover, content, goods and ideas through recommendations.
  • "I think the biggest consumer platforms in the world, like Meta and now TikTok, are leaning more into machine learning and more into algorithmic content discovery," he said. "I think that's going to create a big opportunity in the consumer sector for new products to come in and fill the gap that some of these platforms are creating by the pivot into their new strategies."
  • In addition to Mignano, other Lightspeed team members, including James Ephrati and Adrian Radu, are transitioning to New York in the coming months.
  • Overdorff said there will be five Lightspeed team members in the New York City office to start, with more hires to come.

The big picture: The startup ecosystem in New York is booming, thanks to growing sectors like fintech and crypto.

  • Lightspeed, for example, has invested nearly $1 billion in New York City-based startups since 2004, but dramatically increased those investments in the past few years. In 2021, it invested over $330 million in NYC-based startups alone.
  • In the past two decades, it's invested in more than 60 startups based in New York City, including Alloy, Giphy, Zola and others. The firm hired Overdorff last year to build its fin-tech practice from New York.

What to watch: Lightspeed has long been a global firm, but the company plans to shift its strategy to increase its density in a handful of global cities that impact certain niches, like New York's impact on fintech.

  • The company recently raised a new $7 billion fund to supercharge growth-stage investments globally, bringing its total committed capital under management to over $18 billion.
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