Managing Director Jonathan Teo Leaves General Catalyst, Might Set Sights On Asian Startups

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Jonathan Teo‭, ‬a General Catalyst managing director whose most notable investments included Snapchat‭, ‬has left the venture capital firm‭. ‬The news is confirmed on‭ ‬Teo’s LinkedIn profile and his General Catalyst page, ‬where Teo is‭ ‬now listed as a venture advisor instead of a managing director‭.‬

It might seem surprising that Teo would leave General Catalyst when it’s just closed a massive‭ $‬675‭ ‬million venture capital fund‭. ‬During his two years there‭, ‬Teo was a personal investor and led GC’s Series A and B participation in Snapchat‭, ‬and his investments also included‭ ‬Chloe‭ + ‬Isabel‭, ‬Couchsurfing and HeyDay‭. ‬

When I contacted him‭, ‬Teo said he isn’t ready to comment on his future plans‭, ‬but I was told by a source close to him that he’s been planning to leave General Catalyst for a while and focus on Asia‭. I also learned he’s been approached by other Silicon Valley firms but hasn’t shown an interest.

Though Teo is still based in San Francisco‭, ‬Asia makes sense for him because he has strong personal and professional ties to the continent‭. ‬Teo was born and raised in Singapore and‭, ‬while working at Google‭, ‬he set up its research and development center in Shanghai‭. ‬After leaving Google‭, ‬Teo joined Benchmark Capital‭, ‬where he originated its investments in Instagram and Twitter‭. ‬His track record in consumer mobile means he’d be able to provide valuable guidance to startups in Asia’s emerging markets‭. ‬

In many of the continent’s‭ ‬fledging‭ ‬startup hubs‭, ‬including Seoul‭, ‬Taipei and Hong Kong‭, ‬there is plenty of talent but a lack of mentors who know how to help companies navigate the challenges of securing early funding and gaining traction‭. If Teo heads East he‭ ‬will probably be busy fielding calls from founders who hope to replicate the success of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

If he does focus on Asian startups‭, ‬Teo will likely work with his friend Robin Chan‭, ‬an early Xiaomi investor who‭ ‬helped convince Hugo Barra‭, ‬Google’s former head of Android‭, ‬to join the fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker‭. ‬

Chan told me that he’s excited about the potential of partnering up with Teo‭. “‬Jonathan is one of the most talented early stage‭ ‬investors that I know‭,” ‬Chan said‭. “‬He has great intuition about consumer mobile‭.” ‬