Debu Purkayastha, for the last six years a powerful force inside Google’s international business working on M&A and investments, has departed the tech giant’s warm embrace to go solo. His first port of call will be as Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Octopus Investments, one of the UK’s better known investors which has backed companies such as Swiftkey, YPlan and Conversocial.
Alex Macpherson, head of the Ventures team at Octopus said would be working to identify new investment opportunities and support the entrepreneurs and management teams in the portfolio. Of course, what Purkayastha will also be bringing is a full contact book which, will help extend Octopus’s reach, as it were.
At Google, initially as Principal of Corporate Development, Purkayastha spearheaded its global M&A and investment efforts with acquisitions such as ITA Software, Phonetic Arts, Green Parrot Pictures and Gizmo5. He then went on to become Principal of New Business Development, and was closely involved with Google’s Travel and Finance search products since their inception. Prior to Google, he led the M&A team at Sabre in EMEA building on his previous experience as an M&A banker with Salomon Smith Barney, part of Citigroup, in the U.S. and London.
Purkayastha was also a prominent proponent of Campus London, Google’s project to create a multi-faceted building housing co-working companies and accelerators based in ‘Tech City’ in London, the city’s highest concentration of tech startups.
He told us the European startup ecosystem has matured a great deal in the last five to six years and he hopes to “see the next Google emerge from Europe.”