More Changes In European VC As Gil Dibner Leaves Index Ventures To Become Partner At DFJ Esprit


More changes of personnel in the London/European VC scene. Gil Dibner is moving from Index Ventures to join DFJ Esprit, the European VC firm that is also part of Silicon Valley’s DFJ Global Network. At Index Dibner held the position of Principal, while at DFJ Esprit he makes Partner, so chalk this up as a promotion for Dibner in the world of Venture Capital.

Interestingly, it follows two other changes at DFJ Esprit in June, which saw long-standing DFJ Esprit Partner Nic Brisbourne join Forward Investment Partners, the venture capital arm of Forward Internet Group, and Scott Sage promoted from Associate to full Partner. Including Dibner’s appointment, DFJ Esprit now boasts 10 Partners, making it one of Europe’s largest VC firms, based on Partner head-count.

At Index Ventures, Dibner is said to have helped lead the London VC firm’s seed and early stage investment strategy across Europe, Israel and the U.S. Prior to Index, he was a Principal at Israeli venture capital firm Gemini Israel Ventures. His investment experience includes LoyalBlocks, Innovid, JFrog, The Gifts Project (acquired by Ebay), Yedda (acquired by AOL), amongst others.

As Partner at DFJ Esprit, Dibner will lead new investments in “technology-driven companies of all stages”, according to a statement from the VC firm. In a email exchange this morning he elaborated on his new role, Europe’s startup ecosystem, how he sources deal-flow, and — crucially – how best to pitch him. Q&A follows.

Firstly, congratulations to making Partner at DFJ Esprit. Perhaps you can share with TechCrunch readers how the move came about, and what it feels like to now be a full VC partner?

I came to know DFJ Esprit through their activity in the European start-up scene over the past year. I discovered that the firm shared my Silicon Valley perspective and my passion for backing ambitious entrepreneurs and start-ups driven by deep technology. Our investment philosophies are so aligned that when they invited me to join them, it was a no-brainer.

I’ve been an active VC for around eight years now with eight investments, including exits to AOL and Ebay. I’ve had the benefit of some truly great mentors at Genesis Partners, Gemini, and – of course – Index Ventures. Being a partner is a humbling responsibility, but it’s something I feel very ready for.

Tell us more about your brief at DFJ Esprit, what will you be focusing on in terms of investments?

DFJ Esprit is committed to backing Europe’s best and most ambitious entrepreneurs, regardless of sector. Personally, I’m convinced there are huge opportunities in enterprise software, SaaS, and big data – all areas where I’ve invested in the past and areas where I’ve seen fantastic entrepreneurs across Europe.

You’ve been involved in the European startup scene for a while. How has it changed since you first entered VC? Which hubs excite you the most?

Amazing entrepreneurship is happening throughout Europe, from Berlin to Belgrade and from Shoreditch to Stockholm. I think in many ways, the European entrepreneurial community is way ahead of the investor community – particularly when it comes to enterprise software, big data, security, and other “deep tech” areas. There is quite a bit of seed capital in Europe for consumer-facing opportunities – but not that many global venture firms with deep pockets willing to take the kinds of technology risk that DFJ Esprit took when it backed companies such as CSR, Cambridge Semiconductor, Neul, or ZBD.

Where do you source deal-flow, and when is the right time in a startup’s journey to get in touch? i.e. in terms of traction etc.

It’s about having an ongoing dialogue with the entrepreneurial community and about being accessible for honest conversations about companies and market opportunities. My best source of interesting companies has been referrals from other entrepreneurs that met me in a pitch meeting or a conference. If I can provide enough value in those settings, especially to companies I haven’t invested in, I’m hopeful that it will translate into referrals. DFJ Esprit invests in all stages and sectors – so there is no wrong time, and it’s never too early to start a dialogue.

How do you like to be contacted? Any tips for things to avoid when pitching you?

Connect with me on twitter (@gdibner), Linkedin, or email. In any pitch with an investor, avoid telling them what you think a VC wants to hear, and just be yourself.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo