Hoxton Ventures shoots for the big time, luring Bryan Gartner from Khosla Ventures

Everyone more or less agrees that 2023 is going to be effectively written off in VC-land. The feeding frenzy of the last few years has left everyone with more than a little indigestion: valuations have flattened or crashed; exits are rarely on the seller’s terms; and few want second helpings, let alone dessert or another meal.

Some VCs appear to be using this period to get their house in order for the next cycle. We’ve already witnessed General Catalyst scooping up La Famiglia to get more seed-stage investing muscle in Europe. Another Euro VC has been spending “quality time” with their LPs to raise another fund. Still others have been using it to jump on the AI hype train.

Why not use it to expand your partnership, right?

To that end, Hoxton Ventures has lured Bryan Gartner, formerly of Khosla Ventures, to join as its newest partner.

Gartner previously worked on venture growth-stage investments at Khosla. He’ll be refreshing his memory of early-stage investing now that he’s at Hoxton.

Over a call, he admitted it was also a career move based on his personal life. “I have a very international family,” he said. “My wife is actually British, so [moving] was always on the cards. We weren’t thinking this quickly [but] when I was introduced to Hussein through one of the Hoxton portfolio companies, I noticed immediately the transparent nature and the mutual respect among the partnership. A complete lack of ego in the room, which you know, frankly, is a breath of fresh air. And it felt to me that there’s an inflection point that Hoxton is about to hit, and I’m thrilled to be part of that story.”

In his experience, he said, “There’s a dichotomy between the firms that truly work deeply with their portfolio companies and those that don’t… It’s not really about the board meeting. It’s about the calls you make, the meetings leading up to the board meeting. And I’ve always really enjoyed that. I’ve got a bunch of stories in my track record that weren’t obvious wins and then became 9, 10, 11x returns, because of really rolling up my sleeves and plugging in and that’s what excites me in this industry. And that’s what I saw at Hoxton.”

Hoxton’s early-stage credentials in Europe include a 60-strong portfolio, which includes a number of successful companies including Darktrace, Deliveroo, Preply, Spacelift and TourRadar, as well newer investments such as Avantia, Lumi and XYZ Reality.

Hussein Kanji, partner, Hoxton Ventures, said in a statement: “Bryan is an experienced investor, having seen companies go from their early formation to exit and IPO. His late-stage skill set will provide us with a new strength around the table.”

He added over a call, “We’ve been intentionally thinking about expanding and building up the partnership. We started alongside Seedcamp, Connect Ventures and a bunch of others pioneering investing in Europe, and I think we’ve gone into a really good ‘boutique mode.’ But I think we’re trying to make another transition now.”

He said Hoxton is growing: “We’ve become much more of a firm and an institution, in a similar journey to Index Ventures in the 90s went from a small shop to the powerhouse that it is today. And if you’re going to do that, you’ve got to hire really great people. So Brian is part of that. And we’re probably going to try and do this one or two more times.”

In March 2022, Hoxton Ventures closed a $215 million new fund, Hoxton III.

Gartner has 16 years of experience in venture capital. He was a vice president at Insight Venture Partners, where he invested in companies that include AdColony, which was acquired by Opera for $350 million, Alteryx (IPO’d), Fenergo (acquired by Astorg and Bridgepoint for $600 million), Pluralsight (acquired by Vista for $3.5 billion), Smartsheet (IPO’d) and Udemy (IPO’d).

After Insight Venture Partners, he joined Apax, where he invested in Wizeline, which was acquired by CDPQ for ~$450 million. He was also a partner at Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners. He was at Khosla for two years.

Hoxton’s current portfolio includes Finesse, Giraffe360, Inflow, Really Clever, Peptone, Universal Quantum and XYZ Reality.