Northzone is delighted to announce a new addition to our investment team: Kilian Pender is joining us as a Partner. Kilian has been a friend of the firm for many years, and bringing him on board feels like a natural and exciting next step. He’ll be joining our London office but will invest across all industries and geographies, and will be working alongside Northzone’s 14-strong investment team.
Irish-Canadian by background, Kilian has more than twelve years of experience in the industry, of which he spent the last six as an entrepreneur at the forefront of the green energy revolution. He was initially active in the UK green energy finance space, acquiring a consumer lending business from the UK government. This business aimed to reduce carbon emissions from UK domestic homes by offering homeowners cheap financing to purchase energy-saving measures, reducing the carbon impact of their homes. hiber, his latest business, is a SaaS-enabled B2B marketplace targeted at UK tradespeople, which tackles key problems in the supply chain and enables the transition to greener UK households.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Kilian was an investor, with a focus across numerous asset classes and capital structures. He spent time in private equity and hedge fund investing, including global investment heavyweights Blackstone and Centerbridge Partners. He got his start in investment banking with Credit Suisse, after earning an undergraduate degree in Economics from Trinity College Dublin, and a Masters in Political Economy from the London School of Economics, where he also spent time as a Research Fellow.
In his new role at Northzone, Kilian is excited to partner with entrepreneurs who, in addition to creating compelling businesses, are helping to solve the largest challenges facing society today. His focus at Northzone will be across verticals, but will include applying his specific expertise in SaaS, fintech, marketplaces and sustainability. Kilian follows Northzone’s strong tradition of bringing on former entrepreneurs-turned-investors — like our existing partners Michiel Kotting and Jessica Schultz. We make it a point to work with investors from different backgrounds who can expand our horizons.
Our General Partner, Jeppe Zink, said: “Kilian brings tremendous value to our partnership, as a serial entrepreneur who has a real passion for impact, and great management experience. We’ve been thinking about poaching Kilian for years but the timing was never right. He has always been a Northzoner and has what it takes to make a stellar partner.”
Kilian said: “I am incredibly excited to join Northzone as a Partner. I have known the team for a number of years, and have been consistently highly impressed by my interactions. The firm has a stellar reputation within the founder community as a VC with genuine insight, which is great to work with, and supports entrepreneurs through good times and bad. Joining Northzone offers me a unique opportunity to combine my investing and entrepreneurial experience. I can’t wait to help find, grow, and support the next generation of start-ups at this exciting time in the European ecosystem, and in so doing, growing the Northzone franchise.”
Armed and ready to tackle a disruptive future
Venture Capital used to be run by insular firms with a handful of tight-knit investors. Today’s fast-paced, competitive environment requires a much broader approach in order to support the enormous societal transformations modern start-ups are helping create at lightning speed. Northzone does not only help burgeoning businesses financially, but nurtures them with practical support so they have all the tools they need to succeed. Most entrepreneurs today understand that their businesses can’t ignore the impact they have in the wider world and society — much more so than they ever did in the past. We are now at a tipping point where our social contract with the world is at stake, and entrepreneurs have an important role to play in that.
Over the last 25 years, Northzone has lived through multiple micro and macro global crises and cycles of disruption — but those challenges were merely a rehearsal for what’s to come. The latest of these crises is of course the Covid-19 pandemic, which has dramatically changed the way businesses, investors, and customers see digital technology. In this pivotal moment in history, being an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist means being at the forefront of tech’s transformative power over everything from hybrid work to events, transportation to healthcare, retail to entertainment, and more.
Now, an even bigger market disruption awaits and it will even more starkly separate the winners from the losers. Since the pandemic, we saw 12 unicorns emerge from our portfolio, pioneering groundbreaking technologies. What this demonstrates is that the future lies in the hands of these trailblazing entrepreneurs, and the days of incumbent industry dominance are over.
Here to continue supporting entrepreneurs across markets and industries, we’re adding several hires we’ll announce very soon to further bolster our investment and platform teams as we gear up for whatever challenges, opportunities, lessons, and successes lie ahead. Here we go!