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Former Skype VP of marketing and Video Island founder Saul Klein has joined Index Ventures to help the VC firm’s hunt for new web investments.

The London-based company has just announced the closure of a EU350m fund – its fourth - to focus on European firms in IT, life sciences and clean tech.

Klein, who will be based in Index’s London office, will help spend the new cashpile as well as working on Index’s existing portfolio, which includes the likes of Betfair, Netvibes and Last.fm.

He told E-consultancy:

“I’m going to be looking to find great new companies we can work with, who have disruptive ideas and who want to build global businesses.”

Klein already has close ties with Index. Both Skype (now owned by eBay) and Video Island (now Lovefilm) are Index-backed ventures, while Klein has also invested alongside the firm in ventures including Moo, SpotRunner, Last.fm and Sweden-based Stardoll

He said his aim would be to find European start-ups “that can go on and be players on a global level".

“There is a new generation of European-based players like Last.fm in London or Netvibes in Paris who are really competing on a global level and are leaders in their category. You can start great businesses in Europe – you don’t have to be in Silicon Valley.”

Activity among VCs in Europe’s web sector - although obviously well behind the US -  is growing, as highlighted by this recent blog by Paul Fisher.

But Klein said one area where Europe still lags behind the US is in providing guidance for start-ups from experienced entrepreneurs – something pioneered by Paul Graham’s start-up school YCombinator.

“There’s a huge amount of talent in Europe, particularly technical talent, that traditionally hasn’t had access to successful serial entrepreneurs who can serve as role models and mentors. That’s going to change and that’s something I’m interested in leading the charge on in Europe.”

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Published 15 February, 2007 by Richard Maven

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