Growing up in a small town in Romania, I had no idea what venture capital was. The penetration of technology in Eastern Europe was relatively low at the time. When I was 16, I had never been on a plane, but I had this crazy idea that I wanted to study in the US. I got a scholarship to Georgetown and landed in the US for the first time by myself, with two suitcases and big hopes.
I'm empathetic – and I'm also very straightforward.
The past few years have been incredibly exciting for Europe. People used to wonder if Europe could create $10 billion companies. Now the question is: what will be the first $100 billion company? Today Europe isn’t just catching up – it’s an innovator.
I partner with both enterprise and consumer businesses across the continent. All of these founders think on a global scale very early on. They want to change the way that consumers live their lives, and enterprises run their businesses – from Europe to the US to Asia. And they want to build really large, enduring companies along the way.
At Sequoia we believe that the next big thing can start anywhere. When I first met Daniel Dines at UiPath in 2016, most of the team was still in Eastern Europe and they hadn’t yet expanded globally. It has been inspirational to see their transformation – from the early days before the Series A to becoming the first European SaaS decacorn – in less than 4 years.
Intellectual curiosity is the trait I look for most in founders. These are people who don’t take conventional wisdom for granted. They read a lot, ask a lot of questions and they challenge me. And in turn, they appreciate it when I challenge them.
I value trust and transparency. I know I have done my job well when founders open up to me about good news and bad news with the same ease.
Founders who work with us should feel that we are in this together, and that we know that it is not a straight line to the top.
Being an entrepreneur is really, really hard. Starting global category leaders from Europe is probably extra hard, and I want to give our founders every unmatched advantage that comes with being a Sequoia company. At Sequoia, when you get one of us you get all of us – not only across Europe but the US as well.
To me, my work is personal. I have been doing this for a decade and can’t imagine doing anything else. Working with founders brings me a tremendous amount of satisfaction and purpose.