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Earlier this year, Omers Ventures, the venture capital arm of Canadian pension fund Omers, outed a new €300 million fund aimed at European technology startups, having recruited local VCs Harry Briggs, Tara Reeves and Henry Gladwyn.

And now the firm is adding a fourth member in Europe: Jambu Palaniappan (pictured centre), the former head of Uber’s food delivery business in Europe, Middle East and Africa, has joined Omers Ventures as a Managing Partner.

Palaniappan joined Uber in 2012 when it was a 75-person startup focused primarily on the U.S. market. He led the ride sharing behemoth’s expansion throughout the EMEA region and India, before becoming Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa. He then went on launch Uber Eats in EMEA.

In other words, Palaniappan brings even more operational experience to Omers’ European VC team, although he isn’t new to the world of venture capital, either. His most recent gig was at London-based venture capital firm Atomico, where he spent 12 months as Executive-in-Residence (news that TechCrunch broke back in July 2018).

Unsurprisingly, Palaniappan has also been an angel investor, and is said to have backed a number of startups in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Meanwhile, the recruitment of Palaniappan marks a decent debut half year for Omers Ventures Europe, seeing the Canadian investor put together a team of faces well-known to the London and broader European tech and startup scene. Briggs’ resume includes stints at BGF Ventures and Balderton, as well as founding and exiting Tonics, a health drinks company. Reeves was at seed firm LocalGlobe and also co-founded Turo, the car-sharing marketplace. And Gladwyn previously managed seed investments for the founders of DeepMind.

The Omers Ventures Europe team have already invested more than €76 million into the European ecosystem. Investments to date include FirstVet, Resi and Quorso.


TechCrunch

Kleiner Perkins has joined a $ 24.5 million Series A funding round for Bison Trails, a provider of blockchain protocols, which was led by Blockchain Capital to develop the firm’s infrastructure services.

Other participants included Coinbase Ventures, ConsenSys, A Capital, Collaborative Fund and Sound Ventures as new investors. Galaxy Digital and Initialized, as early backers, joined this latest round after participating in a $ 5.25 million seed round in March.

Bison Trails became one of the 21 founding members for Facebook’s Libra Association in October, boosting its somewhat flagging reputation as a global infrastructure service provider after high profile players like PayPal pulled out.

That makes Bison Trails the only blockchain infrastructure firm in the Libra project.

The New York-based startup helps customers deploy the participation nodes on any blockchain, without having to develop their own supporting technologies such as security, and serves more than 20 protocol projects.

In a statement Kleiner Perkins investing partner Monica Desai said: “Bison Trails realized early that node infrastructure would become a bottleneck to blockchain adoption, which is why they created a decentralized, user-friendly solution.”

“When we started building Bison Trails, we wanted to bring transparency and ease to entrepreneurs bold enough to build in a decentralized ecosystem, investors wise enough to back a nascent market, and enterprises courageous enough to commit to a technological inevitability like blockchain technology and cryptocurrency,” said Joe Lallouz, CEO of Bison Trails. “We have become the easiest way to run infrastructure on multiple blockchains. And have helped the world’s leading protocols, companies and builders launch and manage secure, highly-available, and geographically distributed nodes on blockchain networks.”


TechCrunch

Google’s vice president of finance, has joined Postmates’ board of directors, the latest sign that the on-demand food delivery startup is prepping to take the company public.

Postmates announced Friday that Kristin Reinke, vice president of Finance at Google, will join the San Francisco startup as an independent director.

Reinke has been with Google since 2005. Prior to Google, Reinke was at Oracle for eight years. Reinke also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council.

Her skill set will come in handy as Postmates creeps towards an IPO.

Earlier this year, the company lined up a $ 100 million pre-IPO financing that valued the business at $ 1.85 billion. Postmates is backed by Tiger Global, BlackRock, Spark Capital, Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Slow Ventures and others. Spark Capital’s Nabeel Hyatt tweeted the news earlier Friday.

“Postmates has established itself as the market leader with a focus on innovation and route efficiency in the fast‐growing on‐demand delivery sector. Given their strong execution, accelerating growth, and financial discipline, they are well positioned for continued market growth across the U.S.,” said Reinke. “I’m thrilled to join the board.”

The startup has been beefing up its executive quiver, most recently hiring Apple veteran and author Ken Kocienda as a principal software engineer at Postmates X, the team building the food delivery company’s semi-autonomous sidewalk rover, Serve.

Kocienda, author of “Creative Selection: Inside Apple’s  Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs,” spent 15 years at Apple focused on human interface design, collaborating with engineers to develop the first iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch.


TechCrunch

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