Former Uber exec joins OMERS Ventures in Europe

Jambu Palaniappan has joined OMERS Ventures as managing partner in London. The former Uber executive brings extensive operational experience from the startup world to the Canadian venture capital firm’s European team.

OMERS Ventures is an early-stage investor in disruptive technology companies shaping the future of how we live and work, from fintech, proptech, insurtech, and healthtech to deeptech, smart cities, and the future of work. Backed by one of Canada’s largest pension plans, OMERS Ventures launched in Europe in March 2019 following eight years in North America that have included notable exits such as Shopify (which went public in 2015, now valued at $38 billion), Password Box (acquired by Intel), and Wave (acquired by H&R Block). Investments in Europe to date include WeFox, Resi, FirstVet, and Quorso.

Palaniappan says: “OMERS Ventures’ enviable track record, high-quality team, and commitment to the European tech startup ecosystem made this an extremely exciting opportunity. Since embarking on its European journey earlier this year, it has already backed some very promising companies. Europe is increasingly fostering companies with the ambition and disruptive potential to become global successes, and I look forward to joining Harry and the team and applying my experience to help the existing and future OMERS Ventures portfolio chart a course for worldwide growth.” 

Palaniappan joined Uber in 2012 when it was a 75-person startup focused primarily on the US market, leading its expansion throughout the EMEA region and India over the next 18 months before becoming Regional General Manager for Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Africa. He subsequently headed up Uber Eats in EMEA from its inception. Most recently, he spent the past 12 months as Executive-in-Residence at the London-based venture capital firm Atomico. He has also been an angel investor, backing startups from a wide variety of sectors across the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Damien Steel, Managing Partner and Head of Ventures at OMERS Ventures, saysl: “The scope of venture capital has broadened considerably in recent years, and investors need to add value in so many more ways than just signing cheques. But with less than 10 per cent of UK VCs having operational experience within a startup, it is clear that investor profiles have been slow to evolve to match these new demands. That’s why we’re so excited to welcome Jambu to our team - having overseen the Uber Eats business in EMEA and run the Uber business across a number of markets, he is perfectly placed to ensure OMERS Ventures offers the right support to the startups we back at every stage of their growth journeys.”