Ukraine Highlights Need for U.S. - European Balance

by James F. Kenefick, Managing Partner


First, to our colleagues, friends and partners in Ukraine, our team sends heartfelt wishes for speedy peace and an end to Putin's senseless invasion.

In terms of startups, tech and founders, Ukraine has provided so much to the world, from founders and companies such as WhatsApp, People.ai, Solana, and Gitlab (founders Ukraine citizens), to Grammarly and Ukraine's estimated 200K+ tech developers building for the world. Global powerhouses AMZN, GOOG, and SMSNG all have R&D centers there with a high density of innovative talent now being threatened.


Now more than ever, we emphasize our balanced U.S. - European strategy and how tech transfer to the U.S. from Europe makes more sense for faster adoption and creating more stable markets. As we have spent most of the past year all over Europe, our experience and insights from these interactions inform our perspective on European startups, investment and tech transfer:

  • All valuations in uncertain times, especially in Europe for the foreseeable future, will be affected and adjustments will be felt in the VC / PE markets.

  • This conflict has the whole world thinking about the European Market, in terms of growth and investment, where we see slower growth & investment, as well as lower valuations.

  • Tech transfer to the U.S. like Spotify from Europe (Sweden), which is a key focus for Azafran, emphasizes the importance of the U.S. tech market for growth, adoption and innovation.

In spite of these times of turmoil as we have been in London, Stockholm, Geneva and Zurich this week we hear a common theme everywhere we travel in Europe: There are great tech companies there looking for U.S. partners for growth, which is core to Azafran's Thesis.


We are not blinking at this critical time and are committed to Europe, to helping bridge European investors that want access to the U.S. market and the great win win when you also have European companies looking to investors with access to the U.S. market, which is Azafran's sweet spot.