In May 2017, I wrote about our recent Series A investment in Frontier Car Group (FCG) a Berlin-based business launched in early 2016 that had set out to bring transparency and efficiency to used car sales in emerging markets around the world. It was an audacious goal which they executed on superbly and 2.5 yrs later I got to write about their acquisition by OLX for ~$700M.
Pivotal to all of this was co-founder and CEO Sujay Tyle. Although he had launched FCG at the age of 23, Sujay had already packed a lot into his life beforehand including studies at Harvard College (where he started at 15 years old), Harvard Law School, and Harvard Business School, along with being part of the founding of Hired.com, an online recruiting marketplace where he was COO. Sujay was also one of the first Thiel 20 under 20 fellows and was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list. Sujay was named to the Goldman Sachs' Top 100 Intriguing Entrepreneurs List in 2018 and 2019.
Balderton was part of the FCG journey since the very early days: investing in the seed round, leading the Series A, co-leading the Series B, and being part of the board of directors. Balderton exited the business (with a great return), alongside the other investor shareholders like TPG Growth and Partech, at the OLX acquisition in late 2019.
Just after the acquisition, Sujay took on a new role leading the automotive unit within OLX. Over the next nine months, even during COVID, Sujay helped successfully integrate FCG with OLX's existing automotive classifieds engine and to collectively create the largest automotive portals in ~14 countries around the world. Sujay stepped away from OLX and FCG in August.
With FCG in the rearview mirror, Sujay is now gearing up for the next chapter and while he does that I am delighted that he is joining the Balderton team as a venture partner. Sujay will be helping us look at new investment opportunities as well as working with some of our portfolio companies across a number of areas including marketplaces, fintech and consumer-facing plays.
In Sujay's own words:
Balderton was more like a family than just an investor to me and the rest of the FCG team. Even before they became shareholders and after they exited as shareholders, I would call Daniel for advice on major decisions. I was always in awe of how wicked smart and savvy the entire team was when it came to strategy, market mapping, and investment decisions. I would always leave interactions with the team and the portfolio companies inspired.
Sujay with other Balderton portfolio CEOs at the CEO Collective Summit in France in 2018
As I was leaving FCG/OLX and considering a future career move in investing, I felt there was no better place to keep learning than Balderton and it was a natural fit having worked so closely with them over the past several years. I'm honoured to join the 'family' and advise, help, and invest in the next generation of global entrepreneurs!
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