Songkick’s $10m Sequoia deal opens Atlantic floodgates

Songkick, the concert-finding service that span out of Y Combinator in 2007, has just announced a $10 million round of funding from Sequoia, the first time that the legendary Silicon Valley venture firm has backed a British startup.

It’s a significant boost for the London outfit, which we named as one to watch in our GigaOm Euro 20 last year and has been building up a strong following among live music fans. It already had backers including Index Ventures, the Accelerator Group and SoftTech, but this could help it expand rapidly by building greater depth to its listings and forging more partnerships.

But in a post on the company’s blog CEO Ian Hogarth pointed out that this is also a huge boost for the local startup scene — and probably one of the biggest signals so far that London’s web startups (and by extension Europe’s) are really making noise.

As one of the earliest start-ups to be based in East London, this is also really exciting because it’s Sequoia’s first investment in a UK headquartered start-up – but hopefully not the last! Sequoia met Larry and Sergey when they were just PhD students and saw how transformative Google could be. We’re really excited they share our belief that concerts can be for everyone and the importance of that mission.

The move by Sequoia is the latest attempt by Sand Hill road’s elite to get a piece of the action out of big technology hubs like London and Berlin, or growing markets like Russia and Turkey. Kleiner Perkins, for example, has invested in Berlin music service Soundcloud and Turkish fashion site Trendyol.

I have heard from several other startups who have been holding funding meetings with Silicon Valley’s top tier VCs who — in a reversal of the traditional route — are coming to London to see pitch them with offers, not the other way around.

It may not quite be classed as a gold rush, but the reality is that finding potential high-growth companies out of the U.S. is getting harder and harder — while Europe is building plenty of potential winners with lower capital and just as much innovation. So perhaps it’s no surprise that the big boys are casting their net further afield as they attempt to get their hooks into the next big thing.