Facebook European director departs for White Star Capital

Not long after losing its advertising and growth chief for Asia, Facebook said goodbye to its director in Europe. Christian Hernandez, who headed up Facebook’s Euro and Pan-European divisions, announced that he is leaving the company to join business partner Eric Martineau-Fortin in the growth of White Star Capital.

Hernandez commented on his career change in a public Facebook post:

Some 1,350 days ago, I walked into Facebook for what has been one of the most amazing rides of my professional career. I have been able to work with and learn from some of the most amazing minds in tech, and have loved working alongside companies seeking to innovate on top of the Facebook Platform and see them scale globally.

The timing, however, is now right to put my passion for entrepreneurship and working with early-stage startups to use in a new way. In a few weeks I will leave Facebook and join my longtime friend and investment partner Eric Martineau-Fortin to scale out White Star Capital.

This is another big hit for Facebook internationally. Yesterday, it was reported that Asia director Sunita Kaur was leaving the company to join Spotify and help the company grow in that market.

According to Facebook’s first quarter earnings report, the site has 179 million active daily active users in Europe and 167 million in Asia. These numbers have grown steadily.

So far, White Star Capital has scaled out to 20 companies in 7 countries, raising $70 million. Hernandez and Martineau-Fortin blogged about their new venture:

When we met almost a decade ago at a wedding in the south of France, little did either of us know that the encounter would lead to a friendship and a business partnership of two highly complementary individuals with the same passion for early stage technology and working alongside entrepreneurs.

While helping to establish Messier & Associés as a highly successful transatlantic boutique M&A advisory firm, Eric had also become a prolific and successful angel investor. He established White Star Capital in 2007 to support his angel investments and his personal portfolio included stakes in BetaworksScienceDollar Shave Club and Ludia (acquired by FremantleMedia) amongst others.

Christian’s engagement with the entrepreneurial ecosystem through his role at Facebook and Google, had also allowed him to advise and invest in a number of startups including Apsmart (acquired by Reuters), Summly (acquired by Yahoo!) and Vyclone, and enabled Christian to work with hundreds of entrepreneurs across Europe.

From this joint interest in the space, our investment partnership grew and, over a year ago, we combined our angel portfolio under the White Star Capital umbrella. We recently decided to dedicate our full-time efforts to support our portfolio of over 20 companies we have invested in to date, and work to find 20 more.

Image courtesy of Hernandez’s Facebook page.


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