Jonathan Teo, a General Catalyst managing director whose most notable investments included Snapchat, has left the venture capital firm. The news is confirmed on Teo’s LinkedIn profile and his General Catalyst page, where Teo is now listed as a venture advisor instead of a managing director.
It might seem surprising that Teo would leave General Catalyst when it’s just closed a massive $675 million venture capital fund. During his two years there, Teo was a personal investor and led GC’s Series A and B participation in Snapchat, and his investments also included Chloe + Isabel, Couchsurfing and HeyDay.
When I contacted him, Teo said he isn’t ready to comment on his future plans, but I was told by a source close to him that he’s been planning to leave General Catalyst for a while and focus on Asia. I also learned he’s been approached by other Silicon Valley firms but hasn’t shown an interest.
Though Teo is still based in San Francisco, Asia makes sense for him because he has strong personal and professional ties to the continent. Teo was born and raised in Singapore and, while working at Google, he set up its research and development center in Shanghai. After leaving Google, Teo joined Benchmark Capital, where he originated its investments in Instagram and Twitter. His track record in consumer mobile means he’d be able to provide valuable guidance to startups in Asia’s emerging markets.
In many of the continent’s fledging startup hubs, including Seoul, Taipei and Hong Kong, there is plenty of talent but a lack of mentors who know how to help companies navigate the challenges of securing early funding and gaining traction. If Teo heads East he will probably be busy fielding calls from founders who hope to replicate the success of Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
If he does focus on Asian startups, Teo will likely work with his friend Robin Chan, an early Xiaomi investor who helped convince Hugo Barra, Google’s former head of Android, to join the fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker.
Chan told me that he’s excited about the potential of partnering up with Teo. “Jonathan is one of the most talented early stage investors that I know,” Chan said. “He has great intuition about consumer mobile.”