Sequoia Capital Global Managing Partner Doug Leone speaks onstage during Day 2 of TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2018 at Moscone Center on September 6, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

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LONDON — Some of America’s most successful venture capital firms have been finding it difficult to recruit people to lead their new European outposts, multiple industry sources have told CNBC.

U.S. VC heavyweights including Sequoia Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and General Catalyst have all either opened new European offices or started notable expansions in the last 12 months.

Hussein Kanji, co-founder of U.K. venture capital firm Hoxton Ventures, told CNBC that the big U.S. VC firms are finding it “super, super hard” to hire the right people in Europe, adding that there have only been a handful of notable appointments.

“There are few trained general partners in Europe,” he said. A key difference, Kanji said, was U.S. VCs tended to focus on growth whereas European VCs were more likely to prioritize reducing or removing risk.

General Catalyst wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC, while Sequoia and Lightspeed declined to comment.

“We will likely add one to two additional investors in the next 6 – 12 months,” Alex Ferrara, a partner at Bessemer Venture Partners in London, told CNBC. “I don’t know whether it’s going to be difficult or not but I think recruiting in general is always one of the most difficult things a company can do.” 

To some extent, the U.S. VCs are also competing with the likes of SoftBank, which has its Vision Fund headquartered in London. Elsewhere, hedge funds like Tiger Global and Coatue are also expanding in London.

U.S. VC firms want to hire tech investors that they’ve worked with before on start-up boards and they generally don’t like hiring strangers, Kanji said.

Another venture capitalist, who asked to remain anonymous because they work for one of the U.S. funds that has recently expanded to Europe, told CNBC that the “profile of VC” that many of the U.S. funds like is less commonly found within the European space

“It’s not that the talent doesn’t exist, because it clearly does, it’s that the pool of candidates folks are targeting is just more narrow,” they added.

The source said top investors don’t “just tick the box and spend two years at a start-up after the pre-MBA program at McKinsey or Goldman before getting their MBA at Harvard and becoming a VC.”

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