One of Wall Street’s top investors in Silicon Valley is leaving

One of the investors who has epitomized Wall Street’s hunger to gain access to Silicon Valley is suddenly leaving his firm, Tiger Global.

Lee Fixel, the man behind consumer investments such as Juul, Flipkart, and Spotify, is departing from the hedge fund giant later this year, the firm told Recode on Thursday, and is likely to start his own rival firm with his own money. It’s a big shake-up because Fixel had quietly become one of the most powerful people in late-stage venture capital, with an aura of secrecy that surrounded the press-shy, thousands-of-miles-away private equity honcho.

Lee Fixel at Tiger Global.

Lee Fixel at Tiger Global.

Tiger Global told its investors Thursday that Fixel “expects to actively invest his own capital and may start an investment firm in the future.”

Fixel was one of the leading investors from the New York area that has slowly reshaped Silicon Valley over the last decade. Decades ago, Silicon Valley investing was exclusively the realm of Bay Area venture capitalists that patiently networked their way into hot startups, with local ties and pavement-pounding.

But the amount of money to be made in Silicon Valley lured a new generation of Wall Street-tied hedge funds, mutual funds, and private equity shops that came to chase fortunes. As companies stayed private longer and needed more cash before going public, these finance types found a receptive audience — and Fixel was generally well-received.

There has always been a natural tension between Silicon Valley and Wall Street. Fixel was able to bridge that divide.

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