Alexander Straub is a German-born entrepreneur and venture capitalist with Straub Ventures of London and Cambridge Accelerator Partners. He was a Rhodes Scholar at theUniversity of Oxford, where he dropped out while completing his DPhil. However, he previously gained two engineering degrees, one from Darmstadt Dipl. Ing and the other fromCornell Master of Engineering (MEng).
In 1999, Straub and business partner Rouzbeh Pirouz won a Sunday Times entrepreneurship contest. With the prize money from 3i, Eden Capital and Zouk Ventures and total funding of around £7.6m the pair launched Mondus, an online B2B marketplace for SMEs that has been compared to Alibaba and appeared to operate using a similar business model. By April 2000 the business was self-valued at £760 million. Later that year, in August, a 40.7% stake was sold to Italian Yellow Pages Seat Pagine Gialle for £100m in cash and shares. Soon after the transaction Straub was appointed as Vice Chairman. He moved to New York City to establish Lazard Technology Partners II, a $300 million venture fund, while Pirouz stayed on with Mondus. The duo later bought back Mondus from Seat Pagine Gialle.
Straub held an internship position with Goldman Sachs’ principal investment area in London, during which time he worked on an investment into SSL, which is today part of Parthus Ceva, an Irish-headquartered intellectual property company focused on semiconductors. He became a general partner at Lazard Technology Partners (LTP) in New York City.
His listed investments include Stockholm-based software firm IBX, and e-invoicer OB10, which was floated on the London Stock Exchange as Tungsten PLC Corp and Summit PLC. In 2006 he co-founded mobile Voice over IPspecialist Truphone with James Tagg. As of 2014, Truphone has built mobile network operations in eight countries: USA, UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Spain. Straub was named Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum in 2007 and 2008 for his work with Truphone.
In 2007, Straub co-founded Pixsta, a visual search company that later merged into Empora Group. Pixsta won Red Herring Europe 100 and was shortlisted to Global Red Herring 100. Today, Straub remains CEO and Chairman of Empora Group GmbH, which operates the social sharing network Fashionfreax and Avenue7. He acquired a significant share of fashionfreax by the founders Johannes & Ulrich Theilmann in 2010. While Fashionfreax is an equivalent global female social image sharing network like Pinterest, Instagram it is smaller than its US headquartered rivals. The company also operates European state funded visual search research and development into the following subjects of interest clothing recognition in images, context of clothing recognition, pattern recognition and logo recognition technologies.
In late January 2013, Truphone obtained funding of £75m, with £60m of that coming from Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich via his investment vehicle Minden. This round valued the company at £300m.