Corporate headshot of Cleo Sham, partner at Stride.VC


June 2, 2023

Stride loses second investor this year

Ex-Uber and Spotahome exec Cleo Sham is departing the early-stage firm

Eleanor Warnock and Amy Lewin

2 min read

Early-stage investor Stride VC has lost its second investment team member this year.

Partner Cleo Sham said today that she was leaving the London-based firm. Her departure makes her the second investor to leave this year after principal Pietro Invernizzi left in February. 

“Supporting our founders remains my priority and I will focus on a smooth transition of my board responsibilities over the next few months,” Sham wrote on LinkedIn

“Having worked closely together through a turbulent year, I am proud of everything that our founders and teams have achieved. I am deeply inspired by their grit, courage and agility — and am confident that they will make a dent in the universe.”


Sham is one of the few former operators in Europe who have put on the investing hat. 

Fred Destin, Stride's founder, told Sifted, "I don’t want to speak for Cleo but her messaging contains why she wants to go on a different journey."

Sham's LinkedIn post mentions that she is "keen to reconnect with [her] passion for building, and gain exposure to both EMEA and Asia over the coming years."

Regarding Invernizzi, Destin said, "He remains a close friend and business partner of ours. His passion is with pre-seed investing and that’s what he is pursuing. More power to him. "

A short history of Stride

Stride VC was founded in 2018 by former Accel partner Fred Destin and podcaster Harry Stebbings. Stebbings left the firm in 2021 to start his own fund, 20VC. 

It has since raised two funds, the most recent of £100m in 2021. Its portfolio includes troubled used car marketplace Cazoo, edtech platform Knowunity and wellbeing platform Oliva Health. 

It’s also cycled through a fair few investors. Pia d’Iribarne, former VP at Accel, joined the firm as a partner in 2019 and left in 2020 to start her own fund, New Wave. Invernizzi, who previously worked at French investor The Family, joined in 2020 and left in 2023. 

Gabbi Cahane, a prolific angel investor, joined as a partner in March 2022.

When asked about a potential promotion for principal Lina Zakarauskaite to partner, Destin said, "she’s awesome" but declined to give a further comment.

Correction: Pietro Invernizzi was previously misstated as a partner at Stride. He was a principal.

Eleanor Warnock

Eleanor Warnock is Sifted’s deputy editor and cohost of Startup Europe — The Sifted Podcast. Find her on X and LinkedIn

Amy Lewin

Amy Lewin is Sifted’s editor and cohost of Startup Europe — The Sifted Podcast , and writes Up Round, a weekly newsletter on VC. Follow her on X and LinkedIn