Danny is a businessman with an artist’s sensitivity and empathy. He's been tremendously helpful as we build the future beauty company.Emily Weiss,
CEO and Founder of Glossier
What do you mean when you describe Index as “outsiders?”
Danny — Outsiders are able to observe, understand, and reflect on the dominant culture, rather than participating. Their perspective is from a distance, and provides a global understanding that you can’t really have if you’re embedded somewhere. My mom is Belgian, my dad is Canadian, but I grew up in Switzerland. In Europe, I’m considered American and in America, I’m considered European. It’s an outsider status I’m comfortable with, and the same goes for a lot of us at Index.
How did it feel to be working on the early internet companies?
Danny — It felt important, but unclear. I’m an optimist, and I believed the internet would be transformative, but I grossly underestimated its impact on a global scale. I thought Amazon would revolutionize the book industry, not all of retail, logistics, and infrastructure. Folks who kicked off companies in the internet space were mavericks at that time. They were brilliant, but they were on the margins of both business and society. They approached their round-the-clock work like a science project, making innovations available and scalable.
How is the beauty industry being disrupted?
Danny — Consumers are no longer loyal to brands. They don’t buy products because their mothers or grandmothers used them. They’re simply looking for the best thing out there. Because of the tectonic shifts the online selling has set off, like the availability of YouTube videos on how to apply beauty products, brands can listen to what customers want and efficiently build something for them. That translates to a better product, at a better price, delivered faster.
Danny joined Index in 2002 and established the firm's London office. He later opened the San Francisco office with Mike Volpi. His current investments include 1stdibs, Discord, Farfetch, Figma, Glossier, GOAT, Good Eggs, Grailed, Humu, Patreon and Scoop.
Prior to Index, Danny was a General Partner at The Barksdale Group, where he invested in over a dozen companies. Earlier in his career, he was at Hambrecht & Quist (now owned by JP Morgan), where he began the internet sector equity research group. He was managing director and an underwriting analyst, taking Amazon, Netscape and Verisign public, among others.
Previously, Danny was a director of Betfair, Dropbox, Etsy, Sky, Last.fm, Lovefilm, MySQL, and Skype; and formerly on the Board of Trustees at SFMOMA and MAGGIE’S Centres. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to business and charity.