Atomico Ventures raises $165m fund targeting “disruptive” early-stage European startups

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Good news for startups in Europe.

Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, through their Atomico Ventures vehicle, have raised a new $165m fund for investing in “disruptive” early-stage European tech companies, reports the FT.

The London-based VC firm, founded in 2006 by the duo, will focus on early-stage software and internet companies that have the potential to be “transformative” says Zennström. Startups in the UK and wider Europe have been having a hard time attracting early funding in the current economic climate so the news is pretty welcome.

In fact it appears that Atomico itself has been affected by the downturn, having originally hoped to have raised the higher figure of $266m, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year.

“The type of companies we are looking at are consumer-facing and also small business . . . that do not need to build up sales forces around the world to scale and grow,” said Zennström. “These are the kinds of companies like Skype, Google and Facebook who, if the business model is really working, they can get large revenues without having to go through too many financing rounds.”

The appearance of the Atomico on the scene now takes these ‘super angel’ funds, something we wrote about on TC Europe two years ago, to a much more significant level. PROFounders appeared last year, Team Europe has raised a small fund and Seedcamp is in the process of raising a fund.

It’s fascinating that even as VCs are withering at the early stage and heading towards growth stage capital, these new funds are starting to take their place, to some extent.

  • David Bonilla

    Great news for european entrepeneurs.

    I’m yet trying to understand what a ‘disruptive’ startup is… :)

    • Charles Neville

      I’m trying to understand what the point of a non-disruptive startup is…

      • David Bonilla

        Brilliant and Fun Charles :)

  • JHadzic

    I hope they can find some good euro startups to back…fingers crossed!

  • MyLocator (tm)

    Chance of them finding anything disruptive in a small area is nill. You need eyes WIDEOPEN to find the real game changers. We are approaching an end of innovation era and time is not on anybodies side.

    • David Bonilla

      Try to explain this to the american VC. Have you seen a lot of american investments here, in the old Europe?

      I don’t think so…

  • ba

    They need to fix their crappy website. It crashed my Firefox with all the stupid Flash and animation.

  • Ron

    Can we stop using the word “disruptive” all the time? There is nothing disruptive about most businesses. They can be very good businesses without being disruptive if they are fulfilling a need in a simple manner. Such an over-used, over-hyped word by VCs and their lackeys. If you look at most VCs portfolios most of their invested companies are not even close to being “disruptive”. You can’t have 1000 companies that are “disruptive” at the same time. This word “disruptive” is OVER USED as much as the phrase I LOVE YOU in the U.S.

    • carly

      Hi Ron – I love you

      • Ron

        +1 Thanks!

  • Paul Clayton

    I’m following this question about the nature of disruptive..I recently saw a video of a student in a classroom using a typewriter, and this was classed as technological disruption. I want an ethic to hang it off, not necessarily ‘just another category’.
    I like the MySociety people that make, which is a good example of disrupting (and replacing) a failing communications mechanism in local government and its constituents. It creates a new system of interactive transparency. Brilliant.
    I always thought that local government should be a social enterprise…sorry, wandering off topic.

    If this is purely tech-disruption, then it would be an anti-tech, DIY approach with computers used as communication/creative tools only and not just extensions of TV mentality…a form of techbusiness which isn’t tech? I’m probably missing something here.
    Or, after looking at the clunky site, which is a pain, found they want people with interesting business models and ideas. Note to self: looking at the site may give insight, but the Press release should be informative too…

  • Namsterdamus

    Logo looks like Dr. Manhattan’s logo from Watchmen.

  • Article Playground

    Sounds good my friend.

  • WulfCry

    ”Disruptive” now thats kinda hard to follow why not use “Eruptive” that would be more it yeah a volcanic startup erupting so high you cant miss it.

    Disruptive sounds more like annoyance. Like a kid kicking your heel just for the fun of it darn sassy kids… hmnmm.

    Volcanic men thats cool maybe I’ll knock on their door something been bordering me and getting fund to solve it maybe just whats needed.

  • fedd

    is a nosql db engine disruptive, i wonder?

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