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

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.