Changes are afoot at European VC Atomico, with news breaking that long-time partner Mattias Ljungman is leaving to raise his own seed fund.
TechCrunch understands that staff at the London-headquartered firm, which he co-founded in 2006 with Skype founder Niklas Zennström before becoming a partner two years later, were informed earlier today of his decision to part ways, although he won’t be leaving immediately. Instead, I’m told Ljungman will be transitioning out over the next six months to ensure as little disruption as possible.
Atomico is also thought to be on the verge of closing a new fund, so arguably the timing is well-aligned, too. “In between” funds is the best time for a founding partner to leave a VC firm, if there ever is one.
In the meantime, Ljungman will be carrying on with existing portfolio responsibilities and gradually handing over his board seats to other Atomico team members. He currently sits on the boards of Peakon, Teatime Games, Bossa Studios and LendInvest, to name a few.
Ljungman’s seed firm is to be called Moonfire Ventures, and my understanding is that Atomico will invest in the new venture and become one of its first LPs (the “Series A and beyond” VC is an LP in a sprawling number of seed funds, something that it tends to keep quite quiet).
Meanwhile, Ljungman’s thinking is that while European seed-stage investing has blossomed recently, the European early-stage ecosystem remains “too fragmented, immature and definitely underfunded.” He believes there are some excellent seed funds in Europe, but more are needed and especially ones that can think on a pan-European basis and have global ambition.
“My hope is to assemble a team of investors who can light a fire within seed stage investing in Europe to help entrepreneurs grow their boundless ambition and burning creativity,” Ljungman writes in a blog post.
“Given Europe’s diversity and fragmentation issues, I believe it’s time to reimagine how venture capital adds value by embracing technology to help with discovery, evaluation and more efficient provision of support for the most promising ventures.”