More personnel changes in European early-stage VC. This time it’s the latest career move of former Spotify global director of marketing Sophia Bendz, who is leaving Atomico to join Berlin’s Cherry Ventures. TechCrunch understands that the full Atomico staff are being informed of Bendz’ departure at an all-hands currently taking place.
Her stated reason for leaving the London VC firm — which mainly does Series A and Series B rounds — is that, having made the difficult transition from seasoned operator to venture capitalist, she wants to focus on seed stage where she can do more deals and work closely with founders and their teams at a much earlier stage.
Swedish Bendz is already a prolific angel investor, with a total of 44 deals in the last 9 years! Notably, although she was promoted to partner at Atomico in November 2018, she has helped source and carry out due diligence on a number of deals but has yet to lead any. I wouldn’t read too much into that but it speaks to the fact that a Series A and beyond firm does many fewer deals per year than a seed investor, and likewise the investment process is very different, too.
In the several calls over the years I’ve had with Bendz, I always got the impression that her passion is early stage and especially consumer. In a brief catch-up call yesterday, she made that abundantly clear.
That’s borne out by one of her main projects at Atomico, where she conceived and led the Atomico angel programme. The scheme is designed to “activate” the latent angel investing potential of well-connected and talented people within the European ecosystem who don’t necessarily have the funds to angel invest on their own. As well as fronting the money, Atomico — led by Bendz — provides mentoring and legal support for angel investors recruited to the program.
To that end, I’m told that the angel programme will continue and that Bendz will stay on as an advisor. Officially, she remains at Atomico over the summer as she transitions Nordic sourcing over to other members of the investment team, before starting with Cherry in September.