Niklas Zennström’s Atomico leaves early-stage focus behind with new $476m fund

Niklas Zennstrom
Niklas Zennstrom

Niklas Zennstrom

Atomico is completing its evolution beyond early-stage investments with a new $476m venture capital fund earmarked mostly for technology companies outside Silicon Valley.

It’s the London-headquartered firm’s third fund since Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström set it up in 2006. He’s now joined by three partners – including early Skype employee Geoffrey Prentice – and 13 other investment professionals spread around the world. 

At the time of its second fund, closed at $165m in March 2010, Atomico pitched firmly at seed and early-stage technology companies in Europe. “We are going to be investing in anything from guys with an idea and a PowerPoint to early-stage prototypes,” Zennström told GigaOm’s Om Malik – expect deals in the single-million dollar range and 20-35 companies over the lifetime of the fund, he added. 

Since then, according to CrunchBase, Atomico has participated in at least 35 funding rounds. Strip out follow-on rounds and it works out to at least 20 new companies in the portfolio since March 2010. Most are at seed or series A stage – including deals with 6Wunderkinder, Hailo, Wrapp and Rovio– but a few late-stage rounds are also listed, including participation in gaming giant Supercell’s $130m share shuffle in April 2013 and a lead role in Fab’s $105m round in July 2012. 

Atomico has also now expanded beyond London to offices in Sao Paulo, Beijing, Tokyo, Istanbul and the Cayman Islands.

In a statement today, the firm underlined its new sweet spot: “hit products” with impressive growth and the ability to become international category winners and “attack and transform large industries, both domestically and globally”.

Entrepreneurs already off the ground will be glad to hear it. So, too, will those who’d like to see Europe grow more companies to the size of Rovio, Skype or Supercell. Bright minds with nothing more than a PowerPoint, though, will now need to keep searching.

Image credit: Some rights reserved by Flickr user LeWeb13