17 Jan 2016

Introducing Our New Entrepreneur Partners and EIRs

We’re at a defining moment for European technology. We’ve proven beyond doubt that Europe’s entrepreneurs can achieve enormous success, with 41 European billion-dollar companies founded since 2003 — including 12 that reached the threshold since the beginning of last year alone. The question is no longer whether Europe can produce brilliant, global successes; it’s what we need to do to take it to the next level.

The world’s best ecosystems are built on the fundamental truth that success breeds success, and this is already evident in Europe where the current generation of superstar founders is inspiring the next generation to do even better.

An entrepreneur taking funding from a successful founder gets so much more than money — they get a partner who understands firsthand the journey they’re on, and can provide practical advice, empathy and constructive criticism in a way that others simply cannot. And so we have always believed that founder-led investing is a vital means of transferring these assets — tangible and intangible — to the founders of tomorrow.

It’s clear that in Europe today, the current cohort of successful founders has reached sufficient scale to make founder-led investment a far more realistic possibility at all stages, not just angel. We’re already at the stage where more than one in ten seed rounds in Europe involves a tech founder, and the number of start-ups funded by entrepreneur-led VCs has almost doubled over the last four years.

But we can go much further and faster. And as Europe’s first large-scale entrepreneur-led fund, and as firm believers in the importance of this type of investment, we want to accelerate the development of founder-led funding.

That’s why we are making Atomico a platform through which fellow entrepreneurs — who are already actively reinvesting in Europe’s new generation of success stories — can scale their own investment activity while helping Atomico to source and grow its portfolio.

Brent Hoberman (Co-founder of Lastminute.com, Made.com and Founders Forum), Ilkka Paananen and Mikko Kodisoja (Co-founders of Supercell), and Alex Asseily (Co-founder of Jawbone and State) have joined us as Entrepreneur Partners. We’ll share our expertise in growth acceleration and investments, while they will provide their own insights on sourcing and sectors to watch. Whilst remaining fully committed to their own businesses, our Entrepreneur Partners will also support the founders of our portfolio companies, drawing on their own experience of growing and scaling their own successful companies.

We’re also growing our team of Entrepreneurs and Executives-in Residence, experienced players who will join us to support our portfolio companies, mentor new entrepreneurs, and source more great start-ups on the path to becoming global category leaders. We’re excited to welcome to the team: Niall Wass (former Senior VP EMEA and APAC, Uber Technologies) Jason Goodman (Founder, Albion), Ernesto Schmitt (Co-founder, Beamly) and Alexis Dormandy(Former CMO, Orange) in London, Sophia Bendz (former Global Director of Marketing, Spotify) in Stockholm and, Carter Adamson (Co-Founder, Rdio) in New York.

When we started Atomico nearly ten years ago we wanted to apply the lessons we learnt building Skype and other global businesses to help the next category leaders. In that time, we’ve learnt from our successes and failures as investors, much like we did as entrepreneurs. We’ve learnt a lot about how to provide value — including when to step up, when to step in, and when to step back — and how to build an institution-grade investment platform that underpins everything we do. Now we’re sharing what we’ve learnt with the next generation of founder-funders, and are excited to see what we can do together.

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