13 Dec 2019

Introducing the Atomico Angel Programme Year 2

Twelve months ago, we launched our angel programme led by Partner Sophia Bendz, one of Europe’s most experienced angel investors. We’re proud to share lessons today from the first year of the programme and announce a new, expanded group of talented individuals for the second year.

12 individuals from eight countries participated in the first cohort. The high percentage of investments into female founded-companies and purpose-driven companies confirms our conviction that angel investing is a powerful tool for solving tech’s diversity problem and also solving some of the world’s biggest issues. Here is an overview of the first cohort’s investments:

  • Total investments made: 35
  • Total number of angels who made investments: 10 out of 12
  • Total number of countries invested in: 8
  • Number of investments into companies with an impact mission: 15 (43% of the total)
  • Number of investments into companies with a female founder or female co-founder: 13 (37%) of the total.

We had overwhelming feedback from the angels about their experience.

  • Ritu Jain, founder of LifeX: “This has been an incredible opportunity for me to learn about how to be on the other side as an investor, what are important questions to ask and understanding factors that make for a successful company. It has also been a great way to help younger startups and first-time entrepreneurs during early stages by sharing our own lessons, networks and tools…” (watch Ritu talk about the impact a good angel can have, alongside another Atomico angel, Doreen Huber)
  • Johan Brand, founder of Kahoot! and wearehuman: “Being part of selected group of experienced founders on the same journey made it all more enjoyable, but also lowered the barrier for asking questions and learning along the way…Finally, I truly believe such a program is vital to make Europe and the Nordics a more healthy early stage ecosystem” (read his blog about the cap table problem in the Nordics)
  • Roxanne Varza, Managing Director StationF: “…. On a more personal level, this program helped me overcome the “scariness” or risk associated with angel investing, and I hope to be able to invest in the future”(read an interview with her about her experience)

And on to the Second Cohort…

Following on the success of the first cohort, we are increasing the number of angels in 2020 from 12 to 15 to build a network more representative of European tech’s geographical diversity.

Our goals are the same this year. Our intention is to activate the next generation of both underrepresented founders and potential investors, while building stronger ties between Atomico and the early stage community.

Sophia, who has backed 42 companies since 2012, has seen firsthand how angel investing is key to activate new clusters of underrepresented founders. It is even more crucial given that that 92% of all capital went to all-men founding teams in 2019 — and the figure was likely even smaller for founders from underrepresented backgrounds.

That funding gap has been perpetuated by a lack of diversity in the investment community. This is why we want to encourage and train talented individuals in new and interesting pockets of the ecosystem who might not otherwise have considered angel investing as an option. We also believe these new angel investors have much to share with their founders beyond just capital, just as Sophia has shared her insights and experience at Spotify with her angel investments.

This year’s angels represent founders, community builders, operators and sector experts. They are:


Inaugural Angel Programme Cohort and Investments

(Some companies are still pre-launch and chose not to be announced, hence the number of companies listed below is not the total number of investments.)

How the Atomico Angel Programme works

  • Atomico’s Angels are selected on a 12 month rolling programme basis.
  • Angels USD $100,000 to write multiple early-stage cheques.
  • Angels each have autonomy to partner with any founders they choose (so long as it does not not violate Atomico’s overall ethical investment principles and commitments made to our LPs — i.e nothing unethical including drugs, alcohol, tobacco, firearms, porn, type startups etc.)
  • Angels get a share of the upside when the founders they back succeed, in the same way that Atomico would.
  • If one company takes off, all the angels benefit: in order to promote collaboration, we have allocated some carry per investment to an ‘Angel Pool’, from which all the angels share. In this way, one company’s success benefits all the Atomico Angels as a group, not just the Angel that partnered with that company.
  • We encourage angels to partner with founders at the earliest stage, and thus maximise their exposure to the future.
  • This also means that Angel Programme investments will be at least one stage removed from Atomico’s remit, in some cases two stages removed. Atomico’s angels are partnering with founders who would otherwise have been at least one or two stages removed from the stage we invest at. By investing at a stage we don’t touch, the Angels’ independence is assured
  • The Atomico Angel investment sparks a relationship with these early founders, but it in no way guarantees, or even indicates that they will receive further investment from Atomico. Atomico invests at Series A and these investments will be angel investments, often first money in at pre-seed stage.

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