Daphne is a Principal at Atomico, focused on our early stage investments in the UK and Benelux, alongside a vertical focus on Climate across Europe. She works on sourcing, due diligence and portfolio management.
I look for founders who are bold, and hungry to change the world, but don’t take themselves, or life, overly seriously. There are many problems in the world and tech has a unique opportunity to solve many of them in a scalable manner. That said, no founder's journey is smooth or simple, so I look for entrepreneurs who have a good sense of humour, and who can roll with the punches. From cramped workspaces to terrible coffee, I enjoy working with people who can laugh at the insanity of it all.
My life has been characterised by curiosity.
From a small town in the Netherlands, my curiosity took me first to Brazil, then Myanmar and later Germany and the UK. It took me from a (very boring) business degree to finding out about the world of private equity and venture capital - and then to Atomico. Now, it helps me seek out those companies that can make a material difference to the world - and who I can support along the way.
Building a successful start-up takes A LOT of time – it is really hard and many things go wrong. Unless you have a strong intrinsic reason as to why you’re doing this, it’s challenging to persevere and be successful. Why you start a business is as important as what you’re doing - it’s this passion and commitment that will help you keep going when times are tough.
Working across investing, startups and consulting has given me useful perspective.
Prior to joining Atomico, I spent four years as a late stage investor across branded consumer goods companies but also other sectors such as telecoms, infrastructure and even a cattle farm. Paired with my time working in consulting and a brief stint in a startup in Myanmar has helped me better understand the intersection of consumer psychology, entrepreneurial drive and solid business fundamentals that are key to success.
Good VC is about collaboration - it’s not a one-way relationship.
My favourite part of my role at Atomico is brainstorming and giving advice to founders. I know that calls can often feel like a bit of an interrogation but I view them as a two-way conversation. Of course we VCs want information, but it’s also a great time for founders to ask questions and find out how we think about things. It’s fascinating to see what your challenges and questions are, and how you navigate those; I feel most fulfilled in the job when people reach out with questions and we can bounce ideas around.
I unwind through exploring new places, surfing and the performing arts.
To escape the buzz I like to travel to new locations that allow me to improve my beginner surfing skills (I make up for my lack of talent in enthusiasm). Closer to home, I’ll look for the latest art exhibition or ballet to spark my imagination and gain perspective.