Hillary Ball is a Partner at Atomico. Based in London, Hillary focuses on Atomico’s growth stage investing, with a particular interest in software as a service (SaaS), consumer internet, and marketplace companies. She sits on the boards of Gympass and Framer, and additionally has played a key role in our partnerships with Sorare, MasterClass, SmartNews and Quit Genius.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with founders across all stages, both private and public.
During my career at Atomico, and before that at Goldman Sachs, I’ve had the chance to get to work with founders from Series A, to growth, to IPO, and beyond. I’ve seen that the journey of building a company is a long-one, with different opportunities and challenges emerging at every stage. The thing that doesn’t change across all stages is that you need the right people around you for support, to share their lessons learned, and to help you see around the next corner. That’s one of the things I love most about working at Atomico - we take a “one team” approach to bring our full partnership and Growth Acceleration team, all of whom have their own depth of experiences, to support companies in navigating this path.
I love working with founders who have a perspective that enables them to see opportunities that others might underestimate.
It’s common knowledge now that some of the biggest technology companies today are ones that in the early days many people dismissed as operating in markets that were “too small”. It’s a privilege in this job to get to speak to, and work with, founders who have had an experience or insight that enables them uniquely to see an opportunity to build something that expands a market. Technology allows us to build transformational experiences, which can in turn transform the size of markets themselves.
I’m a big believer that constraints breed creativity in business.
There are constraints in place around how we all operate, whether those are boundaries, rules or our own limitations. While it can be tempting to think these constraints are obstacles preventing progress, I think there’s a lot of power in understanding the constraints that we operate with and figuring out how to use them to our advantage. Constraints force us to prioritise, make trade-offs, and ultimately become more innovative.
I’m constantly learning.
I studied politics at Cambridge University, then trained in finance starting my career at Goldman Sachs, and now spend my days in the worlds of technology and investing - it’s all been quite different! I’m naturally curious, so I love that I am constantly learning from my colleagues and founders, and that each day brings something new.
I grew up in Canada and originally moved to the UK for university.
Even after more than a decade in the UK, I’m proud that my Canadian accent is still going strong. While I love living in London and am happily a citizen here as well now, I have not yet lost the well-ingrained habit of pointing out if any celebrity that gets mentioned is Canadian.
I love a good laugh.
One of my favourite things to do in London is go see stand-up comedy, and I love discovering a new favourite comedian. I appreciate a good observation on the absurdities of life!