Konstantin is a Principal at Atomico focusing primarily on the DACH region, where he is actively sourcing and investing in B2B and consumer internet companies.
I love to see true passion for a founding team’s mission and ideally how that can have a positive impact on people's lives, no matter whether it makes people more productive in their job or has a positive impact on the environment. Often I get most excited when founders know the problem they are solving first-hand and have a unique market insight that makes them a good person/team to found this company and develop a market-leading solution.
I fell in love with the world of startups as a kid growing up in Germany.
When I was in high school in Munich I co-founded a small company in the e-commerce space called KRAGÜ, selling belts. We enrolled in a startup competition and were awarded Germany’s best student startup and the third best in Europe, out of 10k participants. Going to these competitions as a 16y old, I realized that listening to the presentations and discussing their potential was a lot of fun. Back then, I learnt that this is basically a VC’s job and it has been my dream job ever since.
Passion is vital.
This counts on both sides - for founders, passion about solving a real problem beats any short term product hype when it comes to building a lasting business. For investors, being able to get super-excited again and again about founders and products is essential.
I love great products.
If founders are at a very early stage, let’s focus on the product and the problem it’s solving, and let’s always do a quick demo if possible. We’ll have time later on to talk about commercials, go-to-market and the rest.
Investors should know their limitations.
We’ll never have the market insight the founders we talk with have, so it’s important to never jump to conclusions or to overestimate our pattern recognition.
Remember that belt startup? I managed to exit (in a small way).
I continued to run my small company full time for one year after high school, stepped down from the day to day business when I was 19 to go to University, and then sold the company in a mini exit when I was 21 in 2017.
Before Atomico, I was… still investing.
I worked at EQT Ventures, building the office in Berlin as the 2nd employee on the ground there. I was involved in/co-leading the investments in companies across a very broad spectrum, from Seed to Series B and across B2B SaaS, fintech, robotics and gaming, including Frontify, Wandelbots, Wajve, Volt, Beat81, Popcore and Wonder.
Building excitement together, that's the most fun
Professionally, my main talent is being able to build excitement about what founders are building and quickly starting to share their passion. When seeing 100s of companies per year I expected that this really raw excitement about great teams and businesses would decline over time - but after five years in the industry, if anything, it has grown!