Atomico closes $765 million tech venture fund, Europe's biggest

Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:04am EST
 
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By Eric Auchard

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Atomico, which has spent the past decade proving startups can prosper outside Silicon Valley, said on Thursday it had closed Europe's largest standalone tech venture fund, a $765 million war chest that reflects the region's growing financing firepower.

The London-based venture firm started by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom has invested in around 60 firms since it was established in 2006. It was an early backer of two of the world's hit mobile gaming companies - Supercell and Angry Birds maker Rovio Entertainment, both of Finland.

Such bigger venture funds promise to help fill a widely recognized funding gap that leads most European start-ups to be acquired rather than holding out for stock market flotations of their own in order to build powerful global tech franchises.

"We are seeing an inflection point for investment in the region, both in the maturity of entrepreneurs and business models," Mattias Ljungman, an Atomico partner, said in an interview with Reuters.

"We are focused on Europe, but will invest in other regions too," he said in reference to the United States and Asia.

Some of Atomico's recent investments included Scandit, a Zurich-based barcode-scanning software supplier, and Lilium Aviation, based near Munich, which is developing an electric jet with vertical takeoff capacity that could be used as a flying car.

Current investment themes for Atomico include potentially disruptive new firms in financial and property technology, online marketplaces as well as so-called deep tech areas, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, Ljungman said.

The $765 million fund, Atomico's fourth, gives it the capacity to invest in early financing rounds while also allowing it to continue to join later rounds of financing for its most successful start-up bets.   Continued...

 
Atomico CEO Niklas Zennstrom  attends the eG8 forum in Paris May 25, 2011. The eG8 forum gathers "leaders of the Internet" to consider and discuss the future of the Internet and society.  REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes