- London-based venture capital firm Atomico is one of the biggest investors in the UK with $US1.5 billion under management.
- The firm is doubling down on the US and Europe with two senior hires – US-based Rdio cofounder Carter Adamson, and European-focused eRepublik Labs CEO Alexis Bonte.
- Adamson is Atomico’s first on-the-ground hire in the US and is likely to drive up the number of transatlantic investments.
London-based venture capital firm Atomico will double down on investments in US and European startups with two new venture partners: Rdio cofounder Carter Adamson and eRepublik Labs CEO Alexis Bonte.
The new hires reflect rising investor interest in startups outside the UK, with France and Spain looking like particular hotspots.
“Traditionally in Europe, the UK has taken the bulk of venture investment,” Bonte told Business Insider. “Scandinavia was also quite strong, and then Germany, France, Spain and other European countries were a bit secondary. That’s not true any more.”
While there’s a growing number of seed investors in France and Spain, according to Bonte, Atomico can help plug a gap between seed and Series A and Series B.
Bonte will work part-time at Atomico and juggle his investment duties with his full-time job as CEO of eRepublik Labs, a gaming studio he sold to Swedish publisher stillfront last summer in a cash and share deal.
Bonte has known Atomico founders Niklas Zennström and Mattias Ljungman since his time as a founding member of Lastminute.com. He also helped bring in French and Spanish LPs to invest in Atomico’s fourth fund, which closed at$US765 million (£613 million) last February.
“I wanted to use some of the skills I’d acquired on the investment side – I’ve been an angel for quite a long time – at a level where there would be more impact,” he said. Bonte will ping-pong between London, Paris, Madrid and Bucharest.
Atomico now has a venture partner on the ground in the US
Brooklyn-based Adamson is Atomico’s first on-the-ground hire in the US, and he will work closely with London-based general partner Hiro Tamura. Adamson too is a long-time acquaintance of the Atomico founders, initially working with Zennström at Skype, then cofounding streaming service Rdio. He has particular focus on consumer, media, and health startups.
The US investment scene is highly competitive, with startups receiving more venture capital than any other country.
Atomico will only focus on startups that want to expand outside the US, Adamson said.
“We have basically two lenses,” he said. “We’re very entrepreneur-first. It’s all about the entrepreneurs and the mission they’re trying to set out and execute. That’s first and foremost. The second important lens is that we look for companies that are looking to expand into other parts of the world, whether it be Europe, Asia, Latin America. That is extremely important for us. If we don’t feel like we can help them expand into global companies, it’s very difficult for us to get behind the company.
“We don’t want to just provide the cheque, but also value.”
Atomico has also made some changes at the junior level, promoting senior associate Ben Blume to principal and hiring three new associates: former Goldman Sachs associate Hillary Ball, former head of expansion at collapsed food startup Jinn Adam Lasri, and former Lazard analyst Will Dufton.