Venture capital firm Atomico has closed a $765m tech fund, the largest of its kind in Europe. Atomico’s fourth fund, named Atomico IV, will enable the firm to invest in burgeoning European technology startups, and marks a vote of confidence in the region’s tech industry following last year’s monumental Brexit vote.
The UK-based firm, established by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström in 2006, has invested in over 60 different tech startups since its inception. Of these 60 companies, seven have grown to be worth more than $1bn, including video game developer Rovio Entertainment, which produced the gaming phenomenon Angry Birds, and weather data company The Climate Corporation, which was bought by Monsanto for $1.1bn in 2013. Its biggest success story, however, has been the mobile gaming developer Supercell, which was recently acquired by China’s Tencent for $8.6bn.
Despite Atomico’s previous investment drives, European start-ups have long struggled to compete with their US and Asian counterparts, largely due to a lack of capital. While the continent certainly has the academic institutions, tech facilities and professional expertise to produce promising startups, a lack of funding inhibits European companies from growing into tech giants, the likes of which Silicon Valley so consistently produces. Due to this funding gap, many of the region’s brightest tech talents are bought out rather than waiting for their own stock market floatation.
European start-ups have struggled to compete with US and Asian counterparts, due to a lack of capital
In addition to this lack of capital, last year’s Brexit vote further stoked fears over the long-term outlook for the European start-up industry. While Brexit negotiations are still ongoing, many industry experts believe that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would make it harder for venture capitalists to raise funds. Atomico’s success in securing funding, however, appears to alleviate some of these concerns, and marks a growing level of investor support for Europe’s startups.
“Raising a fund of this size is testament to the growing confidence in European tech – which we have championed from the start – and our unique approach to partnering with founders to help them build successful companies and create value”, a recent Atomico statement read. “When we invest in a company, we give everything we have, not just capital.”
Using its Atomico IV fund, the venture capital firm is expected to invest in approximately 25 different European startups over the next two to three years, and will be backing tech companies at various different stages.