February 18, 2020 / 6:07 AM / 2 months ago

Venture capital firm Atomico backs European tech with $820 million fund

LONDON (Reuters) - Venture capital firm Atomico has closed its fifth fund with $820 million to invest in early-stage technology companies in Europe, a region it said had come of age in terms of innovation and opportunity.

Atomico V will focus on Series A, the investment round that follows start-up seed funding, the firm said, adding that it had the firepower to keep investing in later rounds for breakout companies.

Investment partner Siraj Khaliq, a tech entrepreneur who co-founded a weather modeling company that helped farmers optimize crop yield with the help of Atomico before joining the VC, said the firm offered advice and expertise along with the money to help companies scale.

“I really liked the Atomico model, which is not necessarily just finance people but people who have built businesses themselves,” he said. “They bring more than just money, they bring experience.”

He said there were so many opportunities in Europe, Atomico had decided it did not need to look elsewhere to invest most of the fund’s capital.

It was looking for opportunities in consumer companies and enterprise businesses that sell to medium and large size companies, he said.

A third category is “frontier technologies”.

“We see Europe having a particular edge when it comes to heavy IP-focused businesses, where there is some kind of science or engineering breakthrough and the business is based on that,” Khaliq said.

The fund had attracted global institutional investors, including pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, Atomico said.

A number of founders and early team members from some of Europe’s most successful start-ups – including Adyen, Klarna, Transferwise, Spotify, Supercell, Skype and Zoopla – had also invested, it said.

The fund’s investments include childcare marketplace Koru Kids, AI-powered drug discovery firm HealX, and Spacemaker, a company that uses machine learning to improve building layouts.

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alison Williams

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