As of today, I am extremely delighted and proud to say that I have joined the incredible investment team at Atomico. I do want to start by saying that this does not affect The Twenty Minute VC or The Official SaaStr Podcast in any way and you can be assured that production will continue as usual. Likewise, neither the guests nor the content will be affected in anyway. If you have not read the WIRED piece, I would love to hear your thoughts!
How Did Atomico Come About?
It was nearing the end of the day in Berlin following the Blueyard: Decentralised Web Conference and I was standing in the garden, beer in hand (no mojitos on offer) and Siraj Khaliq (Partner @ Atomico) approached me. We started discussing the investment landscape and I was instantly struck by his intense academic rigour and incredibly deep thought process. After 15 mins of conversation, Siraj handed me his business card and said it would be good to meet once back in London. I always say the best way to assess a person and a conversation is to recognise how you feel once you have left. On this occasion, I felt inspired and excited for the future of European tech with such people as Siraj now in investing world.
So Why Atomico:
I approached this process very much as I would a potential investment, it has to start with the team, their abilities, characters and visions. Then the market must be addressed, the size, the growth potential and current incumbents. Finally, there is the product, in this case how the team actually operate, speed, diligence and manner.
1.) Team: Having already met Siraj, I was immensely excited to meet the rest of the team and discuss the space with them. My next meeting was with Mattias Ljungman, Partner & Co-Founder @ Atomico, this was one of the most memorable meetings I have had. I was not sitting with a VC obsessing about preference shares, dilution, exit cycles etc. I was sitting with a founder, a founder whose vision for the European tech scene and the opportunity and potential inherent within it was strikingly evident. There was this hunger to show the world what Europe and Atomico was capable of. Again, I left the meeting feeling more inspired and excited than ever. My subsequent meetings only heightened this feeling further including meetings with Niklas Zennström, Hiro Tamura and Alexis Dormandy.
2.) Market: Atomico focuses on the early stage European market. As stated in The State of European Tech Report released this week by Europe's own Mary Meeker, Tom Wehmeier, there has never been a more exciting time to be in European tech and start a company in Europe. Having said that, the global perspective that Atomico and I can bring to the table is unique and made me incredibly excited to help incredible entrepreneurs scale their companies globally.
3.) Product: What is it about the Atomico product that made me want to join them? This one was very simple, the internal structure of Atomico and the value add that this provides founders. To US friends I use the analogy that if you were to combine the investment thesis of Founders Fund with the operational value add of Andreesen Horowitz, you would get Atomico. Over the last year or so, Atomico have built up the most incredible team of industry experts that provide a level of value and support to portfolio companies that quite frankly, I have never seen before. From the likes of Ben Grol, who has had leadership roles at 4x Bn+ user products to Niall Wass, former member of the Executive Team @ Uber, scaling the business from less than 10% of global trips to more than 50%.
Ultimately, when we combine these three elements, I feel nothing but pride and excitement to be part of a team that will be at the forefront in showing the world what the European tech community has to offer. As for the next steps, keep listening to The Twenty Minute VC and SaaStr and the future with Atomico is immensely bright.