Despite ‘unprecedented fix’, new Atomico partner wants to help European founders thrive

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It’s been a busy few months Atomicothe juggernaut of European venture capital (VC) founded by Skype co-creator Niklas Zennström. some sixteen years ago. After promoting three investors to partners back in AprilHe then brought in former Revolut and Uber executive Don Hoang as a partner. a mounth later.

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To round off this madness, Atomico today announced that the former director of Balderton Principal Laura Connell joined as its latest partner to work on Atomico’s growth-stage investment.

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The appointment came just over two years after Atomico. closed its fifth fund for $820 million.and with announced two new funds in works totaling more than $1.3 billion, it’s clear the company is gearing up to scale despite the broader economic downturn.

“Unprecedented Correction”

There is no escape from the elephant in the room. Mass layoffs affect companies all sizes and industries, while the giant reset has affected the valuations of both public and private companies. Just this week, portfolio company Atomico Klarna confirmed a new funding round at a whopping price. The estimate is 85% lower than the corresponding period last year.

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While all of these upheavals are undoubtedly hurting those inside the companies themselves, it’s not necessarily the worst time for an investor as valuations bounce back to reality after the pandemic-driven period that spawned crazy amount of unicorns. And experiment to force-feed late-stage startups with endless money apparently ended.

“We all had a front row seat for what was truly an unprecedented fix,” Connell said. “I think this is the result of normalization after the abundance of 2020 and the first half (first half) of 2021, and the era of cheap money, right? So in a sense, speaking purely on a macroeconomic basis, the world [today] looks somewhat more normalized. And this correction, while painful, also gives us as investors and top founders the opportunity to really show who we are and get ahead of the rest.”

Atomico already done somewhere in the region from dozen investments this yearand already there certificate of new in papers on venture capital and the growth spectrum (Connell was not at liberty to discuss any details). So it looks like there will be a lot of money still revolving around the right startups. Growth-stage companies, such as those that Connell will focus on in the consumer and corporate space, will require the same research and due diligence as before to create what Connell calls “a high level of conviction.”

“I think for us, as investors, the best investment is really deep understanding,” Connell said. “In this way, we have the opportunity to continue to create unique and differentiated ideas and high conviction. And keep a high threshold for those founders we want to work with.”

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It’s worth noting that Connell was already quite familiar with Atomico before quietly joining last month, given that both Balderton and Atomico have invested in a number of the same companies over the years, such as Truecaller as well as Grafcore.

More recently, however, Connell has been an investor in Marcho Partners, a global technology hedge fund specializing in backing public companies. It was largely a strategic move, according to Connell, who sought to diversify their experience.

“It’s pretty well known that many funds are looking for ways to expand their capital base from private to public markets,” Connell told TechCrunch. “I’ve been asking myself how I can best serve the many growth stage founders I’ve worked with, and it felt like a good time to get some public fund experience. But my heart has always been on the private side — after all, my goal has always been to return full-time to do private business, albeit with this public market experience.”

After plunging into public investment for a year, Connell said the experience could ultimately benefit all venture capital and growth stage companies that may have one eye on the public markets.

“First of all, it helps founders navigate fairly volatile capital markets, whether it’s the private sector in the late stages or if they’re thinking about going public for an IPO or a direct listing — and how to approach the public investor mindset, that’s a different animal,” explained Connell.

In addition, regional and global aspects must be taken into account. Balderton is a very European-focused foundation, as is Atomico, while her time at Marcho took Connell to the US, Southeast Asia and Latin America (as well as Europe). This can be useful for current and future portfolio companies looking to expand their horizons.

“I have spent a lot of time studying some of the most emerging ecosystems in places like Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia – hopefully all of this extra knowledge will come in handy for founders in Europe as they think about going global.” Connell said.

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