Skype founders set up $165m fund

Michael Carroll
23/03/2010
News
Daily News

The men who developed Skype plan to back start-up European companies offering disruptive technologies through a new venture capital fund.

Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have raised $165 million for the fund, the second to be offered by investment firm Atomico Ventures, which the pair founded in 2006, the Financial Times reports.

The pair will look for small, consumer-focused, start-ups that could become the next Google, Skype, or Facebook with minimal additional financing, Zennström is quoted as saying.

In a separate interview with the newspaper, Zennström – who also founded music-sharing site Kazaa - said Atomico would look to invest in companies offering multimedia content, and predicted piracy would begin to die out in the years ahead, as more companies offer reasonably-priced content.

Thanks to the financial meltdown, the fund appears to be much smaller than originally envisaged. Zennström and Friis targeted the much higher figure of $266 million, according to a filing with the SEC last year, TechCrunch noted.

Their first fund, Atomico Ventures, which closed two years ago, invested in ventures such Twitter client Seesmic, Viagogo and Mydeco.

Atomico Ventures II has already backed seven startups, including online music site Rdio and netbook firm Jollicloud, GigaOm reported.

“We are going to be investing in anything from guys with an idea and a PowerPoint to early stage prototypes,” said Zennström.

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