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Skype's cofounder is trying to raise a $750m tech fund

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Money man: CEO and Founding Partner of Atomico and co-founder of Skype, Niklas Zennstrom, attends the VivaTech (Viva Technology) trade fair in Paris, on May 24, 2018. Photo: GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images

A venture capital firm run by one of the cofounders of Skype is seeking to raise a major new European tech investment fund, Yahoo Finance UK understands.

Three sources told Yahoo Finance that London-headquartered venture capital (VC) firm Atomico has begun sounding out investors about a new fund, which will target tech companies across Europe and invest from startup to scale-up businesses.

Two sources said Atomico is hoping to raise $750m for its new fund — which will be its fifth. The exact size is subject to change as discussions are ongoing and understood to be at an early stage.

Atomico declined to comment when contacted by Yahoo Finance UK.

Atomico was cofounded by Niklas Zennstrom, the cofounder of Skype. The firm has backed over 100 companies, including European tech companies such as Swedish payment unicorn Klarna, Angry Birds developer Rovio, and Clash of Clans games maker Supercell. Despite a focus on Europe, the firm has also invested further afield, backing San Francisco electric scooter startup Lime, US payment unicorn Stripe, and Chinese dockless bike business Ofo.

The effort to raise cash comes unusually quickly after the firm’s last fund. Venture capital firms typically raise new funds every 2 or 3 years but Atomico announced its fourth fund just 18 months ago. At the time, the $765m fund was one of the largest ever raised by a European VC firm and was oversubscribed.

If Atomico succeeds in raising another $750m, it will be one of the biggest VC funds in Europe. Lakestar, another European VC firm, is currently trying to raise a $800m fund, which Bloomberg reported in July would be the biggest fund in Europe if successful. That fund is likely to be structured into two $400m sub-funds, one for earlier stage investments and another for growth funding, according to a source with knowledge of Lakestar’s plans.

Venture capital firms back private, high-growth businesses, ranging from startups to so-called “scale-ups.” They are most associated with funding technology businesses and high-profile VC success stories include Google, Facebook, and Spotify.

Last week Yahoo Finance UK exclusively reported that LocalGlobe, an early stage London venture capital firm, is in talks to raise a new $200m fund.