France is one of the most dynamic places for start-ups in Europe, with a total fundraising of €3.2 billion in 2018. The government has at heart to continue the growth of this start-up ecosystem. Some measures like the Innovative Startup Scheme (JEI), which allows most start-ups and innovative firms to obtain temporary exemptions from corporate income tax, have for example been introduced. France is thus increasingly becoming very attractive for investment funds interested in start-ups.
This is the story of Atomico reported by Maddyness. Atomico is an investment fund created by Niklas Zennström, the co-founder of Skype, particularly focusing on promising start-ups. The investment fund is based in London, but as it aims at becoming the first platform for technological investment, a senior associate, Adam Lasri, was sent to settle business in Paris.
A different philosophy at Atomico
The philosophy of the company is about creating a connection with the start-ups to develop a partners’ relationship rather than simply being perceived as an investor.
« What I plan on doing in Paris, is to be present for the ecosystem and when a start-up is particularly interesting, making sure that one of the partners can meet them” explains Adam Lasri. Indeed, Atomico has a solid base of specialist such as former senior managers of tech companies like Facebook, Uber, Skype, Spotify, Virgin or Google. This pool of specialists enables Atomico to propose a different offer than simple investment as they can provide more specific advice. Adam Lasri puts it like this: “We can bring to our partners a concrete analysis on how promising start-ups can grow and become international”.
A profoundly European approach
80% of the fund was already invested in continental Europe and considering the Parisian and French ecosystem, Paris was an obvious choice for the development of the activities of the investment fund. After London, Paris is the city with the greatest number of developer and investment in Europe. “It is in our DNA to invest in Europe” confirms the senior associate. “Our ambition is to bring out a new Skype, which is succeeding by itself, without directly trying to get bought by Americans” he continues. Nonetheless, Atomico remains quite open-minded as to which kind of start-ups they want to invest in. “First and foremost, we are looking for visionary founders, with the ambition of internationalising or/and with a disruptive product or service” precise Adam Lasri. This discourse is perfectly aligned with the vision of the ambitious actors of the dynamic French ecosystem.
While Atomico is reinforcing physically its presence in France, the funds were already active in the country. For example, Oh Bibi, a French publisher of smartphone games recently got the attention of the fund. Atomico has already worked in this sector, notably with the Finish studios Rovio and Supercell which are at the origin of worldwide famous games like Angry Birds and Cash of Clans. Adam Lasri is thus confident that the French start-up is going to follow a successful journey to their development.
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