Skype founders to invest $165m in disruptive technology

Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have raised $165m to set up a venture capital fund for investing in "disruptive" technology development in Europe.

Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis have raised $165m to set up a venture capital fund for investing in "disruptive" technology development in Europe.

The fund, to be managed by the pair's London-based Atomico Ventures group, will focus on early-stage software and internet companies that have the potential to be "transformative", they said.

That model will be welcomed by British entrepreneurs, who have complained that investors have become more risk averse in the economic downturn, according to the Financial Times.

Many venture capital groups are struggling to find investors as most have moved to larger companies and more established technologies.

Zennström said they are looking for consumer-facing companies and small businesses that, like Skype, Google and Facebook, can get large revenues without large sales forces around the world.

They will be focusing on companies with strong management and great potential, rather than chasing established themes such as iPhone applications or social networks, he said.

Atomico is the largest single investor in the fund, but it is a minority stakeholder alongside a few other institutions.

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