Growing Europe’s most successful scaling team with Benjamin Grol, Niall Wass and Alexis Dormandy
Technology is approaching the greatest inflection point that we have ever seen. As technology disrupts transport, food, financial services, health, real estate and more, all of the new value is going to be created by companies with technology at their core. At the same time, Europe is approaching an inflection point as an ecosystem. When Atomico started, very few people believed that Europe could produce multiple billion-dollar companies. Since then, there have been 44.
Europe has the right ingredients for far greater tech success in the decade to come. The funding is available, there is a healthy new crop of ambitious founders and, with over 1.6m developers across the region, we also possess the key talent. However, scaling a world-leading business is difficult and ambitious entrepreneurs still need guidance, support and advice from experienced tech leaders and experts.
That is why we have spent the last year transforming Atomico into a platform that brings together a critical mass of Europe’s greatest entrepreneurs, executives, and angel investors.
This matters, because VC is an insider game. You can’t just buy your way in. As Europe produces more entrepreneurs, investors need deep relationships in every tech hub to identify and add value to the most interesting companies. We’ve recruited several new partners to help us find, fund, and scale the next generation of European tech successes.
Back in January we welcomed Siraj Khaliq (co-founder of our portfolio company The Climate Corporation) as a Partner. We also welcomed a number of Entrepreneur Partners including Ilkka Paananen & Mikko Kodisoja (co-founders of Supercell), Brent Hoberman (co-founder of Lastminute.com, Made.com and Founders Forum) and Alex Asseily (co-founder of Jawbone and State) to our platform. They were also joined by a number of Entrepreneurs- and Executives-in-Residence aiming to support our portfolio companies, mentor new entrepreneurs, and source more great start-ups on the path to becoming global category leaders.
Today, our platform has been strengthened with the addition of Benjamin Grol, who was responsible for Growth at both Facebook and Remind and is joining Atomico as a new Partner. Previously, Benjamin worked in product and growth leadership roles on four billion-user products: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook and Facebook Messenger. Some of his notable launches include growth features that added tens of millions of monthly active users to Facebook and an enterprise-grade contact manager within Gmail.
Growth as a value-added service in VC is only just taking off and we are delighted that Benjamin will be bringing his invaluable experience to help us in our investment decision-making as well as advising our portfolio companies on their growth techniques and strategy.
Niall Wass and Alexis Dormandy joined Atomico in January as Executives-in-Residence, enabling them to dedicate themselves to the Atomico platform on a part-time basis as they developed their personal long term plans. Niall and Alexis have given such valuable advice to our portfolio and have proved such a natural fit for our Value Creation Team, that they have now decided to commit themselves long-term to Atomico by also becoming Partners.
At Uber, Niall launched and ran 52 countries across Europe and Asia, during which time the international business grew from less than 10% to more than 50% of overall taxi trips and the team grew from a handful of members to 1,500 people. Alexis was Group Director for new businesses at Virgin where he was responsible for the launch of Virgin Active and Virgin Mobile, both of which grew into billion dollar businesses in their own right. As VP Consumer and Chief Marketing Officer at Orange, he took the business from being the third biggest consumer mobile operator in the UK to the first.
Ben, Niall and Alexis will be joining a wider team of entrepreneurs and executives who have played key roles at some of the most iconic tech companies in the world. We want to help to grow the next generation of tech giants, and now have Europe’s most successful scaling team who bring with them almost 60 years of executive operational experience growing Google, Facebook, Uber, Skype, Spotify and Virgin across multiple markets. We believe that we are in an excellent position to make such an ambitious goal a reality.