Atlas Venture Reorg Moves European Investing To Boston

Dailymotion and Seatwave investor Atlas Venture is turning down the dial on Europe, shifting all its future focus to its Boston HQ. London-based partner Fred Destin, who had helped kick-start those two startups, is moving across the Atlantic, where Atlas will open a new office.

Partner Christopher Spray will remain in London, along with partners Graham O’Keefe and Regina Hodits, who take new venture partner roles, but they will also only service existing portfolio companies. New European investments will be coordinated from Boston.

“We took the decision because we’d like much better to be a smaller, more focused fund and have all our partners around one table,” Destin told paidContent:UK. “There’s always a trade-off between being a global platform … we came to the conclusion that it would be better all of us sitting in one room making fast decisions.

“We’ll continue to invest in Europe but decided… the industry is moving toward a smaller fund. Nothing beats a small, focused team that sits in the same room, it maintains the connective tissue.”

The big European internet companies of the last four years have hardly been enormous successes State-side – and Bebo struggled to integrate in to their US acquirers, Joost was unable to make headway; Atlas’ own Dailymotion went off the boil before injecting new management and cost cuts last year. Depending on which way you look at it, Atlas’ move either leaves European startups with fewer potential investors – or means an enhanced platform to the U.S. market…

For European deals, Atlas will now likely partner with local investors such as Sofinova, Accelerator Group or Accel Europe, Destin said: “It will change the shape of things we do. I would liken us to Bessemer or Union Square – you will be looking at deals with a global outlook from the outset and will partner with someone locally. There is a lot of appetite on the European side for someone who brings a global flavour.”

Atlas opened up a new $283 million fund 12 months ago. The focus remains “firmly early-stage”, Destin said.

Other Atlas venture partner changes, according to Destin…

Jeffrey Andrews has stepped aside to become SVP at portfolio company AEB.

— Max Niederhofer, who was also an angel investor, is stepping aside to return to entrepreneurship.