Skype cofounders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis are raising $266 million for their new fund, Atomico Ventures, within the year. This timeline — expedited by placement agent Probitas Partners — requires limited partners to provide a minimum of $13.3 million.
Based on Grand Cayman island (a conveniently tax-neutral locale), the early-stage venture capital fund will focus on “disruptive” consumer-facing startups in Europe, according to its web site. The dynamic duo of Zennström and Friis has had some tempered success in this area with popular file-sharing platform Kazaa, faltering Hulu competitor Joost, and little-known peer-to-peer technology startup Joltid.
Oddly, Atomico (which has no LPs committed yet) already lists 19 investments made before it even existed — including capital given to Last.fm, Jawbone headset-maker Aliph and email management platform Xobni. The firm might also be interested in buying back Skype from eBay, which has done very little with the voice over internet protocol company since its $3.1 billion acquisition in 2005. But there’s some possibility that eBay will take the company public early next year, according to peHub.
As paidContent points out, several other entrepreneurs of equal caliber are looking to start their own funds — perhaps most notably Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen, who is looking to raise $250 million for an early stage fund with partner Ben Horowitz, a former Opsware executive.