"I was hired when I was 8 months pregnant, so congratulations to Niklas for betting on someone who was pregnant," says Sophia Bendz. "That meant I was working a couple of hours a week in my first year and then I increased my commitment and now I'm at a point where I'm completely committed, so it seems like it's been a kind of organic journey that has happened."
The former Global Director of Marketing of Spotify (and the employee of Spotify no.7) is being revealed as the newest Partner in the venture capital firm Atomico . For the past two and a half years, she has been an Executive Resident at the London-based venture capital firm co-founded by Skype founder Niklas Zennström, helping portfolio companies with marketing and recruitment strategies.
Since 2011, Bendz, who is Swedish, has also been an angel investor increasingly active in the Nordic region, where he will be entrusted with the task of supplying the flow of transactions for Atomico. The companies Angel has invested in include Tictail, Joint Academy, Engaging Care, Bokio, Karma, Hedvig, Simple Feast and Sana Labs, among others.
Bendz says he was introduced to Zennström for the first time through his work with GoEuro. of the companies in the Atomico portfolio. I was helping the mobility company to focus its mission on a coherent marketing message that could be articulated both internally and externally, the kind of help that would have been of benefit in the early days of Spotify and that Zennström recognized could be of great value. to other new companies in the Atomico portfolio.
"When I was on Spotify, I was quite alone in my role and had no one to use as a sounding board or mentor, so to speak, so I needed to reinvent the wheel again … on my own. greatly benefited from being able to talk to someone from time to time who has already been on a growth journey and build a company and build a consumer brand from scratch. "
During his eight years on Spotify, Bendz saw the music streaming service grow from 10 employees, in which he was the first marketing employee, to around 3,000. In his role in the company, he also spent five years in the United States, where he was instrumental in launching Spotify across the pond.
"I think what I bring to the table [at Atomico] that we have not already had is obviously my operational experience," says Bendz. "One of the things that I'm excited to do is, of course, take advantage of some of those lessons for the people we work with in the portfolio companies, ranging from international expansion to how to maintain the culture when it grows really fast and we market and the communication and branding strategy. "
Atomico is also willing to take advantage of Bendz's personal network of founders and early stage investors in the Nordic countries, and she tells me that an important part of her presentation to Zennström was that the London venture capital firm should work more closely with angel investors, since they know what is happening on the ground.
"I have been good at fostering many relationships with both my former colleagues and many of them are now in interesting new companies, and then [there are] the founders of the companies in which I invested, "she says." My network of talented entrepreneurs and founders will be a great benefit for Atomico because, you know, most of the time, many of the good potential customers come from existing founders who are recommending other founders. "
Bendz's investments lean towards new business consumers, nothing surprising, given his self-professed "love" for the creation of consumer brands. Her personal investment interests include food technology and health technology, and she says she is particularly excited about companies that are solving a "real problem." "I'm seriously concerned about climate change, so I'm always looking for companies that are addressing it in some way," he adds.
Meanwhile, it may be worth mentioning that Bendz is the fourth female couple from Atomico, which means that VC Firme is certainly walking the walk and not just talking. I ask Bendz if it is important for her that more women become investors and what role she plays in helping to improve opportunities for women in the technology industry in general.
all you can to support women entrepreneurs and operators and investors; I myself have benefited enormously from having a great support network of incredible women, "replies the companion of Atomico." And I'm not a big fan of just complaining about that, but I want to do things about it. So, you know, investigating how we can scale it. That's something that I'm passionate about and I definitely think it's easier for a businesswoman to ping me and ask me, you know, 25 minutes of coffee and her idea for me instead of someone who is an older man. " Sophia Bendz will be on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin later this month, more details to follow.