European VC firm Atomico is serious about defending its reputation for being one of the best growth investors in the world. It has been expanding its team of professional investors with people who can help their portfolio companies scale up (case in point: Siraj Khaliq), alongside a number of 'Entrepreneur Partners', 'Entrepreneurs-In-Residence' and 'Executives-In-Residence' from around the world.
The most recent addition to the Atomico team is a noteworthy one as well, although the firm hasn't formally announced the recruitment yet: Ben(jamin) Grol has joined as a Partner and the newly created role of 'Head of Growth'.
Once a professional chef, the Stanford University computer science grad has worked in Silicon Valley for the majority of his career, for and with Microsoft and a variety of startups but most notably on the growth team for 4 billion-user products: Gmail, Google Maps, Facebook and Facebook Messenger.
I spoke to Grol earlier this week, and he explained that he was finally charmed into joining the tech investment world by the team, ethos and culture at Atomico (and always wanting to move to Europe, which was a nice additional incentive for him).
He says he wants to 'bring the Silicon Valley growth playbook' to Europe, which he considers a region where a lot of major technology companies will be built in the future. I'm a little skeptical regarding the existence of a growth playbook - considering how many different verticals there are, and how fragmented the European market alone is - but if you've worked on the growth of products like Facebook and Gmail, my educated guess is that Grol knows what he's talking about.
Grol will be an integral part of Atomico's 'value creation team', which was essentially put in place to maximise the chances of the firm's impressive portfolio (Supercell, GoEuro, Truecaller, Jawbone, Rovio, Mapillary etc.) scaling up to become global leaders in their fields.
He's already worked closely with Jobandtalent, the Madrid-based online job marketplace that raised $42 million in Series B funding led by Atomico back in June, and is looking forward to help London-based Farmdrop scale up.
Atomico have also made Niall Wass, formerly SVP of international growth at Uber, a permanent Partner, as well as Alexis Dormandy, who worked for many years with Richard Branson as the founding Director at both Virgin Mobile and Virgin Active, and was most recently the VP Consumer and CMO of telco Orange.