Feeds

Skype co-founder's VC firm sues ex-staffer and consultant

Lawsuit alleges pair diverted cash for own fund

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The London-based venture capital firm of Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom is suing a former employee and one of its consultants for allegedly diverting investors towards their own VC firm.

Atomico Partners’ lawsuit alleges that employee Pogos Saiadian and consultant Wouter Gort used its name to get in the door with potential investors, but then ultimately pushed them to sink their cash on behalf of Greyhound Capital*, a company Gort and Saiadian purportedly started while still working at Atomico, Reuters reported.

Atomico's suit argues the pair were able to attract interest using Atomico’s reputation for picking a winner, as a backer of high-profile firms like Angry Birds dev Rovio and weather data company the Climate Corporation, which was bought by Monsanto last year for $1.1bn.

It’s not unusual for venture capitalists working at one firm to think about striking out on their own or even start laying the groundwork for their own company. But they’re typically careful to distinguish between work they’re doing for their current bosses and work that will end up funding their own firm.

According to the lawsuit, the men allegedly warned investors that their plans for Greyhound Capital were secret so they shouldn’t spill the beans. In one email cited in the suit, Gort told a potential investor to keep things under wraps “because we still work at Atomico”.

Greyhound has already made a number of investments, backing an app transportation service called Taxibeat in Europe with €70,000 and sinking $300,000 into Homejoy, a San Francisco-based cleaning service that is backed by Google Ventures, among other investors.

Atomico alleges that Gort and Saiadian used its proprietary information to find potential moneymen and then used their ties to the firm to build relationships with the possible investors, in violation of the terms of their employment.

The firm also allehes in the suit that before they left, the pair deleted thousands of files from their Atomico computers and uploaded other company information to cloud services like Dropbox. ®

* We should point out, as Reuters did, that there is no link between the two men's firm and the Thailand-based Greyhound Capital that invests in Asia and has a .net Web address.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.