Zennström Niklas

Niklas Zennström

Zennström Niklas

Swedish entrepreneur, co-founder of Skype and Kazaa, the founder of technology investment company Atomico, co-founder of the charitable organization Zennström Philanthropies.

Date of birth: February 16, 1966

Place of birth: Järfälla, Sweden

Company: Atomico

Position: CEO, Co-Founder Partner

Niklas Zennström is a Man with a capital letter. The IT entrepreneur has received numerous awards in the past:

2006 – Times included Zennström in the list of “100 most influential people.”

2006 – The European Business Leaders Awards (EBLA) named Niklas Entrepreneur of the Year.

2009 – KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, awarded him the Grand Prix “for his outstanding entrepreneurial and technological skills.”

2011 – Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University awarded Zennström with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

2013 – Niklas Zennström was awarded His Majesty the King’s medal of 12th size for contribution to Swedish industry and society.

2013 – The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, IVA, awarded Niklas with a gold medal “for successful entrepreneurial achievement, creative innovations, high technical competence and outstanding leadership.”

But Niklas life is full of achievements beyond the business sector. Zennström is the owner and skipper of the yacht team called “Rán”. Niklas and his team became champions of three prestigious international regattas.

As the co-founder of Skype he spends a lot of time “on the water”, he is concerned about the purity of the Baltic Sea, as well as the condition of the environment in general. Niklas Zennström and his wife Catherine established a fund Zennström Philanthropies. This fund is involved in charity work in the field of climate change, human rights and social entrepreneurship. The fund also has a prize: a year of business mentoring personally from Niklas Zennström. Such a prize will go to Sweden entrepreneurs, who are fighting for climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Zennström’s project box is large enough. It includes: get2net, everyday.com, Kazaa, Joltid, Joost, Altnet. The most famous and controversial of them – Kazaa. This project was launched simultaneously with Skype, and just as quickly gained popularity thanks to clever management on Niklas’ part. But after 2003, when the application was the most downloaded one, lawsuits issued to the company-maker turned into a sort of annual tradition. This was the reason for the sale of the application to Sharman Networks.

Now Niklas holds the CEO post of the Atomico company. Atomico invests in technology companies outside of Silicon Valley, which, according to the co-founders, have the potential to change both the market and places around the world. At present, the company under the leadership of Zennström has invested in over 50 companies.

In an interview, Zennström said that he regrets only one thing that he had not started their own projects much earlier.



Skype history began with an introduction of Niklas Zennström to Janus Friis, already in the distant 1997. Their most successful joint project Skype saw the world in 2003.

The technical part of the program was developed by Estonian developers whose names are Priit Kazesalu, Jaan Tallinn and Ahti Heinla. At that time, Skype had the easiest and most convenient interface among their competitors. This was the main reason for the popularity of this messenger.

Niklas Zennström took over as CEO of Skype. The peak of development and popularity of Skype was in 2005-2007, under the direction of the Swede, already after the sale of application to eBay (purchased for $ 2.6 billion). In 2007, Niklas Zennström resigned as CEO of Skype. But 2 years later, in 2009, he was among the members of a group of investors that bought Skype Technologies back, though he didn`t take executive positions: he was on the board of directors.

In 2011 app was re-sold to Microsoft for $ 8.5 billion. Rumor has it that Janus and Niklas have earned a billion dollars from the deal.

We emphasize that in spite of the multiple number of prohibitions on the use of application around the world and lawsuits, Skype continues to function.