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Distinguished Industry Leader Award 2012 - Niklas Zennström

"For the distinguished leadership provided in co-founding, promoting, and leading Skype, a revolutionary business and technology, to a prominent position in the global market for low cost, peer-to-peer, Internet Protocol communications."

Niklas Zennstrom

Niklas Zennström is CEO and Founding Partner at Atomico. Niklas is a serial entrepreneur and investor who founded Atomico, the technology venture capital firm. He previously cofounded and managed technology companies including Skype, Kazaa, Joost and Joltid.

He created Atomico in 2006, having realised that conventional venture capital firms were struggling to identify, value and develop high-technology companies effectively. It has so far invested in more than 50 companies on four continents. He sits on the boards of Atomico portfolio companies including Rovio, Fon, and Jolicloud.

Niklas is best known for co-founding Skype, where he held the position of CEO from Skype's inception until September 2007. In 2005, Skype was sold to eBay Inc for $3.1bn, the largest European venture capital exit to date. Subsequent to this, Skype was bought back by a consortium that included Niklas, and was sold to Microsoft for $8.5 billion cash in 2011. In 2006, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of its 100 Most Influential People, and has received numerous other awards for entrepreneurship. In 2011 he was awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Oxford Internet Institute.

He has also co-founded Zennström Philanthropies, where he is actively involved in combating climate change, improving the state of the Baltic Sea and encouraging social entrepreneurship.