Partners in innovation
Submit Your Business Plan

FAQs

General

For Entrepreneurs

Corporate Partnerships

General

Why Atrium?

Atrium differentiates itself from the current array of financing alternatives available to an entrepreneur by offering the ability to leverage the research, development, manufacturing, sales, marketing, distribution, customer and vendor resources of its corporate partners. In addition, we provide our portfolio companies assistance with business strategy, financing needs and day-to-day operating issues.

What is Atrium's investment focus?

We specialize in industries experiencing technology transformation that overlap Atrium's core expertise, including education, energy technology, advanced materials, transportation, information technology and wireless communications.

What types of products and services are attractive to Atrium?

Atrium prefers products and services that are difficult to duplicate and incorporate considerable intellectual property and proprietary know how.

At what stage does Atrium invest?

Most of Atrium's investments are aimed at technology companies that are seed-stage or raising a first round of institutional financing.

Does Atrium get involved in the management of a portfolio company?

Atrium provides assistance when it is requested or needed, but we do not want to run companies. We have opinions and are not shy about making recommendations. While we contribute to the decision-making process, the decisions are in the hands of management.

Does Atrium usually control its portfolio companies?

No. Successful investments usually occur when the founders and management of a company have control over the company's decision-making process, focus and direction. We seek to be a part of that process and have influence throughout it.

Does Atrium always seek a board seat?

It depends on the stage of the company and the preferences of the founders, management and co-investors. Atrium always seeks to add value, focus and influence to its portfolio companies, whether through a board seat, observation rights, close working relationship or other means.

What is Atrium's role after an investment is made?

In every case Atrium attempts to be a value-added investor. Atrium's role can range from intensive involvement in an early-stage company to a far more detached role once the company has become mature. In an early-stage company we can be involved in key hiring decisions, major changes of strategic direction, company positioning and financings. Atrium constantly attempts to leverage the significant resources of its corporate partners and affiliates in order to assist its portfolio companies.

What is Atrium's cumulative IRR?

Atrium's cumulative IRR on venture programs managed since 1991 ranks in the top quartile of the venture industry. A corporate venture fund managed by Atrium should become a self-funding window on new markets and technologies.

What is Atrium's experience with IPOs and selling companies?

Our professionals have experience in selling companies and taking companies public in multiple countries. We work with each corporate partner to maximize the value of its investments.

What is Atrium's experience with spin-outs?

Atrium has advised on or structured several spinout situations. For example, we conceived and implemented a strategy to convert RR Donnelley's $3 million revenue paper map division into MapQuest, the world's leading online mapping company later acquired by AOL for more than $1 billion.

Back to Top

For Entrepreneurs

How do I submit a business plan to Atrium?

Please submit your business plan or executive summary on the Atrium website or mail it to:
Atrium Capital
3000 Sand Hill Road
Building 2, Suite 130
Menlo Park, CA 94025
We will review the materials and contact you if your proposal is a good fit for us.

What sort of business plan appeals to Atrium?

We prefer business plans to be concise and to the point. The better plans tend to be well conceived and analytical. They present a lot of information in as few words as possible. The areas that are of the most interest are: a description of the market the company is pursuing; an overview of the company's initial product/services and planned products/services; a description of distribution channels; a thorough analysis of the competition; a summary of the backgrounds of the management team; a three-year detailed summary of financial projections; and a capitalization table. We value a well thought out 15-20 page business plan more than a voluminous plan with appendices.

What makes for an effective presentation at Atrium?

We believe that the following format provides a good overview of a prospective investment. It usually works best when limited to around 15-20 slides.
  1. Business
    • Company's business
    • Mission statement
  2. Products/Services
    • Description
    • Development schedule
    • Differentiation
    • Price point
  3. Market
    • Definition
    • Trends
    • Historic and projected sizes in dollars
  4. Distribution
    • Sales channels
    • Partnerships
    • Customers
  5. Competition
    • Competitors
    • Competitive advantages
  6. Team
    • Background of management
    • Board composition
  7. Financials (all projected financial statements should be for the succeeding three years, with the first two years by quarters)
    • Income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement
    • Projected head count by functional area (R&D, sales, marketing, G&A)
    • Capitalization table
  8. Financing
    • Amount to be raised
    • Use of proceeds

What are the most important investment criteria for Atrium?

We look for companies that fit our investment focus and have proprietary technology or other barriers to entry. We look for innovative products and services backed by experienced and committed management teams. Beyond that we look for large potential markets with high growth rates.

What does Atrium look for in a management team?

Atrium's most successful investments are managed by experienced, proven and complete management teams with a sense of urgency. They are analytical and seek help from all their various resources to make the best decisions. They know that the right combination of knowledge, partnering, speed and stealth will usually help them beat their competitors.

How long does it take Atrium to make an investment decision?

We can make investment decisions within a few days, though it usually takes us four to six weeks from the time we are introduced to a company to complete the due diligence necessary to make a final investment decision.

How does Atrium make investment decisions?

All Atrium principals (and our corporate partner if applicable) participate in the investment decision. This process requires that all decision-makers be exposed to the prospective investment--either through a review of a business plan and due diligence or by attending a company presentation. For a prospective portfolio company this usually means making several presentations, sometimes at Atrium and sometimes at the company's offices, providing a business plan or executive summary, and furnishing personal and customer references along with other standard due diligence materials.

Back to Top

Corporate Partnerships

What is the structure of the dedicated corporate venture funds?

The corporate partner is the limited partner and provides most of the capital on an as-needed basis. Atrium serves as the general partner and receives an industry standard management fee and carried interest.

How does Atrium protect its corporate partners' confidential information?

Atrium understands the importance of protecting all confidential information shared by our corporate partners.
  • Our partnership agreement includes a comprehensive confidentiality provision.
  • We have established systems in place to maintain confidential information.
  • Atrium's professionals are experienced in the fields of law, investment banking and venture capital where confidentiality is standard practice.
  • Since our founding in 1991, Atrium has never breached a confidentiality obligation to our corporate partners.

How does Atrium provide strategic value to its corporate partners?

Atrium delivers value to its corporate partners by identifying investment and collaborative opportunities in best-of-breed innovators, and then executing and managing those investments to achieve superior financial returns and significant strategic benefits. In addition, we provide an array of value-added services to our corporate partners. Retainer-based services include targeted technology sourcing, execution of strategic collaboration partnerships, due diligence, portfolio management and technology spin-outs.

Back to Top