Spotify CEO Daniel Ek pledges over $1 billion of his personal wealth to “moonshots”

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Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek is pledging to invest the equivalent of a megafund’s worth of European “moonshots.”

During a virtual talk Thursday hosted by event organizer Slush, Ek said he would invest €1 billion ($1.2 billion) of his own personal resources over the next decade in those startups.

“I will do so by funding so-called moonshots, focusing on the deep technology necessary to make a significant positive dent, and work with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and governments to do so,” he said, adding that he plans to invest in health care, education, machine learning, biotechnology, material sciences, and energy.

Based on the most recently available figures, Ek’s holding in Spotify (which likely accounts for the majority of his wealth) is currently valued at $3.6 billion. Making a $1 billion pledge is not only huge compared to median fund sizes in Europe (€128.4 million or $149 million), but also in contrast to his wealth.

“We created some of the world’s best known and most beloved brands. Yet in my opinion the notion of the European dream still seems elusive,” Ek said. “Europe is more than ready to have more big companies of its own—more companies like Spotify, Klarna, Zalando, Adyen, to name a few.”

Venture capitalists have turned a fresh eye on Europe. In 2019, dealmaking in the region hit a record $33 billion while the U.S. market slowed slightly. And even in the pandemic, venture activity in 2020 is on track to match, if not beat, that of 2019, according to PitchBook.

SPEAKING OF SPOTIFY… Spotify and game maker Epic have joined with other app developers to form a coalition aimed at pressuring Apple to make changes to its marketplace. They’re demanding that developers are not made to pay “unfair, unreasonable, or discriminatory fees.” Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda

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