Maria Montero

The first stage of VC byFounders closes a fund of 100 …

ByFounders, a relatively new early stage venture capital firm targeting the Nordic and Baltic regions of Europe, officially launches its first fund today.

The debut fund was closed at € 100 million and will be used to support tech startups in pre-seed, seed, and in some cases Series A. ByFounders will also track investments to maintain proportionate ownership in your most promising portfolio companies.

However, what perhaps sets the Founders apart from the crowd is their LP structure. Along with institutional investors, such as anchor investor Danish Growth Fund, Founders’ sponsors include more than 50 entrepreneurs.

Nicknamed the “Collective”, the group of individual LPs includes founders behind some of the most recognized companies in the region, including Skype, Zendesk, Kahoot, Unity, Tradeshift, Sitecore and Vivino.

The idea is that the companies in the Founders portfolio can benefit from a unique access to “deep operational and industry knowledge”, from scaling up, recruiting, international expansion to obtaining additional funding, in addition to the global network. del Colectivo and ties with Silicon Valley.

ByFounders’ other institutional investors are Isomer Capital, Draper Esprit, Digital Garage, Danske Bank, as well as several prominent family businesses from the Nordic countries.

Founded by Eric Lagier and Tommy Andersen, the VC firm has offices in Copenhagen and San Francisco and has already supported 11 startups: Corti, Peergrade, Simple Feast, Cobalt, Spiio, SafetyWing, Drugstars, Omnio, Qurasense, Tame and Uizard . He plans to make another 30 investments in the next three years.

Below is a Q&A email with Eric Lagier, managing partner of the Founders, where we discuss the fund’s competencies, how the Founders LP network aims to give it a head start, ties to Silicon Valley, and the thorny issue of Brexit.

TC: byFounders says your sweet spot is the seed and occasionally series A. Can you be more specific regarding the stage and size of check you plan to write?

EL: The size of the Founders’ 100 million euro fund and the operational guidance of our collective of 50 of the most successful entrepreneurs in the region means that we can commit to initial investments, for example. € 200,000 in pre-seed at companies like UIzard, Safetywing and Qurasense, in € 1-2m seed rounds like Corti and Omnio, and they even do larger Series A rounds of up to € 5m. Last thing, we’ve done away with the likes of Cobalt and SimpleFeast as they expand internationally. Our approach means that we still reserve a large amount of capital to protect our property proportionally in later stages.

TC: What are the types of companies, technologies, business models or sectors that you are focusing on?

EL: Obviously, our current portfolio is a mix of technology companies in verticals like healthtech, edtech, fintech, foodtech, IoT, B2C and B2B. They all have in common that they are founded by great Nordic and Baltic teams with global ambitions. Successful scale of a business is incredibly difficult, but it’s crucial to do it almost from day one. We created porFounders to give the next generation of new Nordic entrepreneurs access to collective learnings and the leaders behind today’s unicorns.

TC: What can we expect the Founders to bring to the Nordic countries that doesn’t exist yet, apart from another € 100 million of venture capital?

EL: What sets us apart is the depth and breadth of our industry experience and practical advice provided by more than 50 people who have met and overcome the challenges you will face as a founder.

Each member of the Collective is actively involved with our portfolio companies and all have invested in the fund. Basically, we are inviting the next generation of founders to the “hall of fame” of the Nordic and Baltic founders. The energy and unleashed potential of this are unparalleled.